Strategies To Support ELLs
What little things we can do to support English language learners in our regular classrooms.
Teachers can do a lot to help their students understand the spoken English they use in class. Here are 10 strategies you can immediately use in your classroom teaching to support student understanding.
1. Wait Time. Students need time to process a second language. Pause after asking a question or issuing a statement or instructions. Even count to 5 so students have time to think and comprehend.
2. Comprehensible Input. Filter and adjust your language to the level of your students to help them understand and acquire the language.
3. Speaking Speed. Slow down your classroom speech by pausing at length between thoughts and sentences. Don't speak slower and use "unnatural" English and what is often referred to as "teacher talk."
4. Non-Verbal Communication. Teachers help provide context and support the understanding of spoken English with body language, especially facial expressions. Read more about pragmatics.
5. Writing. Support your instructions and speech with written text, either on the board or on paper. Students can refer to this during or after and it will help them to understand.
6. Student Strategies. Teach students strategies for requesting clarification or getting help when they struggle to understand classroom English, for example having them take notes for review, reference a dictionary or supplemental aide, or get help from a classmate.
7. Visual Support. Whenever possible provide images and diagrams that will support the English spoken in the class.
8. Comprehension Checks. Check students often for their understanding. Don't just ask, "Do you understand?" or "Are you with me?" Rather, get students to repeat the language they heard or summarize what was said.
9. Repetition. Use the same set phrases and language cues during instruction, so students can understand them quickly and focus on classroom language related to content.
10. Affective Factors. Keep the classroom atmosphere "light." Laugh at mistakes, encourage risk-taking and the spontaneous use of language. Treat students well, be kind, and promote classroom atmosphere and team playing. Get students helping each other - teachers don’t have to do all the work!
This Edutopia video offers 4 nice tips for us teachers.