Eltlearningjourneyscomteaching Beginners Can Be A Daunting Prospect Especially When Its A Monolingual Group And You Know Nothing Of Their Language Or Its A Multilingual Group And The Only Common Language Is The English Youve Been Tasked With Teaching Them Nevertheless Not Only Is It Possible
Teaching beginners can be a daunting prospect, especially when its a monolingual group and you know nothing of their language, or its a multilingual group and the only common language is the English youve been tasked with teaching them. Nevertheless, not only is it possible to teach beginners only through English, but it can also be one of the most rewarding levels to teach. To help you succeed in setting your learners firmly on the path to increasing proficiency, here are seven tips for teaching English to beginners.
Things To Keep In Mind In Your Practice
Dont Forget That Your Students Are Fluent In Their Own Language
This may seem a trivial point, but its all too easy when listening to somebody speaking broken English to forget that behind the errors and the mispronunciation is a person with cogent thoughts, no doubt articulate in their first language, attempting to communicate his or her opinions or ideas.
As teachers, we not only have to be patient and proactive listeners, alert to the reasons why certain errors are being made while filling in the gaps in less-than-perfect communication, we also have to steer clear of adopting the Me-Tarzan-You-Jane approach to teaching, bastardizing the very language we are aiming to teach. Rather than degrading our language we have to grade it carefully so as to keep it comprehensible while maintaining its naturalness, rhythm and spirit, ensuring all the while that, as far as possible, we actually converse with our students and listen to what they have to say. After all, even from the very first lessons, from the A in the alphabet and the am of to be, communication is the goal.
What we should always avoid is this:
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Set Classroom Rules And Enforce Consequences
It is also essential to set some ground rules for your classroom. This will help to create a respectful and positive learning environment. Some things you may want to include in your rules may consist of:
- no talking while the teacher is talking,
- raising your hand if you want to speak,
- no interrupting each other,
- always be polite to others.
If rules are not followed, it is important to enforce consequences, which can range from a warning to being sent out of the classroom. This will help to ensure that your rules are taken seriously and that students know what they need to do to follow them.
Use Sentence Frames To Give Students Practice With Academic Language
All students, not just English language learners, need practice with academic conversations. Sentence frames partially completed sentences like I disagree with what _________ said because show students how to structure language in a formal way. Keep these posted in a highly visible spot in your classroom and require students to refer to them during discussions and while they write.
For this kind of language to really sink in, though, Kim says it has to become a regular part of class. They wont do it if its not the norm in the class, because theyll be embarrassed to use it among their peers, she says. But if they can put it off on the teacher and say, Oh, well, you know, Miss Kim makes me talk like this, then they dont look as hoity-toity as they would otherwise.
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What Does A Student
- The layout makes sense and facilitates understanding of the content.
- The print is legible and large enough for students to read.
- Sections of the handout are spread out with sufficient space in between.
- There isn’t an excessive amount of print on the page.
- If there’s a word bank, the words are enclosed in a box.
- All information on the page, including directions, is clear and concise.
When it comes to any kind of handout, less is more for ELs because it helps them focus on the essential information on the page without unnecessary distractions.
Establish Classroom Language Early On
Classroom language Can you speak more slowly? What do we have to do? I dont understand. What does mean? How do you say in English? is usually associated with teaching children, but it really helps with adult beginners as well. No matter how friendly and relaxed you make your classroom atmosphere, learning a new language can still be daunting, especially when you feel youre not completely following whats going on, or that you might be called on to say something that you dont feel ready to say. Its much better to equip students early on with classroom language that will help them navigate the lesson smoothly.
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Allow Some Scaffolding With The Native Language
Although it has been a hotly debated topic in the language-learning community, allowing students some use of their first language in second-language classrooms is gaining acceptance. When a student is still very new to a language, its okay to pair him with other students who speak his native language. Some students are afraid to open their mouths at all for fear of sounding stupid or just not knowing the words to use, Yurkosky says. Letting them explain things or ask questions in their first language gets them to relax and feel like a part of the class.
And this doesnt only apply to spoken language. If you give students a written assignment, but the ELL student doesnt yet have the proficiency to handle writing his response in English, Dont make them just sit there and do nothing, Eddington says. Allow them to write in their first language if theyre able. This allows them to still participate in journal writing or a math extended response, even if you cant read what they write. There has even been some evidence that allowing second-language learners to pre-write and brainstorm in L1 results in higher-quality writing in L2 in later stages of the writing process .
Examples Of How To Use Fewer Words
|Too Many Words||Fewer Words|
“What do you think is a good way to get your readers’ attention when you begin your story so that they want to keep reading your story?”
“What is a good way to get your readers’ attention when you begin your story?”
“There are three different kinds of sentences we’re going to talk about today. We have statements, we have questions, and we have exclamations.”
“Today we’ll look at three kinds of sentences: statements, questions, and exclamations.”
ELs need more time to process what they hear in English, so allow sufficient wait time after you ask a question.
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The Role Of Esl Teachers
ESL teachers have a variety of important roles in their schools and districts. Some may be assigned to a specific grade or students, while others travel from building to building each day. Learn more about the unique opportunity that ESL teachers have to collaborate, advocate, and lead their colleagues in the resources below.
There Is A Difference Between Conversational And Academic Language Fluency In Everyday Conversation Is Not Sufficient To Ensure Access To Academic Texts And Tasks
The language used in everyday communication is distinct from the language used in classroom discourse. It is all too easy to misinterpret a students ability to communicate with classmates on the playground or in the lunchroomthat is, a students facility with conversational Englishas an ability to understand English in any setting, whether in chemistry labs or historical debates.
Teachers should do the following
- Provide explicit instruction in the use of academic language
- Provide multifaceted and intensive vocabulary instruction with a focus on academically useful words
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Nothing Is Set In Stone
Your lesson plan may be perfect. It may be a beautiful piece of art and you may feel you have this all under control. But often some of us will stand there with deadpan faces staring back at us. Do not fret if things arent going according to your plan. Every lesson is a solution to a problem. Find out what the problem is and youll have the solution right in your hands, beginning with the needs of your learners will help you to understand and help you to help them to understand. More often than not, your class of adult learners will comprise students of different levels and ability. Starting with a lead-in to arouse awareness and interest in the subject helps to ease the tension and add more flow as you ease into your stages mapped out in your lesson plan. But how do you find out your students needs? This is where the next tip comes in handy.
Innovative Strategies For Teaching English Language Learners
If youve ever tried to master another language, you know just how challenging it can be. Perhaps youve ordered a meal at a restaurant and felt your face flush as you fumble over a simple phrase, sighing in relief when the server nods and doesnt ask a follow-up question.
Now imagine feeling like this all day, Monday through Friday, while trying to adapt to a new culture, make friends and learn the fundamentals of science, math, social studies, art and literature. This is the reality for millions of K12 English language learners in the United States.
According to the National Education Association, ELL students will make up about 25 percent of the children in American classrooms by 2025. Teachers are tasked with helping these students develop English proficiency and meet the grade-level content requirements, in addition to all their other duties. Thankfully, there are many practical strategies for teaching English language learners that benefit the entire class.
To help you enhance your lessons, we created this guide based on a recent webinar presented by Dr. Nicole Schneider, associate professor at UMass Global. Keep reading to learn how to tailor instruction and ensure accessibility for English as a Second Language scholars.
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How Has Ell Evolved Over Time
ELL emerged as an alternative to ESL thanks to the inconsistencies associated with English as only a second language. For many students, English is a third or fourth language at home, making ESL an incorrect term. It made more sense to replace ESL with ELL to accurately describe someone new to the English language.ELL also refers to students who must learn English to take part in academic programs abroad. College-age exchange students might travel to English-speaking countries for a year or longer. It makes sense for them to learn English to prepare for their new school adventure.
How To Become An Effective Esl Teacher
Most teachers know that explaining even the most basic rules to non-native English speakers, regardless of whether they’re attending an elementary school or secondary education, is different from teaching those who live in an English speaking country.
Here are several essential things you should possess in order to become one of the best language teachers for your future students, whether they are children or adult learners:
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Language And Literacy Instruction
- Common Core Writing and ELLs: Learn about what it means to apply three key elements of the CCSS writing standardsargument, informative/explanatory, and narrativewhen teaching English-language learners.
