A teacher at a Sydney secondary school is urging students to remember their language skills in the face of new tests, after they missed a week of classes due to a flu pandemic.
More than 700 students at Westfield Primary School have missed a month of class due to flu.
English teachers have told the ABC they are concerned students will not learn to speak to other people and are being pressured into using the same words they would hear at home, but teachers say this is not the case.
“They’re getting pressure to speak the same language as other people,” English teacher Karen Wilson said.
The flu pandemics have hit classrooms hard, but many teachers say the flu is causing them to over-interpret and forget the students’ own language.
‘It’s frustrating, it’s exhausting’ ‘We’ve got flu on our hands’ English teacher, Karen Wilson, is concerned students may not learn the skills they need to succeed in English.
She said the flu pandems are also affecting students’ ability to learn new words.
They’re not used to being in a room with other people so they’re not really sure what they’re supposed to say or what they need, she said.
“They’re just trying to get their feet under them.
It’s very frustrating because they’ve been very, very stressed and they don’t know how to do it.”
But Ms Wilson said the tests are helping.
Her pupils were given a flu test for a month, and a second one in December.
While it didn’t affect them, she still wants them to know their flu symptoms and their right to ask for help.
“[They were] getting really stressed out,” she said, “and [they] didn’t have that sense of control over their own situation.”
She added the tests were also helping teachers understand how to get students to talk to each other.
Teachers say teachers have been encouraged to use the same vocabulary as the students.
But the teacher said she felt that some of the teachers were being more aggressive than others.
“(Some) have been more aggressive in terms of trying to push [the students] to talk,” she told 7.30.
Ms Wilson said that while the flu was causing some stress to the teachers, she did not want the students to feel “like they’re in a bad situation”.
“I think it’s good that they’re trying to help them through this,” she added.
However, Ms Wilson added she was concerned about the impact the tests would have on the students and what their future might look like.
We’ve just got to keep on pushing our students to understand how the world works and what’s going on around them.
She said teachers needed to be vigilant and do their best to keep them safe.
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