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Increasingly more Polish children born and educated in UK can't write/read!


Concerned
25 Feb 2012 #1
In my teaching experience in the UK I am alarmed to see that more and more Polish children do not seem to make expected progress in school even though they were born and educated solely in the UK for at least 3 or 4 years. Many of them do not know how to speak in neither Polish nor English - their vocabulary is limited and their grammar is poor. They struggle with writing and reading and their levels are way below expected. In general their language skills (in both Polish and English) are not age appropriate. Those children pass from one class to another and teachers smile and say polite things to parents during parent evenings. Then, a few years later, parents learn that their child is illiterate. Shock, disbelief and quick intervention from outside agencies.

Many Polish parents are failing their children in the UK. It will be a lost generation. A generation of poorly educated people with poor social skills, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Time to act now!

Many Polish parents often say to me that they "try to speak English" to their children at home. WHY?? They say that they had their child's best interest in mind. Think again. You're not helping your child, quite contrary, you are making a big mistake, which will not help your child. Many Polish parents don't speak very good English - their pronunciation is poor, their grammar is not secure, yet they speak "broken" English to their children. This is VERY BAD PRACTICE. Many parents later admit that they made a mistake and they try to "correct" it but it is often too late. Their children have speech and language difficulties, delayed cognitive skills and they generally struggle with learning. All research by speech and language therapists and linguists say that PARENTS SHOULD SPEAK LANGUAGE THEY KNOW BEST TO THEIR CHILDREN. And also that PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEVELOPING POLISH OF THEIR CHILDREN. How?

- by talking to their children (you would be surprised how many parents don't do that. Why would they if they had a TV and a computer to make their children dumb and mute)

- By reading to their child EVERY DAY
- By playing board games and still talking
- Describing things around (lots of talking)
- sending their child to Saturday Polish school
- sending their child for after school clubs (sport, dancing, art) so that child is socially included in school environment
- spending time with their child (your child should matter more than TV programme)
- arranging play time with other children to help them develop their social skills (letting your child spend 5 hours in front of TV and computer each day is wrong!)

If you care for your child's development and future prospects you have to seriously consider all above notes. Otherwise, you will regret that you let it slip through your fingers.

Check at home:

1. Write some addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (not too easy and not too hard) and ask your child to do it.
2. Ask your child to write in Polish and in English a story and then check its level
3. Ask your child to read aloud and summarise text in the newspaper
4. Ask teachers for your child's levels and what group are they in (top set or bottom set - children with learning difficulty)
5. Check how much homework is your child given. Does your child know what to do? Can you sit with your child and see how well can they do it on their own.

6. Go to BBC.co.uk/schools and choose appropriate age group and subject and ask your child to do the test to show you the results

7. Ask your child what are they learning in English (literacy), Maths (numeracy), history or biology. Can they say anything?
and so on...

I hope that your child is doing well in school and that you are being a responsible parent.

If your child is having difficulty at school please share your concerns.

After all we need to help each other and support each other.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
25 Feb 2012 #2
Many of them do not know how to speak in neither Polish nor English -

Concerned. Are you a Polish person who teaches in a British school?
Alligator - | 261
25 Feb 2012 #3
English Concerned is Polish Życzliwy. It's obvious how to treat such Concerned people. We had few of them recently, mainly non registered Concerned.
Życzliwi jak dla mnie mogą się wypchać ze swoimi życzliwymi poradami.
Barney 15 | 1,496
25 Feb 2012 #4
Those children pass from one class to another and teachers smile and say polite things to parents during parent evenings.

Horse and feathers, teachers passing pupils from class to class with no assessment is impossible. Now for a gross generalisation; teachers at KS2 spend their time talking working class parents up and middle class parents down.

There is so much more to be said here but I believe this is a trolling thread, prove me wrong.
a.k.
25 Feb 2012 #5
a trolling thread,

Why? What's trollish in the OP's post?
Barney 15 | 1,496
26 Feb 2012 #6
Its factually incorrect, by law, teachers have to assess children at all stages in their education, initially by informal assessment then by formal testing. The results follow the child, recorded by the school and given to parents. There are parent teacher meetings where the teacher has to give an assessment of the child to the parents twice a year.

In every school there is a designated teacher who by law reviews the test results and decides what action should be taken to help an under achieving pupil. A pupil who cannot talk is either an elective mute or has severe learning difficulties. As the child gets older this becomes more apparent. All primary school teachers are aware of this.

