Never in my classroom – avoiding translation

theLingoGuy classroom rule book


sub section C:  Translation should be avoided if possible. 

As teachers we often stick to our rules and comfort zones too snugly. Slowly but surely this changes or abruptly in the debris of a crisis.

This time it was a mini crisis.

On Wednesday I had uploaded my material using my home Apple PC for my lesson to my “dropbox”, being the well prepared blended teacher I am. However on arriving at the University of Applied Sciences I could not access the wifi from my Acer lappi.

Luckily for me a student or prof. had left their handout on “Technologien der Zugangsnetze”  lying around for the last 2 weeks.  So with 10 minutes to lesson and a quick read through the opening paragraph I had 13 tech specific words to start my lesson with.This went against my Muttiheft prejudices. (any English speakers feel free to ask for a translation)

An open discussion on good translations, and alternatives in other contexts proceeded. This lead to a translation of the paragraph, started in the lesson and finished as homework.

Over the last month I have also done a between lesson task of dealing with the google translation of the Hochschule für Telekommunikation Leipzig FAQs. This also went down well.

Analyzing the relative success of the tasks has brought me to some conclusions:

  • A task that is specific to the students field ( in this case techie based) is of interest to them.
  • Translation exercises show the challenges and the inadequacy of the direct translation method.
  • Falling out of the comfort zone does not precipitate a harsh landing.

Keep your eyes peeled for my next “Never in my classroom” experience.

What about yours?







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