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e-Help Seminars - Javier Mendez
e-help Seminar 19
Second Language Acquisition in teaching history
Toulouse 10-11 June 2005
Teaching in non native contexts

Let me remember one of the aspects of HELP-project. I know it is important the use of ICT in teaching any subject, but one of the points which were brought up in preparing HELP project was the use of a foreign language in teaching any other subject but English, especially History, due to most participating teachers in the project were teachers of History.

I want to specify some points about this part of the project:

1.- ICT are important, but it is important too the difficulties in teaching history in a foreign language
2.- Both teachers and students are using a language different from their mother tongue and they may feel uncomfortable if not unsecure with the foreign language
3.- Interference between mother tongue and foreign language (Spanish-English, French- English, etc). There may be typical errors and mistakes due to interference from the native language. Teachers should be able to identify them and correct them.
4.- Encouragement of using foreign language. Teachers must encourage their students to use the working language and avoid the use of mother tongue. This may arise problems related to the contents of the subject (History) Whatís more important, History or English?
5.- Assessment of the subject: Should teachers evaluate only the contents of the subject or take into account the command of the foreign language as well?
6.- In order to be a successful teacher of history in a foreign language, the teacher must know some strategies when dealing with a foreign language and some language methodology to avoid studentsí disappointment. Teachers should be aware that they are not only teachers of History but teachers of foreign language as well.

These are the kind of thoughts I would like teachers of history to ask themselves if they are going to be teachers of history in non-native contexts. It would be very interesting to know what history teachers think about these aspects and to know teachersí experience when dealing in teaching history in a foreign language (I suppose basically English)

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Spartacus Learning Online MacGregor is History Historia Siglo 20 Historical Association International School History Sintermeertencollege InnovativeICT.net

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