It happened. You gave your students an assignment. As you’re sitting down to grade it you are WOWED, floored, ASTOUNDED at their work. Suspiciously so. Looking at it, you’re positive this kid did not do this. Ughhhh. Now what?? Give ‘em a zero and have them retake it? Have “the talk” with your classes again? Let’s talk about how to keep students from using Google Translate in Spanish class.
I hate to break it to you, but I have no magic fixes for you. We can’t go back 50 years, before Google Translate ever existed. It’s here, it’s here to stay, and it’s GOOD. Like crazy good. Sure, there are things that it does that give students away, but it’s getting harder and harder. So we’re going to talk about our options and the plan for moving forward.
Watch the Video
How to Keep Students from Using Google Translate
Make your expectations clear – I’ve shared before about how important your syllabus is for communicating expectations. Your rules about translators need to be on here, communicated right from the start.
Make sure your admin is on board with your plan
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a teacher posting in a FB group. They caught a student cheating, with a translator, in NO uncertain terms, but their admin isn’t cool with them giving their students an academic dishonesty report, marking them as a zero, even having them redo the work. It’s super frustrating! Talk with your admin BEFORE the situation ever occurs. Make sure you know they have your back, if this were to happen in the future.
We are far, far past the point where you can say, “you won’t always have one with you”. That’s just not true. Instead, fight to show your students when and how to rely on the tool, show them the difference between a translator and a dictionary and model it for them. Over and over. There are times in class when students want to use a word in our stories that I just don’t know. I pull up wordreference.com on the screen and talk them through how I look up the word, and how it shows examples, and we work together to pick the right word (if there are multiples).
Do your best to avoid the opportunity for cheating.
I know it’s harder than it sounds, but projects get done in class, writing is done in class, I really stopped giving homework for the most part, too. Swapping to an in-class focused set up means I have to just watch the computers..tablets..phones..smartphones
*insert whack-a-mole here*
It’s not perfect, but it does help. My favorite way to include writing in class is through timed writing. You can learn more about this activity on my blog and I’ll make sure to link to it in the description below!
Talk about Proficiency Levels
A great way to help your students avoid translators is to shift your expectations – and theirs. Sometimes I think students and parents have warped expectations of how long it takes to learn a language. (Have you ever had a parent say they’re taking a spring break trip to México and can’t wait for their Spanish 1 student to translate for the fam? *insert eye roll*).
I really like the ice cream scoop proficiency visual from Spanish Plans to show them where they are at, and what we can expect at this stage. I think that when students have a better idea of what we’re looking for, they’re less tempted to reach for a translator to produce language that’s out of bounds for them right now. We also need to look at our assessments and activities and make sure that we’re not trying to get them to do tasks that reach them too far and cause them to fall flat instead of succeed with the level they’re at!
Avoiding Translators in Your Classroom
What other tips would you add to help reduce the usage of Google Translate in your classroom? Please comment below and let me know – I’d love to hear what has worked for you!