The OP is simply trolling suggesting Polish kids are ESN (to use an offensive term), and is obviously not a teacher
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
26 Feb 2012 #7
Życzliwi jak dla mnie mogą się wypchać ze swoimi życzliwymi poradami.

Way too kind of you, I would have phrased it quite differently.
a.k.
26 Feb 2012 #8
Its factually incorrect, by law, teachers have to assess children at all stages in their education, initially by informal assessment then by formal testing.

What test can check if a child reads fluently? What test of writing a story can be marked objectively? Informal assessments are informal, therefore they might be unobjective. So then what's your point?

There are parent teacher meetings where the teacher has to give an assessment of the child to the parents twice a year.

Just like in Poland. In Poland the problem exists too. Children who fall behind are pushed (with poor marks) from class to class just to not lag in schools. Due to language specific it doesn't happen that someone can't write or read in Polish at all, but it happens that a 15 years old reads unfluently (stuttering, changing the words etc.) and makes shocking spelling mistakes. Then they are labelled as undiagnosed dyslectic or so ;)

The OP is simply trolling suggesting

I don't see any suggestions by him/her that Polish children are stupid or should be kicked out of the UK. The OP merely points out a problem which in this case is a wrong approach to biligualism and offer a kind advice how the problem might be avoided.

I've always been curious how all those people, whose children were falling behind in Polish school will get by in British school, where they need to learn the language from the scrach often!

Would a troll write such thing as below?

After all we need to help each other and support each other.

pawian 197 | 19,922
26 Feb 2012 #9
parent evenings

Thank you! I was wondering how to say wywiadówka in English.

parent teacher meetings

Hey! So how do you really say wywiadówka in English?

PARENTS SHOULD SPEAK LANGUAGE THEY KNOW BEST TO THEIR CHILDREN. And also that PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEVELOPING POLISH OF THEIR CHILDREN. How?

Seems a plausible piece of advice.

Together with other pieces.

You should have them translated into Polish to hand out to parents during parent evenings.

7. Ask your child what are they learning in English (literacy),

Even British teachers make mistakes at times..... :):):)

Concerned. Are you a Polish person who teaches in a British school?

Probably.

But advice is good, anyway. Especially:

- by talking to their children (you would be surprised how many parents don't do that. Why would they if they had a TV and a computer to make their children dumb and mute)
- By reading to their child EVERY DAY
- By playing board games and still talking
- Describing things around (lots of talking)
- spending time with their child (your child should matter more than TV programme)

Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
26 Feb 2012 #10
It's surprising thta someone (Concerned) who has provided what appears to be informative, well-considered, reasonable and sincere input has to be discredited and ridiculed, but such -- I reckon -- are the realities of some PF-ers with a permanent chip on their shoulder.

I found this interesting esp. since the PolAm expeirences I am most fmailair with were quite different. The children of Polish-born immigrants have usually mastered good English and retained various levels of Polish ospoke to their parents in Englihs whilst the parents responded in Polish, and each side understood the other without being able to to readily articulate the other language. From what Concerned described on the UK scene, one migth presume that the Polish kids there interact mainly with their own kind in Polish, broken English or a hybrid thereof. Is that indeed the case?
a.k.
26 Feb 2012 #11
I'd like to add that according to threads I've read here about raising a biligual child (if I remember correctly) it's normal for a child to slow down in progress of acquiring speaking skills. It doesn't mean that later those kids won't catch up.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
26 Feb 2012 #12
This is strictly impressionistic (I haven't conducted a formal study in the area), but I feel this is an indivdual thing. I know of a case of a 4-year-old child raised in Poland by a British father and Lebanese wife who in a single room could speak to her dad in English, automatically switch into in French with her mum, address granddad in Arabic and her nanny in Polish without missing a beat. My own personal experience of having been raised bilingually (Polsih & English) was that I was able to pick up a third, foourth and fifth language with much greater facility than by monoglot classmates.
Barney 15 | 1,496
26 Feb 2012 #13
AK
The teacher uses their experience to assess the skills of the child, asking the child to read aloud is a good test, observing if the child points for example instead of answering.

The OP was talking about children born and raised in an English speaking country. He mentioned children being unable to speak in either language. I find that hard to believe. Children learn to speak, in any normal distribution there will be some who cannot speak or opt not to speak, this is a tiny minority.

What is being measured is active and passive skills this has to be by teacher assessment because of the age of the child a formal or quantifiable test is not appropriate. Formal testing happens later at around age 7.

