Teaching and learning a second or foreign language is much like teaching in the general education classroom. ESL classrooms need structure, nurturing, and sufficient instructional strategies. With such diversity among adolescent ELs, it is important for teachers to learn as much as possible about their students’ background, prior knowledge, and experiences, and to have knowledge of strategies that directly address the needs of their students. Instructors need to build relationships of trust with their students and their families. Also, teachers need to establish predictable classroom routines and procedures. Students can put their focus on content and activities when they know what to ...view middle of the document...
Teachers should not tell students what to do and expect them to automatically do it.
When considering rate of speech and wait time, ELL instructors need to speak slowly and clearly and provide students with enough time to formulate their responses, whether in speaking or writing. Teachers should wait up to 5 seconds before calling on someone to respond to a prompt. The wait time provides all students with an opportunity to think and process the information. Extra time is needed to formulate a response because students still have to translate the initial message into their native language and answer back in their target language. Teachers need to remember that ELs are thinking and producing in two or more languages when perceiving new information.
Several nonlinguistic cues need to be considered with teaching ELL. Teaching with visual representation can be greatly helpful for second language acquisition. ELL instructors should use pictures, sketches, graphic organizers, and realia, in order to activate prior knowledge and experiences. Also, teachers should instruct using several gestures, facial expression, and intonation to make both language and content more accessible to students. Educators should not stand in front of the class and solely lecture the entire time or rely on the textbook as the visual aid.
Teachers should regularly assess student knowledge in the classroom. When teachers check for understanding, students become increasingly aware of monitoring their own understanding, which acts as a model for good study skills. It also helps ensure that students are learning, thinking, understanding, comprehending, and processing at high levels (CITEp. 11- 34). For example, after an explanation, a teacher could have students put thumbs up, thumbs down, or sideways to demonstrate if the objective is clear or they can have students quickly answer on a sticky note and place it on their desk so the teacher and circulate to check the responses. Teachers’ should not simply ask, “Are there any questions?” or assume that students understand because they smile and nod their heads, sometimes they are being polite. These are not effective ways to assess student knowledge.
Teachers should encourage students to continue building their literacy skills in their L1. Research has discovered that learning to read in the home language promotes reading achievement in the L2 as “transfer” occurs. Transfers may include phonological awareness, comprehension skills, and background knowledge (CITE p. 12- 36). However, the use of transfers does not mean that we should not encourage the use of English inside and outside the classroom. Teachers should validate students’ primary language and encourage them to continue reading and writing in their L1 and not “ban” or “forbid” students’ use of their native language in the classroom.
Besides establishing routines, and building positive relationships, the use of effective resources is vital the ELL learning...