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Flipping the Educational Script: Teachers as Learners

Author(s): Rosa Jiménez and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana


This short piece describes how teachers can use journals to learn about their students' translation/interpretation experiences. The authors write:

In order to build upon the skills students have, we suggest flipping the educational script to one of teachers as learners. This involves looking at what youth do in their everyday lives, and what experiences they have had. By asking about our students' translating skills in particular, we may see a rich repertoire of language experiences that could be built upon in our classrooms.

In our research we learned a great deal about translating by reading journals kept by students in our study. This was a key method we used to collect data, and we believe it is an approach that would also be useful in the classroom. Here we provide a journal entry by Jasmine, an 11-year old girl in Chicago, the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico.

When I went to the movie theater with my parents I had to translate an application for a credit for the movies and I had to read the application to my dad... it is easier to translate for my dad because he knows some English. I also translate to my dad when he was ordering the ticket the cashier asked how old was my brother and my dad asked me what the cashier was saying and I told him esta diciendo cuantos años tiene Gabriel and I said 2 years.

At first glance, errors in grammar and punctuation may seem to leap off the page. But what if we suspend these concerns about language conventions for a moment to take the stance of learning from students about their own lives?

APA Citation:

Jiménez, R. and Orellana, M. F. (2006) Flipping the Educational Script: Teachers as Learners.  California English Teacher.


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