Sunday, 28 June 2009

Translating Class Reports

I have just finished writing my student reports for parents. This was the first time I have ever had to do this, and I found it a difficult and unpleasant task. Writing individual reflections of learning for 26 students, including their strengths and needs for each one, made me realise I should take more anecdotal notes during the term to assist me. I have started a note book but am considering writing interim report comments weekly on different students to help break the task down, and also make the messages more relevant. I found remembering each and every students strengths and needs at the end of the term in one wild report writing frenzy, a stressful task.

Yet through this process I did find a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn't a train. It was Google Translate. Although many of the parents at my school seem reluctant to talk to the teachers about their child's learning, some want to but cannot. I have one student in my class who's parents do not speak English, only Thai. I have often felt frustrated that I could not share some of their child's classroom successes with them, until now. I recently discovered Google Translate and decided to try it out by translating this student's report into Thai. I had no idea how well it actually translated, but explained my intentions to my student, asking her to then pass this onto her parents. The next day she told me they were very happy that they could, for the first time, get feedback from the school that they could understand, although I still do not know how well it translated the grammar.

Free web software like this has the potential to assist schools in creating bridges of communication, with parents and family of students who are not English speakers. This can only help our students improve their learning, because as we know, parent involvement in student learning makes a huge difference. I imagine this could also be used with students in the classroom, assuming they are at the level of reading their home language.

How would you use a programme like Google Translate in your classroom?
คุณจะให้ใช้โปรแกรมเช่น Google แปลภาษาในชั้นเรียน? Hoe zou u gebruik maken van een programma als Google Translate in uw klas?

¿Cómo utilizar un programa como Google Translate en el aula?
कैसे आप अपनी कक्षा में Google अनुवाद की तरह एक प्रोग्राम का प्रयोग करेंगे?
Comment pourriez-vous utiliser un programme comme Google Translate dans votre classe?

Image by by Randy Son Of Robert


  1. Writing reports is always difficult, especially for our esol students. What a brilliant solution to ensure that parents are informed and involved.

  2. You know I never thought about this - thanks - I have Cantonese parents who have very little english - I will try this out on the next set of notices to go home.