Classroom Interpreting

Classroom Interpreters - Interpreters and Children - Interpreting and Language

Monitoring Comprehension

All children (and adults) must monitor their comprehension. To do so, children have to learn to recognize when they do not understand something that has been said. Adults do this all the time and ask questions as a result. Of course, there are still many times when adults misunderstand communication but do not realize that they have misunderstood.

The ability to monitor their understanding is a skill that all children must learn. Research shows that even adolescents do not always realize when they have not understood something that has been said. Parents can appreciate this. Often we must probe and ask questions to ensure a young child or even a teen understands what we mean.

It is a fact that even highly qualified interpreters make errors. However, interpreters with inadequate skills will produce language that even a deaf adult would have trouble understanding. Often interpreters assume that a student will tell them when something is difficult to understand.

Educators cannot expect young students, especially those in elementary and even middle school, to monitor how much they understand and to speak out when interpretations are not understandable. Young children do not have the cognitive skills to be able to do so nor should they have to.

In reality, the educational interpreter must be honest with the classroom teacher and the educational team about interpreting challenges which may have resulted in an ineffective interpretation for the student. Educators cannot assume that the student will inform them when he/she is struggling with comprehension.