teaching kids speaking 3 languages

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

Moderator: Susan


teaching kids speaking 3 languages

Unread post by reader1 » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:58 am

I am from Poland. I would like to write here about my latest experience that is teaching English to young learners that use ...3 languages.
First thing I have to say is that the self-identity of these kids is worse than zero. What nationality are they? Where are they from? Where is their homeland?
I have to also say western schools don't help them to solve their problems at all:(. Teachers demand more and more and still I can notice with astonishment that 13 years old kid cannot understand what is written on a scheme with ...a map of London tube. Whose blame is it? Whose blame is it - I wonder.
These kids have such a hard life - indeed. They come for holidays and use the language of their grandparents, then go to school when most of subjects are in the official language of the country (which is half-mystery to them to) and still they have English nearly every day that is the biggest mystery to them specially when they are to say how to get from one place to another using underground when in fact they have never seen any tube at all:(.

What I notice is that these kids want to be taught half-Polish half-English and store everything inside their heads in German which is the language that is used in school every day. So I think these kids are right.


English in the Western Europe,

Unread post by reader1 » Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:49 pm

Generally I think level is much better in public schools than in my country. Kids SPEAK. But the rest... hmmmmm... readings are very difficult. I think they are much easier to German kids than to Polish kids who live there. Because kids in western Europe understand history much better while most of readings has cultural aspect. Well ... tomorrow (for example) I am reading with my pupil a very difficult text about a story of Perceval (who was one of knights of King Arthur). Such stories are total abstract for kids from Poland who learn with German kids. They mostly know history of Poland in a very limited scope - not a word about King Arthur and his knights. Moreover during lessons I have to check in Polish-German dictionary what Polish word "rycerz" means in German and explain to them general meaning of this word. Isn't it bit crazy? These poor kids have really total mess in their heads. They hardly understand what means CHIVALRY in German while they have to learn about British Perceval.
Well... personally I think that all what teachers like me can do is ...explain to these pupils what happened in 1410 at the battle of Grunwald, let them ask their English teachers in Germany why in English textbooks any word about British Robin Hood is written and make them familiar with a legend about Polish Robin Hood that was called Janosik.
Thanks for reading about my teaching problems,


teaching 3 lingual kids - part III

Unread post by reader1 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:06 pm

today next girl has joined the first one. The other is one year older, lives near Berlin and has manners of the young lady. But comparing to her one year younger cousin who uses quite different student book and lives in the country her skills aren't better at all.
The older has a lot of different troubles that are totally irrelevant as deals the course of the lesson like problems with her hair, her student book, her shoes that all can be boiled down to her general problem that should be named VOCABULARY (apart of grammar and pronunciation what her English teacher pinpointed to her mother).
The younger girl does much more things on her own thus her vocabulary seems to be equal to her older cousins knows.
So with the younger we have read a text about how miserable Percival became a knight even though at first he was advised to go back home and take care of the pigs by other King Arthur's knights but King Arthur gave him a chance. So he was given a horse and killed bad Red Knight who had stolen a precious Cup from King Arthur's table and boosted with this deed (what worse). Poor Percival stabbed him with his hunting knife into his eye and killed him. Then he took his gold and red armour and became another King Arthur's knight (he did what he was advised by king Arthur).
Finally he could also became his knight cause his late father and two dead brothers who all died in battle were also knights.
Percival's mother was crying that her son joined king Arthur's knights cause he was only 16 when he met angels in the forest (what he thought about the men in wonderful armours whom he met while rambling the local forests). But it was heaven who decided.
We even wrote toger a summary of this story.
I also have had to explain to 13 years old kid who is being educated in Western Europe why kings and queens are so important for British nation untill today (truly speaking it isn't possible to explain at all). Much easier for me was to explain to her why in US are no kings at all.
Besides I hope now she can understand what is written on the tube map even though she has little notion about maps at all as it seems to me.
And the most surprising for me is always to get know two most important jobs in Germany. Any computer scientists! Forget.
But try to guess if you like.
thanks for reading,


to add -

Unread post by reader1 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:20 pm

oh - I forgot to say that poor Percival first asked politely Red Knight to give him back King Arthur's stolen Cup and his armour (he had a horse from King Arthur) but in the answer Red Knight stabbed Percival with his LANCE (again a problem what the word LANCE means). Percival managed to save his skin.Moreover, he attacked Red Knight with the hunting knife.
What do you think about this reading?
It is so far from all nice and polite student books that we can use today. But isn't more truth about many things that happen in life in such readings?
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

ps1 Of course knights were everywhere in Middle Ages Europe. And I wonder why King Arthur is so famous?
Batlle at Grunwald in 1410 also was a good one.
I think we should revive continental stories about knights, their monasteries and saint wars.


