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How to teach a bilingual classroom The last decennia showed me that children do not only speak their mother tongue anymore, they have more opportunities to acquire a new language. I believe that the main reason to this is that we have all these possibilities of travel, work in any place and live in another. We start to live in another world, a world where people do not only speak one language anymore. But this major globalization also has its consequences for education. One of its effects is that people from different nationalities cross paths more often and eventually start a family. Their children will probably develop more than one language and become bilingual. Bilingualism become more and more common this way, which can be very practical for these children in the future. But is it easy to teach a student a new language when he already knows one or more languages? How can we teach a new or semi-new language in a bilingual classroom? Children learning different languages will want to rely on their native language(s) during classes, but will they be able to understand the teacher? Will these children also be able to understand their peers? Do we punish the students who use their native language(s) in class? I feel that Jim Cummins (2001) gave me a good primary insight of how to deal with the native language(s) involving classes. Jim Cummins (2001) tell us that “to reject a child's language in the school is to reject the child. When the message, implicit or explicit, communicated to children in the school is 'Leave your language and culture at the schoolhouse door', children also leave a central part of who they are - their identities - at the schoolhouse door. When they feel this rejection, they are much less likely to participate actively and confidently in classroom instruction”. There is no denial language is part of a person’s identity and culture. But what about the teacher, how does he manage and organise the class? Of course, teachers will not be able to speak all the native languages of his students, so he must set some ground rules. In my personal experience as a bilingual it can be beneficial to trust the students in using a specific language at a specific time during the day. This can be to fulfill the main tasks in their non-native language during one part and the other sub-tasks during the other part of the lesson. A second approach could be to pair up some students from different language backgrounds. As a teacher I think you should take the opportunity to pair students up with different language and cultural backgrounds as it will help them to practice their communication skills. Visual aids can help a bilingual classroom to understand and learn new vocabulary faster. A fun activity (activate part) called language memory can also be introduced to the students where they get a set of cards with different vocabulary words in the target language and refer to their native language. This way they will be able to make a link between the two words and their meaning. Another way to teach young bilingual learners is to work with the SWBAT method. SWBAT stands for ‘students will be able to ...’, this approach is used as the teacher thinks of an activity the students might be able to perform or accomplish and use a specific language objective. For instance, the teacher can ask the students to draw what they put in their schoolbag, they will have to present this in front of the class using possessive pronouns (my pen, my book, …). The last method I would suggest is letting the students translanguage. It is very common for bilingual students to translanguage when they are not able to fully express themselves in their L2 or L3. This can give the student the opportunity to fully express himself and become more confident in speaking and communicating. After a while the student will be able to get stronger in both languages. To be able to teach bilingual student it is also important to remind that they must feel at ease in the classroom. If many students in the classroom come from different cultural background, they will do things in a different way. I think that a teacher can arrange the classroom in a more creative and suitable environment for each student. For example, asking each student to bring pictures of their families and countries can make them feel more at home by putting them on the wall, celebrating non-Western festivities like Chinese New Year, Turkish Sugar Feast, putting words in different languages in the walls in the classroom, and so on. In conclusion, I feel that teaching bilingual classes can be challenging but very fulfilling for the teachers and students on a cultural level. Teacher and student can learn a lot from each other. I am a firm believer that it is possible to find a good balance between the students native- and target language usage while still being able to absorb a lot of new information. Understanding your students is a fundamental part, so the teacher student relationship should be close to perfection, communication is the key. Finally I believe that bilingual students have a better understanding of how languages are put together and can become strong game changers. This I can testify for myself. Source reference: Creese, Angela & Blackledge, Adrian. (2010). Translanguaging in the Bilingual Classroom: A Pedagogy for Learning and Teaching?. The Modern Language Journal. 94. 103 - 115. 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00986.x. Cummins, Jim. (2001). Bilingual Children's Mother Tongue: Why Is It Important for Education?. Sprogforum. 19. Dooly, M., & Sadler, R. (2013). Filling in the gaps: Linking theory and practice through telecollaboration in teacher education. ReCALL, 25(1), 4-29. doi:10.1017/S0958344012000237 (SWBAT)