Education

A 5th Grader Is a Translator at School. Is That a Good Thing?

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 28, 2009 1 min read

A story published this week in the NewsPress of Stillwater, Okla., has only good things to say about how an elementary school in that community is using a 5th grader as a volunteer translator. A lot of facts are missing from the article that I would like to know, such as whether the school has any adults on board who can also provide Spanish-English translation and what exactly the school staff is asking the child to translate.

I think that we’d all agree that a child shouldn’t provide translation for disciplinary procedures or meetings about children with special needs. But I can see how a child who enjoyed translation could help teachers to greet parents at a school social event for parents and students.

What do you think? When would it be appropriate and not appropriate for a school to use volunteer student translators?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.