next day,

Unread post by reader1 » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:47 pm

Hi today I have come to a very STRANGE conclusion in reality that sorrounds me. Namely, that kids who are taught in West come and tell to other teachers what lags and behinds they were pinpointed by their first teacher and really try to improve and make a progress.
Maybe they are the only positive examples there? Or rare exemptions to the rule? :roll: I don't know.
So what I like the most is that they allow me to teach them and don't comment things they aren't able to judge right in their age. So - at least for them - a teacher is someone who has any value.
I would like to see the same in my country. The same honesty of learning - I mean.
Well I have to admit... I have always been a dreamer:)


next day,

Unread post by reader1 » Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:49 pm

probably I will start a blog about my teaching to these to 3 lingual kids. I think it can be interesting and less awkward than putting my ideas here.
What I have noticed is that their books are so lovely down-to-earth. I liked tasks in the series "stupid question-stupid answer". These things are fine.
I prefer teaching the younger than the older. She is still so nicely moved by cruelty of king Arthur's knights and poor existence of Percival. But th most she cares about his mother. How she was weeping after his decision to be another knight.
The older girl thinks a lot about future career and is very ambitious (as deals earning good salary). She also cannot understand why does she have to read in British English readings about US. And why does she have to learn British English at all - she asks - Because it is nearer?
Well... every second sentence both girls are reminded what is the worst crime of all crimes in this world.
Sometimes I feel tired reading that again someone stole something and thus he was killed.
nice day.

Well... another difficult question.

Prolific Member
Prolific Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 3:17 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: next day,

Unread post by GiddyGad » Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:00 am

reader1 wrote:...I think it can be ... less awkward than putting my ideas here...
Not at all, reader. Your ideas are just as welcome.

Good luck,



hi GiddyGad,

Unread post by reader1 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:12 pm

Thanks for your support in this plot. I mostly like reading your post on this forum cause you are very professional teacher and your vocabulery is really wide. I don't have such a frequent contact in English nowadays. Last time I had a good contact with English was 2 years ago when I taught in Polish high school.
You can be surprised but even once I wasn't forced there to open any book with activities for oral part of Polish New Matura exam. These two 3 lingual kids forced me to open them and find there some exercises suitable for them. But what I can see is that they prefer working with their handbooks that are rather difficult and full of puzzles which are difficult to follow to them like matching questions and answers the following way:

- Which letter has the most trouble?
- The letter u cause it always stands in the very centre of it!


-Which two letters have to wait the longest?
-Letters UE UE cause they appear twice in the word "queue".

You know - we do every example and then they have time to think it over on their own.

The tasks are full of geographical informations, put into cultural context with a lot of grammar everywhere.

The oldest has very big diffilulty with catching the differenced among I, II and III conditional.
She wasnot able to get it at all!:(
I had to think hard how to explain it to her the way she could get it and use it during speaking.
It isn't anything easy:(
Read me soon,


self-correction of some MY language errors in my post above,

Unread post by reader1 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:12 pm

1....I mostly like reading your posts on this forum....
2......your vocabulary is really wide.....
3......contact with English
4...... matching questions with answers....
5......The elder has very big diffilulty with catching the differenced among I, II and III conditional..

Plus some grammar errors but I think the whole message above is understandable without any futher corrections.
What I can say/write is that I am very proud of my idea how to explain conditionals and differences among them. I made up a graphical explanation.
I am a real inventor as deals exaplaing grammar via graphs.
Read me soon then:)


last but not least,

Unread post by reader1 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:15 pm

6. ....catching the differences among I, II and III conditional.....


Prolific Member
Prolific Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 3:17 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Unread post by GiddyGad » Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:26 pm

Never mind the typos, Reader. lol

Well, maybe for improvement of your own language...
BTW, do you know you can make corrections right in your post - there's an 'edit' button in the righthand upper corner. See? The one with scissors.

What's the system that you've invented? I'm sure you want to share it, don't you? I've got my own system which I can offer. Anyway, there's more than one way, you know, and sharing can be mutually beneficial.