At each stage the teachers concerns if any are noted and assessed to see if additional help in needed. There is a wide range of help available, children who don’t speak are moved to special schools. Parents sometimes move their child to another school but the paperwork goes with the child.

Children are not allowed to languish unaided ie passed from one class to another this simply doesn’t happen. What we are talking about here is the professional ability of the teacher and the structural nature of the school. If a child doesn’t acquire language questions are asked of the teacher and school

Acquiring language is not a formal, grammar rules based thing almost all children speak irrespective of the language or languages of the parents.

The OP also talks about sets or streaming by ability, though starting to make a comeback, streaming has not been widely used in Primary schools for about 20 years.

From reading the opening paragraph I know the OP is not involved in either education or child development.

The advice given by the OP for parental engagement in their children’s education is grand we all know this and it can’t be stressed enough.

A number of glaringly obvious errors in practice and an extremely outdated view of education shine through the advice. It’s a rather conservative and incorrect view of education wrapped up in an attempt to portray Polish kids as somehow backward and Polish parents as unengaged with their children. The questions I would be asking are why is it that a teacher is unable to teach all ability pupils? and Why blame the kids/parents?

The king in his castle and the pauper at the gate and so shall it remain is how many see education, reinforcing their own prejudices that’s why I pointed out that teachers have to talk down middleclass parents and talk up working class parents.

Hey! So how do you really say wywiadówka in English?

Parents meeting, the time is irrelevant.

From what Concerned described on the UK scene, one migth presume that the Polish kids there interact mainly with their own kind in Polish, broken English or a hybrid thereof. Is that indeed the case?

No this is not true,Polish kids born in the UK speak English.

This is strictly impressionistic

And contradicts the OP

I'd like to add that according to threads I've read here about raising a biligual child (if I remember correctly) it's normal for a child to slow down in progress of acquiring speaking skills. It doesn't mean that later those kids won't catch up.

All children develop at their own speed there is nothing abnormal about very young children taking their time.

There is something that needs to be said here, all children are individuals all develop at different rates.

Edit

Hit the button early by mistake
a.k.
26 Feb 2012 #14
The teacher uses their experience to assess the skills of the child, asking the child to read aloud is a good test, observing if the child points for example instead of answering.

The same in Poland. I ensure you that it doesn't work in reality.

He mentioned children being unable to speak in either language. I find that hard to believe.

After reading this thread I've looked for some articles about raising bilingual children to confirm some knowledge I've heard, and guess what? In the first that I've found, there was mentioned a couple of Poles raising a child in England. They were wondering if they should talk to the child in English (!) because they afraid that their child won't be able to communicate at school (note that in Great Britain kids starts school at earlier age than in Poland, so they were fearing that their child is not sufficiently exposed for English being all the time with parents, therefore won't be ready for school). So that might be a real issue, however I don't know if it is in fact.

Also among immigrants there is a tend to mix languages (ponglish), that might be the case too (but I haven't heard so far about this going on among British Polonia tbh).

I'm not aware of the British educational reality so I won't argue with you about other points of your post. Let me just notice that even if that is a provocation it's a very subtle one, while PF trolls are rarely that subtle :)

The questions I would be asking are why is it that a teacher is unable to teach all ability pupils? and Why blame the kids/parents?

I would say that it's the parents' tasks to support the education of their children and teachers can't make wonders alone.

reinforcing their own prejudices that’s why I pointed out that teachers have to talk down middleclass parents and talk up working class parents.

I'm not sure of the meaning of phrasal verbs such as talk down and talk up. Do you mean that they should dumb down the level to adjust it to the needs of the weaker students?
Barney 15 | 1,496
26 Feb 2012 #15
Observation is the only way to assess very young children though not perfect it’s a good method especially if moderated by more experienced or dedicated staff.

The Education system in the North of Ireland is different to Britain but we do study the same curriculum. Children do start school at too young an age I agree, there is however at least one year of Nursery school, Kids really do speak English if born in an English speaking country. There are some problems with children with no English (Migrants) but these are quickly overcome.

You will have to trust me that there is a lot of help for children falling behind and with any kind of positive parental involvement the kids soon catch up.

Everyone agrees that parental involvement is vital, this needs to be said again and again all good parents know this including surprise surprise Polish parents. Why that was mentioned is beyond me.

I'm not sure of the meaning of phrasal verbs such as talk down and talk up.

