Learning Across Language: Using Translation in the ESL Classroom
I teach English at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Doha, Qatar. The first language of the majority of our students is Arabic. The students often lament the marginialization and loss of their native tongue. I wanted to create an assignment that allowed them to use their first language while also immersing them in English. In my short fiction class I asked students to form groups of 4 students. Each group translated a story of 15-20 pages from Arabic into English. Each student was then asked to write an essay on the translation process. Since I teach at a school of the arts, I also asked them to present the story in another media, such as a short film, or dramatic reading. My paper will discuss the value of using translation in an ESL classroom. It will include research, and student reponses. I will also show one student created film based on their short story.
Keywords: Translation, ESL, Writing, Teaching, Written Text, Cultural Exchange, Reading
Assistant Profesor, English Department, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Doha, Qatar