One thing that I have thought about since DitchSummit is about the role of homework after Alice Keeler‘s talk. I still have some reservations about ditching homework entirely. I believe that it does provide a repeated exposure to the words in the target language that can help students. In addition, all of our students can use the internet for their homework, so I can have a practice with feedback via Quizizz or EdPuzzle. I also try to write out thoughtful study guides that prepare students for the test or quiz.
However, one thing that really stuck out to me was that Alice said essentially that many times we blame homework on why students aren’t doing well, but that is not the reason that they are not doing well. Well, that was me. I would frequently say that if a student wasn’t doing well it was because they weren’t doing the homework. While there was somewhat of a correlation especially for study guides, this wasn’t the exact reason. I decided to take homework off the table while reflecting on why students weren’t doing well.
This year, I have realized that some students who struggle have been relying upon Google Translate (or SpanishDict) too much. While I frequently discourage it and I will tell students not to use it, I can tell when students rely upon it. They are not really decoding any parts of the reading or sentence if they are using Google Translate instead of figuring out the one word that they needed and use WordReference or Quizlet. Whereas, it is obvious when students translate from English to Spanish, it isn’t as obvious when students translate from Spanish to English. They can typically make any linguistic or meaning jumps that are needed.
I have thought about how to combat this. Although I hate using the extra paper, I am going to print off the Quizlet lists. Then, I can tell students just to use the lists. I am also going to implement a SraSpanglish (Laura) rule of capitalizing any word that you look up in writing. I am going to continue to play around with having students highlight any phrase from the reading that they look up. Hopefully this will help them to become cognizant of the amount they look up or need to look up.
How do you combat the reliance on Google Translate? Any other tools to add to my kit?