- Collaborative Writing, Common Core, and ELLs: Get students to work collaboratively on narratives developing experiences, events, or characters.
- Peer Review, Common Core, and ELLs: Use simple peer review activities that are kind, specific, and helpful to assist students in improving their writing and learning about writing.
- Teaching Syllables Can Mask Meaningful Morphemes: Help beginning readers grasp the difference between written and spoken language by starting with the meaning of the words rather than their syllabic breakdown.
- English-Language Learners and Academic Language: Learn about academic language proficiency, and find some activities that can help teach academic language.
- 8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language: Understand how academic language differs from social language, and discover eight specific strategies for teaching the vocabulary that students require to succeed in the Common Core and on the SAT.
Speak Slowly And Enunciate Words
Slow down! Youre going to want to reduce your talking speed so that everyone in the class has a chance to hear every word you say.
A lot of language learners will agree that fluent speakers speak too fast. It can be hard to understand the whole message when you didnt catch all of it.
Try to be mindful of the speed of your voice. And try to speak as clearly as possible by enunciating your voice.
Speak louder than you usually would.
Its really important that your students can learn how to pronounce vocabulary and hear all the nuances of a word.
Help Your English Language Learners Set Goals
A great way to keep language learners motivated is with short- and long-term goals. Whether the goal is to read an English novel by the end of the year or acing an exam on English language skills, you need to encourage all your students to set targets for themselves to help them keep track of their progress. Once youre aware of their goals, it can also help you create appropriate activities and lessons centered around their goals, making the learning process more exciting and engaging for your students.
Use Effective Language Strategies For Newcomers
I frequently use the following strategies with my students to build their vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and strengthen the use of their receptive and expressive language skills.
Choral repetition: This is a technique whereby the teacher models reading fluency, pace, and pronunciation. Choral repetition creates a low affective filter or safe low-risk environment where newcomers can participate in whole-class reading.
Wait time: Newcomers need time to translate the question theyre given, think about a response, translate the answer into English, and then verbalize the response. I like to silently count to 15 seconds when I ask one-word-or-longer phrased questions based on vocabulary or to check my students understanding. If I notice that more time or clarification is needed, then I begin to repeat or sometimes rephrase the question to assist my students. Usually activities with text-based or inferential questions require the use of a timer for seven minutes or more, depending on the length or complexity of the activity.
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Use Tech And Peer Support To Help Students Take Risks
This is where technology comes in handy. Newcomers are often uncomfortable with speaking or reading aloud. Our class has enjoyed the use of Flip, Classkick, and Book Creator to record their presentations or answer questions. While technological apps have made it easier for students to create and record their presentations, newcomers may need additional time to work on projects and presentations.
Some students may need an extra class day or an extra week. I use discretion based on my students needs as they strive to complete the assignment and on the demands of the activity itself. The truth is that a tech-friendly environment can help learners take language risks in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
To facilitate collaboration and communication, clock buddies or map buddies is a buddy system where students are paired up to support newcomers by translating for teachers or helping them to acclimate to their new school environment. Whether its a buddy or small group collaboration, these interpersonal activities equip newcomers to decipher language and content. Online translators, dictionaries, and visual dictionaries allow students to access the definition, image, and pronunciation of words in the target language. Students can also create their own glossaries using Quizlet.
Some Ways To Implement Routine And Structure In The Classroom:
- Have a regular morning process for attendance, lunch count, morning announcements, and other daily items.
- Keep classroom materials and supplies such as pencils, paper, and glue in the same location, such as on a table in the corner of the room.
- Have a clear process for transitions, such as when going to the library or to lunch. For example, all students push their chairs in, line up by the door and wait for you to lead them.
- Ensure that class rules and expectations are clear and enforced from the beginning of the school year.
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Teaching English Language Learners
Across the country, teachers and other educators share the exciting but sometimes difficult challenge of teaching English, literacy skills, and academic content to a growing number of English language learners .
This is a rich section filled with strategies, ideas, recommendations, resources, videos, and news from the ELL field. Resources are organized by the topics below and additional Resources by Grade are also available in our ELL Basics section.