Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Bilingual Babes, and their Bilingual Issues

I've never mentioned this, but I'm a native English speaker living full time in Mexico with my native Spanish speaking husband, and 2 bilingual daughters, 3 & 5. I speak almost exclusively in English with them (the occasional word here and there in Spanish) and my husband speaks probably about 60% English and 40% Spanish with them.

My kids go to a 'bilingual' school that teaches half their subjects in English (by non native English speakers) and the other half in Spanish (by native Spanish speakers). The issue I'm having is not so much within our home, as we seem to have finally struck a workable balance here, but rather in their school. Since my kids are truly bilingual, they have begun to dominate in contests and games in English, as well as their share in Spanish. It was agreed recently among the teachers and a couple of parents that when my kids win an event, that they will be praised or awarded, whichever is appropriate, but a tie will be declared between my child and the first place winner among their monolingual classmates. This practice irks me just enough to write about it.

Is it fair to my child to declare her a tie winner with a child who isn't scoring as well as she is? My eldest feels like she studies and practices and should be rewarded fairly for her efforts, and I'm inclined to agree. What about the message being sent to my kids? It's deflating to stand before your teachers a winner, only to receive a ' That's nice dear, we knew you were going to win.' and stand aside while your classmate is doted on for her accomplishment. It diminishes the achievements my kids, and other bilingual kids have reached. No?

*sigh* Am I being 'one of those parents'? Because I guess I just can't quite tell. I'm at a loss, and I don't necessarily like the way I am feeling about this situation, and need to resolve it. I don't expect that there are too many parents of bilingual kids reading this, but I need to sort this out. Advice?


  1. Making all children 'special' is an epidemic. I'd be pissed too. What's wrong with rewarding the kid who does the best for being the most successful?

  2. It seems that many people are trying to leave a comment, only to discover they've lost their password. Update your accounts! <3

  3. Here we go. So, what I had typed so eloquently this morning was....WHY the need for a competition at all? Why not reward everyone with (suggestion here)? Creative time....5 minutes of chalk board art...whatever. Children will deal with enough pressure in their lives, why start now? The teacher should be able to modify the games/contests to suit the needs of his/her pupils. Why not develop a system in which Phoebe and other classmates are rewarded with letters written by the teacher, instead of letting the rest of the class feel left out? There are ways around this. I need more time to refelect, but I think you will understand my point. You always do. I know that this is not a perfect world, and although it sounds easy, it is more likely similar to creating a new country. But, maybe the teacher is willing to change, try another that each child feels rewarded just for participating. I feel little ones should focus on social skills, and that is accepting and helping others. Really, to be better together than as an individual. In essence, 2 heads are better than 1 idealogy. Celebrate accomplishments and wins, but do not let them focus only on the win. We need empathy and cooperation in the leaders of tomorrow, not 'who wins'.