Hi GiddyGad,

Unread post by reader1 » Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:54 pm

First thanks for your nice reply. Then I have to write that I cannot see any "edit" button anywhere on my screen:(. I have only "preview" and "submit". Probably I should use the first button oftener. Who knows?
As deals my system of teaching English it goes like:
the simplier the better.
I think reading should be difficult and full of new vocabulary, then dialogue-exercises to practise new words and structures. Grammar is different problem. Sometimes grammar should be explained before a new reading and OBLIGATORY each student-book should have a dictionary and all words explained. AMEN.

Besides I have to say, it is rather hard to me to teach English cause I never planned to be any English teacher. I simply needed English to read about latest discoveries dealing my subject.
I don't know many of the words that are being used by English philologists. Many of these complicated words to write complicated things valid for philologists are still a mystery to me.
Once I even started afterdiploma studies to gain some better skills within philological way of thinking about world but truly speaking I didn't better myself there:(. I even don't try to guess why.

So comming back to Conditionals I think it is very hard to WRITE you any picture here but I am always using three short sentences to describe each conditional:
I. condition possible to fulfill
II. condition IN THEORY possible to fulfill
III. condition not possible to fulfill (TOO LATE)

and next I am writing a graph...how can I send it too you? It is difficult to send:(
Once again thanks for your nice letter,

Prolific Member
Prolific Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 3:17 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Unread post by GiddyGad » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:06 pm

Now Reader,

Those buttons ([Submit] and [Preview])are only visible before you post the message. You usually need the [edit] button after you have submitted it, don't you?

Submit your post, then look above it, on the right. You will see two buttons there: [edit] and [quote]. If your message is the last in the thread, there will be one more button - [delete]. You can't miss it.

Good luck




Unread post by reader1 » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:32 am

Hello GiddyGad,
thanks for your nice piece of advice. I am not sure what are you driving at but thank you very much indeed:)
Today with my 2 favourite students we have learnt about road signs and traffic (with the younger) and about dangerous jobs with the older. Skywalker, smoke jumper- I have never heard about such jobs before:(.
Skywalkers - I thought such people were like bunge-jumpers - they simply like unnecessary risk.
I probably heard about the other job but also not too much.
That's all. Conditionals are very difficult to use for the older. Besides she has so many problems with vocabulary that I wonder how she copes at school at all. I am not thinking only about English lessons.
But somehow she copes:)


hi teachers,

Unread post by reader1 » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:32 am

well... next lessons are over.
I find the readings we read very interesting. Really.
They are so wise and full of things to think about.
With the younger we read about "cars- for or against" and how cars contributed to the end of this world.
I mean it was a reading about a class-visit at car-museum. And the next day the class would be about to visit biological section with models of tigers and lephants, real cats and dogs and...the special exhibiton at the end of this section included last 5 specimen of people who weren't allowed to have kids and after their death there was no other people at all:(.
The reading had a title "Tomorrow" and the poor 13 year old kid wasn't able to guess at first what was the whole mess about. She was sure they all had been in the...classroom.
The older has readings about US - racial segragation, geography. Today we have read about Indian woodcarving and another sad story about poor orphan who had fled from his uncle to the circus were his life was even worse:( But people were giving him tips and the chance for improvement (another escpae) appeared.
Well... I think that the readings in the book of the older girl are really spiked with vacabulary and she normally moans each time I open the book.



Unread post by reader1 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:20 am

today a day off in my teaching 3 lingual girls.
Yesterday they wanted to go to the local market but weren't able to catch me on the phone a day before so only one went and the other spent two hours learning English.
Well... we made a fine progress in her school book during this time. We learnt about hmmm....general directions and rules of international trade around XVI -XVII century.
I always wondered how these American plantators were able to catch so many naive Afro-Americans to work hard on their tobacco fields.
Yesterday I guessed it at last. Better late than never-they say.
Well... I have to say that we also learnt about many other things, persons and events.
For example I didn't know potato comes from America. I don't know why I always thought potato comes from ...I don't know where but thinking about potatos I always had Ireland in my brain:(. Yesterday I learnt I was wrong again:(
You can read it here:
history of potato
We also learnt about Pocahontas story. There was a movie about this historical woman some time ago. Rather famous movie. But it didn't interest me somehow. However yesterday I discovered that Pocahontas was a really tragic person and I still think about her and how great Britain killed her in her young years.:(

Besides we learnt about New Orelans origins and how French, Spaniards, Irishmen and Germans established it. We got to know what is Creoli culture and read one receipt for Creoli dish.
Well... these school books are really good. We can learn from them that native Americans had taught white people almost everything and then were killed by them with the help of their guns.
A very useful lesson, indeed.




