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Teaching Chemistry to a Russian...

Discussion in 'Science' started by iron, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. iron

    iron New commenter

    Hi I have a new challenge... I have just aquired a russian student in my class. He has little of no English. (in S4 - will sit Standard grade - scottish system next June) He is apparantly an able student but at a huge disadvantage. He will pick up the language vey quickly but any advice / resources etc would be appreciated. At the moment we are surviving on google translate open on two computers....
  2. Do you have any support within the school - literacy co-ordinator, special needs, etc? If so, get them involved, perhaps by producing key words lists etc. We used to have pictorial dictionaries, with some thematic content (eg animals, weather). Thank goodness that your elemental symbols, formulae etc will all be international.
    One literacy tip is to get them to write in English on one side of a book and in their own language on the other side - they can do translations at home or during support lessons. Try to keep sentences short and any descriptions simple, without complex clause structures.
    I have recently taught A level physics to Chinese, Malaysian and a Russian student (fortunately they all had basic English, but sometimes things got a little fraught). Clearly spelling out important words on the board helped them to key into their electronic dictionaries (not allowed in the CIE exams which we were doing, but may be in UK exams - check NOW) and then they often discussed which translation was correct.
    Good luck.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    It depends on how 'Russian' he is. I taught one some years back. This was Just post Communism. He didn't beleive a word i said because he 'knew' that every possible invention and discovery was made by a Russian. It didn't help that previous to us he had been educated at the Dimitry Mendeleev Institute in Moscow!

    Ok boys, today we are going to look at the Haber process. Igor's hand goes up. 'Excuse me sir but the process of producing ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen was invented by a Russian'! AS was television, Gravity and just about anything else!

    Perhaps things have changed!
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    My experience of ESL students is that they can often seem to have a splendid grasp of English when you are talking to them. However, when they are confronted with written assessments, their grasp of language seems to shrivel. You have to make apoint of reiterating key words, especially words that mean somehting else in common parlance.
    Blazer's comment makes me wonder if some of our students don't like science because some of it was discovered by "foreigners"
    Best wishes,

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