MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Madison County Schools population is becoming more diverse, so teachers are trying to better understand their growing student body – in a foreign language.
Friday morning, Sparkman High School teachers who speak English as their first language gathered in the library. The teachers were taught an educational lesson in French.
Why? So they can empathize with students who may speak a different language.
The Madison County English as a Second Language Department calls it “shock lessons.”
The number of students who do not speak English as their first language jumped from 192 students in the 2018-2019 school year to 329 students this school year.
“Some of the teachers’ comments that I heard were ‘I felt afraid to talk,’ ‘I was self-conscious because I was afraid I would mispronounce it,’ or ‘I just gave up and stopped paying attention because it was so hard,'” said Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell, a Madison County Schools federal programs resource specialist. “Now they have that background knowledge of what it’s like for a student in their classroom.”
ESL instructors will “shock” eight Madison County Schools with its lesson before students return to their desks on Monday.