Unread post by reader1 » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:11 am

what I can see in this forum is that a lot of spam appears here. People write bad letters about many bad things like gambling and other criminal activities etc. I should protest against it!
I would like also to encourage you to read my letters. They contain certain amount of language errors but are rather useful as it seems to me and you can find a lot of priceless pieces of information inside them.
Today for example I would like to present you Rosa Parks- a very famous American woman.
She was very brave and stuborn and died merely last year. She changed US we can say.
Rosa Parks story

Well ...I must say that it seems to me it used to be easier to change US some years ago than any other country in the world. It also came with some difficulty that demanaded mostly courage of other people to join this solitary woman. But it finally paid.
Well.. it should be a pattern to follow for many nations in this world but it will never be cause these nations are simply too corrupted to understand what does it mean to be honest in life. So I think that in their case taxi drivers would use the boycott of all cars and let people to pay even more for rides in hard times.
Maybe I am mistaken ( I would like to be mistaken) but I am sadly sure I am damn right again:(
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

PS. I also would like to see something about 5000 readers who read this letter - a sort of calling in the desert of mine - but there are merely 700 of openings uptill now:(((
:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:


little correction of my previous post,

Unread post by reader1 » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:16 am

That's me again - I corrected with the red colour one word that I had written wrong one post earlier.

So I think that in their case taxi drivers would use the boycott of all BUSES and let people to pay even more for rides in hard times.

Have a nice learning day,



Unread post by reader1 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:30 am

For those who are worried about the eventual lenght of my thread - I want to soothe you - soon my favourite learners will leave my precious country for another one and the thread will be stopped for some months:(.
But one day they will come back - it is sure. Maybe by that time they will have had new books -as much interesting as the ones we use these days? :roll: :roll: :roll:
I hope.
Today we learnt about The Brits and the sea.
I liked this reading very much. I was reminded there that William the Conqueror was the last Frenchman and foreigner who attacked Greain Britain and won it (what worse).
Taking into account my latest rising interest in Monty Python jokes I need to check if this famous troop has any joke about William the Conqueror. they have great joke about French cuisine but I couldn't notice any joke about famous Frenchman William the Conqueror:(. Interesting- why.
:roll: :roll: :roll:
ps. of course in German school book you will be taught "it is difficult to attack Great Britain cause it is an island. In the past there were no ferries and airplanes that we have nowadays. "
Specially those ferries interested me. Well.. I would also like to read a bit about English pirates but any word about them till now. So as I can deduce till today Germans aren't specially interested in "the sea" topics.
Nice day,


hi teachers,

Unread post by reader1 » Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:24 am

for the last few days I had troubles with starting English club webside so I stopped this plot. The younger girl has already gone away cause she is starting school on 9th August. The older wants to be taught grammar. We almost finished her schoolbooks as deals reading. Some of them were worse than cruel.
One made me feeling normally indignant!:(((
But what I discovered is the older girl seems to me to have dyslexia. She herself stated that she made "stupid mistakes" on written tests. She doesn't like going to school and even doesn't know where the school starts!
Yes - her "stupid mistakes"...
When the younger girl had gone and only the older came to have her lesson I noticed that she changes
letter "o" and "u" when she reads. The same story with letter " r" and "l".
Example - when she reads English word "grass" she translates it as a "glass".
The same is with "sun" that is time and again translated as "son".
I printed out some online dyslexia tests and I found out that she can suffer from this disorder.
I don't know what school dyslexia tests look like but I think she should suggest to a school pedagogist that she has some problems with letters.
She is a smart girl who makes "stupid" mistakes.
There also also some other clues that she may be dyslectic pupil.
:roll: :roll: :roll:


it is me again

Unread post by reader1 » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:01 pm

today I could say to my student that she MAY have dyslexia disorder but I haven't done it. Honestly, I don't know if she is sincere if she only can manipulate in such a smart way. She has come today with one eye sore and told she has problems because of draught. She caughs all time. Maybe she should go to optician? She read mostly OK today. Again she needed a finger to help herself with proper lines. At last she asked me for something to read. Is she sincere? I don't know.
I wonder about her case. She speaks out her thoughts in English very well compared to her Polish peers. But the rest?
teacher's life isn't anything easy. But I alway pay attention on a lot of things. Once I made friends with a woman who didn't like teachers cause she was about to die becasue of intenstine problems and they still found her simulating:(. At last she was put on the operation theatre in the last hour when it could be possible at all.
And she survived that whole mess.
But she has never had any good memories because of it. Believe me.

Post Reply