Tips to Help You Teach ESL Students Effectively
Check out our list of tips to help you teach ESL students effectively.
There has been a rapid growth of students enrolling in schools that do not speak English as their first language. Educators need the awareness of the learner’s cultural background and the language proficiency level of their students.
Instructing learners that do not speak English is difficult because of the language barrier, but it is possible. Speaking a separate language does not qualify ESL learners for special education classes. However, many strategies in a special education class may work well with ESL learners. Step-by-step instruction should be provided in direct, explicit language and then verbally explained.
All English language learners must join in the same rigorous curriculum that all learners participate in and any school district assessments. The regulations may vary from state to state. Ask your principal to check with your state education department for clarity on the assessment issues.
Attendance is important for all of your learners. Get sure that your non-English speaking learners understand the attendance policies. If a learner is not in class, request a home visit to see if they are okay. More than one person should go.
Construct on the ESL learner’s background knowledge and prior experience and monitor their progress. Check for understanding as they progress in school. Don’t assume someone comprehends the lesson just because their social English skills improve.
Utilize visuals, pictures, or artifacts to support the use of English. Using the props will help the learners connect what they already know and what they are learning in English.
Utilize repetition of the same phrases and words to help with language development. As learners learn words, put them in context, and check for understanding of usage.
Take the learners on field trips to build vocabulary with the experiences. Utilize word walls, journals, and flip cards to review the vocabulary they learned.
Have learners write their vocabulary words and sentences on whiteboards, overheads, and journals.
Instruct the new learner on basic survival words so they can be socially accepted by their peers. In addition to basic greetings, examples would involve going through the lunch line and dining in the cafeteria or going to the library and borrowing a book.
Once the ESL learners feel comfortable, have them share their own experiences. The rest of your learners will benefit from the ELS learners’ ethnic backgrounds. Assign all learners to research their heritage and share it with the class.
If you are teaching in class, make an audio tape and an outline of your lecture. ESL learners can read (visual) and listen (auditory) to the info again at another time.
When teaching the English Language, think of your normal daily routine and every task you take for granted. Your non-English speaking learners will not have established a routine, nor will they know how to say the words in English that match up with what they see and do. Bring everyday routine items to your class to help them establish the conversation with that routine.
Educators need to know the learners’ oral English proficiency level to have a baseline to begin teaching the learner English. It seems obvious if the learner arrives with no English speaking skills, but you will still have to collect assessment data.
Start the writing process by having ESL learners tell you a story while you print the words on the paper. As learners learn more words, have them begin to author their own stories.
Once using an interpreter for conferences or school meetings, try to keep messages to the point. Don’t use professional jargon that the interpreter may not be able to translate. It will not only be challenging for the parent to understand, but you’re risking the possibility that the jargon doesn’t translate.
Respect the first language of your student. If you ignore their first language and concentrate on teaching the learner English, you are not crediting the learner for the learning process they have been engaged in since birth. Just as you would with any learner, begin teaching from their strengths.
Utilize hand gestures, role-playing, and charades when teaching new concepts. Start with small groups, so learners do not feel self-conscious.
Utilize words that they will hear often. Have one of your English-speaking learners list words you use often. If you feel awkward having one of your learners doing that task, tape your class instruction for several hours and then listen for ordinary words you use in instruction. This will be interesting- for you as well as your learners.
Remain constructive with the time learners have in your class. Gather catalogs and magazines to cut up and create picture dictionaries. Have books on tape to listen to and materials for the English Language Find outers.