What do I do to compensate for the presence of different dialects?

What do I do to compensate for the presence of different dialects?


Part of my job requires me to teach little children. I have learned that some Hispanic familes (though not all) like to teach their children in their native language, before English. There is one little boy who comes from Honduras, and he does not seem to be able to speak or understand English. I have tried conversing with him with my limited Spanish, but even then he does not seem to understand me. He has this quizzical look on his face, like instead of me saying "That circle is orange." I have said "The bubble's grass is purple." I need to know how to compensate for the differences in dialect, and how I can help this child understand me.

Thank you for your help.

updated NOV 3, 2009
edited by 00494d19
posted by Chobit

1 Answer


Well, I guess you'll both have to get used to it. Individual approach - that's what really matters. Is there anyone to help and translate for you if things get serious for a small fellow, like going to the toilet etc?

You should also talk to the kid's parents and ask them for the best ways to communicate with their son. If it's the beginning of you teaching him, then it's only natural that the situation is a bit worrying. The most important thing is to help the children master the basic things: eating, toilets, phoning parents, coming to you, keeping quiet, when neccessary, looking in a particular direction or any other useful language functions.

Oh - and since the boy's parents can speak English, you can write those several basic phrases and ask them to teach the boy a bit, so that he can understand you.

updated NOV 3, 2009
edited by Issabela
posted by Issabela
Yeah I agree, you should communicate with the parents and get their input, they could probably give you better background on what he knows and maybe clue you in on the best teaching method for him - cheeseisyummy, NOV 1, 2009
Thanks. Yes, the parents do know a bit of English, and he seems to understand the word "el baƱo". I will try this next time I come across the child. :) - Chobit, NOV 1, 2009
Good luck :) I teach small kids, too - so I know how hard it can be at times, but also very rewarding! - Issabela, NOV 1, 2009
It is! I have used what you said, and have been able to teach him the English words for "bathroom" and "snack time". He seemed to pick up on those pretty quickly. ;) - Chobit, NOV 3, 2009
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