10 Things Mainstream Teachers Can Do Today to Help ELLs Succeed

The following list of tips offers ideas that can help English language learners participate and communicate successfully in the classroom. It is adapted from Help! They Don't Speak English Starter Kit for Primary Teachers and from Integrating Language and Content Instruction: Strategies and Techniques.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Sometimes a slight change in teaching style or classroom organization can make a big difference for an ELL student. And of course, what's good for ELLs is often good for all students! This list provides ten tips that teachers can implement in the classroom to help reach all learners.

  1. Enunciate clearly, but do not raise your voice. Add gestures, point directly to objects, or draw pictures when appropriate.
  2. Write clearly, legibly, and in print-many ELL students have difficulty reading cursive.
  3. Develop and maintain routines. Use clear and consistent signals for classroom instructions.
  4. Repeat information and review frequently. If a student doesn't understand, try rephrasing or paraphrasing in shorter sentences and simpler syntax. Check often for understanding, but don't ask, "Do you understand?" Instead, have students demonstrate their learning in order to show comprehension.
  5. Try to avoid idioms and slang words.
  6. Present new information in the context of known information.
  7. Announce the lesson's objectives and activities, and list instructions step by step.
  8. Present information in a variety of ways.
  9. Provide frequent summations of the salient points of a lesson, and always emphasize key vocabulary words.
  10. Recognize student success overtly and frequently. But, also be aware that in some cultures, overt individual praise is considered inappropriate and can therefore be embarrassing or confusing to the student.

Citations

These tips were adapted from Help! They Don't Speak English Starter Kit for Primary Teachers and from Integrating Language and Content Instruction: Strategies and Techniques.

Northwest Education, 11(3), Spring 2006.

Reprints

For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.

Share My Lesson. For teachers, by teachers.

National Education Association. How Educators Can Advocate for English Language Learners.

Comments

how can u pass esl

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.