Sorry, to talk up in this context means to tell the parents that they have a bright child brighter than they expected and they have to realise this, or conversely that your child is not as gifted as you think.
pip 10 | 1,659
26 Feb 2012 #16
I actually think the op is pretty bang on.
oxon 4 | 164
26 Feb 2012 #17
Hands up who actually knows a Polish family with five or more children. I don't, and you would be hard pushed to find one.
And hands up the last time you heard about poppy-burning, bus-bombing Poles.

i believe you are trying to justify your reasons for being in the UK (if that's where you are). Why are you here and why are all Poles so interested in learning English.
thebadmonkey 2 | 71
26 Feb 2012 #18
Oxon, if you hate Poles so much, why exactly are you here? Shouldn't you be doing something a little more constructive?
observer
26 Feb 2012 #19
I think the reading and writing problem was addressed and publicized last year. The Evening Standard newspaper (the free ones you get when commuting using london underground) has launched campaign to help literacy ... 'Get London Reading' or 'Volunteer Reading Help'. The problem is not exclusive to polish immigrant, it also prevalent in other community and the native english speaking family too. I remember reading that when one teacher asked the children to bring their favourite book to school, one of the children brought an Argos catalogue, and said that he didnt have any story book in the house!

In some part of England, the primary school teacher do go to the children houses to discuss with the parents the children progress. Sad to say some of the house was full of expensive material things, large television sets and game consoles, but not a trace of children books. Parents are so busy working and too tired spending quality time with children. But this is a sensitive subject as no parents like to be criticised or told how to raise their children usually.
a.k.
26 Feb 2012 #20
i believe you are trying to justify your reasons for being in the UK (if that's where you are). Why are you here and why are all Poles so interested in learning English.

Are you blind? Warszawa mean Warsaw, Angole means Englishmen.
isthatu2 4 | 2,702
26 Feb 2012 #21
In my teaching experience in the UK

Many of them do not know how to speak in neither Polish nor English

their grammar is poor

No sh!t if you really are a teacher.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
26 Feb 2012 #22
I think this is a load of codswollop, even focusing.

I am alarmed to see that more and more Polish children do not seem to make expected progress in school even though they were born and educated solely in the UK for at least 3 or 4 years.

I have a problem with this statement.
If a "Polish" child was educated solely in the U.K. is it not a failure on the behalf of teachers, like yourself, if they can't read or wright?

Or to at least understand that the parents might not speak Enlgish, to be able to read them books in English?

Many of them (Polish children) do not know how to speak in neither Polish nor English

Thankfully, for your argument, they won't be able to respond to this thread to defend themselves.

This is rubbish, what are they feckin mute? what a load of bull. How the heck are kids from country "A" who live in country "B" not able to speak either language?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
26 Feb 2012 #23
If a "Polish" child was educated solely in the U.K. is it not a failure on the behalf of teachers, like yourself, if they can't read or wright?
Or to at least understand that the parents might not speak Enlgish, to be able to read them books in English?

an echo of the 60's and 70's when asians moved to the uk.

which begs the question: did the brits learn nothing from the past ?
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
27 Feb 2012 #24
One of the huge shortcomings of today's multiculturalism, certainly not just in Britain, is that people from many walks of life, living in a new country, are just meant to "get on with it".

So take an average mixed language student attendng school, some parents will not be able to reienforce the lessons of their child's school day simply because they can't.

This is a very real and serious issue of modern day multiculturalism and yet not a huge problem to overcome but it has to be addressed in real terms first, not just by making the assumption that people from country "A" are... well to put a finer point on it than the OP has, Stupid.

What i dislike is this thread making "Poles" out to be more stupid than everyone else, obviously BS.

Environment also has a big role to play, in British terms the class system.

But to suggest that kids are growing up mute, well it's just ludacris .
Ant63 13 | 410
27 Feb 2012 #25
This is rubbish, what are they feckin mute? what a load of bull. How the heck are kids from country "A" who live in country "B" not able to speak either language?

Well quite obviously tou have no experience of this like many of the PFers above so it's best you don't make comments that are factually incorrect.

Having first hand experience of this, the truth is many Polish parents in the UK are failing their children by not getting involved in their education and are too busy critising the school because poor little Piotr was in the playground without his coat on. It's not the schools job to give the child a basic education it's the parents.

The truth is, and we have heard this first hand, some believe that because they have a job and don't speak English, it's just fine for their child fail in school because he/she can be the same as mum and dad.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
27 Feb 2012 #26
some believe that because they have a job and don't speak English, it's just fine for their child fail in school because he/she can be the same as mum and dad.

I realise that you were typing pretty much at the same time as I was and to reiterate what I have written in another way: I believe you mix up "Believe it's fine to be like mummy and daddy" to "not having much of a choice".

