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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 20 u Chapter 2 using words from one language to supplement the other instead of searching for precise words in one language. This habit compromises their ability to think and speak a language correctly. It hinders their abil- ity to succeed in school. Instead of developing bilingualism (in which both languages are strong), the children may develop semilingualism (in which both languages are weak). What Can Teachers Do When Children Code-Switch? A child’s job is to learn language. When children learn two languages at the same time, they mix languages because they have some words in one language and other words in the other language. Teachers must accept all their language attempts in a positive way. Meanwhile, teachers must also provide kind, gentle guidance with developmentally appropriate prac- tices. The following examples illustrate different ways in which teachers may respond to code switching. They are not equally helpful. 1. Four-year-old Tomás says, “Quiero más milk.” The teacher smiles and says, “Tomás, speak to me in English. You say, ‘I want more milk.’ In our classroom we speak English! I’ll wait until you say it the right way.” 2. Tomás says, “Quiero más milk.” The teacher smiles and pours more milk into his cup, saying, “There you go!” 3. Tomás says, “Quiero más milk.” The teacher smiles and says, “Tomás, you want more milk. I want more milk.” Then she pours milk into his cup and repeats, “I want more milk.” 4. Tomás says, “Quiero más milk.” The teacher smiles and says, “Tomás, you want more milk. I want more milk. Can you say, ‘I want more milk’? I want more milk.” Tomás repeats, “Want more milk.” As she pours milk into his cup, the teacher says with enthusiasm, “Yes, Tomás, I want more milk! You said it in English!” In example 1, the teacher is inflexible and punitive. Her approach is not developmentally appropriate, even if she smiles. In example 2, the teacher ignores Tomás’s incorrect language and misses a teaching opportunity. In example 3, she extends Tomás’s language and models correct language. In example 4, the teacher teaches intentionally. She extends Tomás’s lan- guage, models correct language, gently asks him to practice, and gives him COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL