Maria my in class interpretor

Trip Start Aug 06, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Krung Thep,
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Many of my mentors warned me about that stressors that come along with teaching total immersion style. the frustration and stress comes from not being able to convey important information to the students in their target foreign language. The reason why total immersion works so well is mainly due to three reasons. The student is surrounded by the target language and only hears, speaks and writes in that target language for as long as they are in the environment (in my case my classroom). Next because the student's brain uses speech face recognition and recognizes the teacher with the target foreign language. example when you look at our president Obama, you would not automatically introduce yourself in French because your brain has recognized him with English. and thirdly because the first two conditions are constant, never breaking or varying.

So I took all of the above into consideration and thought of a way that I could convey important information or ideas, and still have them recognize me with only Spanish and never speak to them in English. What I came up with was ingenious. 

On the first day of class I introduced my students to Maria. (The following is the page that I gave to them)

(I have a picture of a lady named Maria at the top of each page)
 "Hello class my name is Maria. I speak both Spanish and English. I have been a friend of Seņor Bronsen for many years. He has asked me to help you guys out in class by being his interpreter. Whenever there is an issue, concept or idea that Seņor Bronsen cannot convey to you in Spanish, I will translate it for you. 

Seņor Bronsen sent me a letter telling me all about you and how you all really want to learn Spanish. I will translate part of it f

or you. Here are samples of the two types of future translations will look like.

Indirect Translation

Maria: Seņor Bronsen wanted me to tell you how glad he is that you all decided to choose Spanish as your foreign language this year. He would like you to know that this year of Spanish is packed full of fun and exciting ways to learn Spanish including: Games, Parties, and even trips. It might be a little bit frustrating because Seņor Bronsen will only be speaking in Spanish, however my translations should help ease the frustration.  Seņor Bronsen would like to ask you all to stick with him, keep an open mind, and at the end of the year you'll all be speaking in Spanish. 

Direct Translation

Seņor Bronsen said, 

"I would like to let my class know how thrilled I am to teach them my favorite language. Learning languages is what I do best. I have been learning foreign languages in the past 7 years. Being able to speak Spanish has opened thousands of life's doors and windows that if it was not for Spanish I would have never had those great opportunities given to me. For example if I didn’t speak Spanish I wouldn’t have been able to come to Thailand and teach. I would like to take this time to ask one thing, that you respect each other’s differences because differences are what makes this world exciting. For if we were all the same it would be boring. Learn to appreciate each other’s differences through keeping an open mind. If someone is different don’t say how weird, rather ask yourself is that person different and how can I appreciate their difference." 

…Translated by Maria "

Using this "in class interpreter tactic" as I like to call it, which by the way I have never heard of anything like this so I must pat myself on the back for coming up with this, the students never associate the English language with me rather they associate it with Maria, my friend. Most importantly there is absolutely no frustration or stress because even the most complicated issues and concepts can be easily explained through my "In class interpreter, Maria". I am very interested to hear your feedback on what you think about this so please send me an email. 
Love you all for reading yet another blog of my truly amazing adventure in Thailand. 
Bronsen Kimo Stoltz
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cassandralynn09 on

Hey that was an ingenious idea to incorporate an interpreter. I am very impressed with you and so believe that your students will be speaking Spanish by the end of the year. Gosh, if only 8 years ago when I took Spanish I had you as a teacher I might have appreciated it more. Either way great job Bronsen! ~~One question: does Maria attend class with you daily? Are you at all worried that maybe the students will take the opportunity for granted and depend upon her for all translations? Where do you find the balance?

bronsenstoltz on

Re: Genious
Maria is not a real person I just made her up so that when I want to tell the students something complicated all I have to do is type it out and put at the bottom 'translated by Maria' so Maria is just a ficticious person that the class knows and relates English with.

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