If you live in another country, work and your children are being taught in a foreign language, you probably couldn't help much with school work, could you? or is it just less trouble for you to think they "Believe" that their kids will be fine?

This is a bogus thread, with a serious issue but unfortunatly more willingness to blame it on the nationality of the parents than the obvious deisadvatage the kids have.

And sure, some of you will hang on to the "Disadvantaged kids" part of my sentence but any of you got any statistics where POLISH children at A level are not doing as well as the rest in Britain????
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
27 Feb 2012 #27
the truth is many Polish parents in the UK are failing their children by not getting involved in their education and are too busy critising the school because poor little Piotr was in the playground without his coat on.

I believe you, actually.

Polish parents tend to be horribly focused on superficial things and not on the things that matter - the example of the "OMG MY CHILD WAS OUTSIDE WITH NO COAT ON" is spot on. The same nonsense is seen with the demanding of grades and results.

Always wondered how Polish children cope with the much harsher stance on cheating in UK schools, actually.
Ironside 51 | 11,337
27 Feb 2012 #28
Do you have to speak Polish in order to teach English in Poland?
a.k.
27 Feb 2012 #29
Always wondered how Polish children cope with the much harsher stance on cheating in UK schools, actually.

Cope with what? They probably don't cheat if there are harsh punishments.
It's off topic delphiandomine.
Ant63 13 | 410
27 Feb 2012 #30
are just meant to "get on with it".

You are completely wrong. Without going into too much detail my partners eldest was 6 when he arrived in the UK. Already at a significantly different level of education. Precisely zero. Unable to hold a pen properly and none of the motor skills to write. He was not an exception. It appears to be the norm. So he starts school with zero English in September. What a nightmare for the child. Of course he was uncooperative and disruptive. What else could he do. Contrary to the OP we only had English TV and my partner translated to English for him. We had daily meetings with his teacher, who, because we put the effort in to find a way forward for him, put the extra effort in too. It was notable that the other Polish children in his class had no such support from their parents. The other parents in fact, could not understand why we spent so much time after school with the teacher and explained it was not their problem to educate their children it was the schools.

By december it was possible to have a form of conversation with him in English. Most importantly he had established freindships with English children and we did everything possible to make sure these relationships were maintained outside of school. It's hard work and to make it work you have to make sacrifices that a lot of people don't seem to be able to do.

At the end of his first year he had advanced considerably but he was still massively behind the other children. His Polish language was becoming broken with lots of erm erm erm and sentences formed incorrectly. Although his English by now was on a par with his mums he was really lost between the two. It's a difficult time as to correct the English he needs to read and because he is now a little older, there are more interesting things to do than read. Again it's a lot of hard repetetive work but you get there in the end. He can now read and write but at a very early level. Because he can now read a little, he is now more interested, so learning becomes faster and more intuative.

The sad thing to see is that many of peers have no such support and can barely string a sentence together in English and have no reading or writing ability and many of them have been in the UK longer.

What future do these children have?

I am not the father of this child but I believe it is my duty while he is under my roof to provide him with the most important thing for his future, an education, without which he will have no expectation of better things and will remain at the bottom of the pile. It's not enough to fatten them up and keep them warm. Lifes tough.

not having much of a choice

Of course they have choice. They chose to put their child in a difficult position. They should also choose to help their child.

Can you tell me what choice an English child would have in Poland? We already know the answer don't we. It comes down to money and if you can afford to send your child to English or American school.

This is a bogus thread,

I doubt this is a bogus thread as the OP has made a sincere well thought out post. The post is on a Polish forum but it could have been made on any other nationalities forum. It is a problem that is prevelant everywhere in the uk now. Peterborough has some serious problems as some classes have a higher number of foreign children than English children and some time back I saw a news article where English parents were threatenning to withdraw their children because they were being held back so much.

This is not aimed at you Sean but there really are a lot of ignorant, "Polish know better" people on this forum. The truth is we are all in the mix together and there are problems that need to be discussed in an intelligent manner. Attacking someone for posting the truth is at best unhelpful. Solutions need to be found. I am aware that some Polish children are excelling in UK schools. A friends daughter is top of everything, speaks both languages fluently and is learning a third. She is a credit to her parents. The problem is an awful lot are getting left behind. It needs sorting and the only wat to do it is open up and listen to what someone who knows is saying (mines from trial and error so I don't count). Then discuss it in an intelligent helpfull manner.


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