Student voices are invaluable in the teacher feedback-loop.  We assess, we mark, we get test scores, but nothing is so precious as when the students’ voices begins to express the inner workings of their minds.

This page is reserved for those expressions.  Whether you come here for insight or inspiration, hear their voices as part of our feedback.  Let it inform your practice, be it reassurance or redirection.

By and large, be encouraged.  These students are acquiring their English voice.  Their ability to express themselves is growing. And what could be more beautiful, more important than being able to express oneself?

These stories come from BC English language learners.  They could be your students.  Submissions for consideration and sharing are welcome!

 An Opinion Piece on Technology

This essay was written by Jonathan Wang, grade 10, in June 2016.  I enjoyed reading his perspective on this often hot topic.  Published here with permission.

Technology can cause bad effects on humans. Today technology is very popular in the world. Technology helps people a lot in life, but it also takes away health, knowledge, and socializing from human. Therefore, people need to fight tech addiction.

Technology affects humans’ health. Above all, “our sleep cycles are affected by bright light from screens trick our brain thinking into it is still daylight causing sleep difficulties and that can affect our well being”(Horvath). The break of sleep cycle can affect the hormone in human’s body which can cause disease. Moreover, when people use technology, they often stay in the same position. For example, watching television on a couch for a long time can cause poor circulation of blood in legs. At the same time, in my personal experience, watching novels on cell phone for few hours can easily make me giddy and weak afterwards.

Technology also affects humans’ learning. The internet is very popular today and gives lots of information. Professor Saling says “[What people don’t know is] we must keep pushing information out so [the brain] can deal with information coming in and if it gets overloaded we become forgetful” (Horvath). News, games and useless things have been filling our brain over time which causes us to stop learning from education. In personal experience, technology can also cause me loss focus when I am learning. The sounds of social apps tantalize me to check them when I study.

Technology affects humans’ communication. I have more than 100 friends on Facebook, yet I only chat with 10 of them. When I type to them, I am not even sure if they are reading it. I am not even sure if they are even interested. In the world today people would rather look down at text, than look up eye-to-eye. Friends might text each other when they sit together. People are losing connection to others. Some people can text a lot in messenger, but wouldn’t say a word with others in real life. People should be saying “I like it” when they like something others share instead of pressing the button “Like”. People should be paying attention in real life than in cyberspace because the world is where people live.

For these three reasons with strong evidence people should put away their technology and walk out the door to see, to hear, and to meet each other.

Work Cited

Horvath, Andi. “How does technology affect our brains?” THE AGE. June4 2015. Web. June10,2016

Reflections on the first or last day of school (First year in Canada) – May 2015

Each of these 2 articles were written by 2 students in collaboration.  They were invited to use their own experiences and/or the experiences of their close friends.  Their deadline came – as with many deadlines for language learners who need processing and or translating time – sooner than they would have wished.  I have edited as minimally as possible (e.g.: omitted names, minor rephrases for coherency):

2 boys write:

My first school day was little cold.  I thought the school that I will go in Canada isn’t too different from my country’s school.  But it was different because when I first got to my new school, almost everybody was looking at me.  I couldn’t say English as well.  The students seem (preserve) first time, but they were all nice.  They asked me about almost everything.  Where I came from, where is home, and what language I can say.  That was fun to answer the questions.  But someone was bothering me.  He kept said go back to country that I came from.  I have to talk with the office.  But the problem wasn’t solve.  So I start ignore him.  Now he doesn’t bully me.  I’m happy now?

2 girls write:

“Hi guys!  How are you doing?” a man with a round face, big and sparkly eyes.  He is look like a cute alien.

“Hello.  I am fine.  Thanks.”  Then I knew he is the vice-principal of my new school.  It help me to be relaxed.

The teacher told us I need to go to my homeroom.  However, the office didn’t put my name on the list.  I spent a long time to solve this problem, so I am the last student who arrived to the homeroom.  It make me feel a little bit embarrassed.  Fortunately, my homeroom teacher is very nice.

That night, I imagine a lot of things might happen in the future.  I can see I will be very happy there.

2 boys reflect on the year, imagining their last day (it’s only May, after all):

Today is the last day of school.  I will go back to China in 2 days.  I will go back to my old school in Shanghai and visit my friends.

After school I say goodbye to my friends and teachers.  I feel excited because I have not gone back to China for a long time.

My mom told me I’m going to travel when I go back to China.  I like traveling very much and traveling is always fun.

This year was my first year in Canada.  i thought I was very happy this year.  This year, my English wasn’t good and it made everything much harder for me.  But my teachers and classmates helped me a lot.  They made me English proved a lot.  I met a very good teacher.  She taught me English so she was the most helpful person to me in this year.

My guardian is a complicated person, she always makes things annoyed actually I don’t like her.

I met many friends, they are friendly and helpful.  I like them and one of them is going to have a birthday party they also invite me.  I feel very happy.  I have a present for him.

In a word, I’m very happy with my first year and I hope I can have a good summer vacation.