What strategies can we use to teach ELL’s in the classroom?

ELL Students in the ClassroomImage result for Ells clipart

You have a new student. He speaks no English. You don’t speak his. Problem? Growing experience? Difficult? Challenging? Possible?

As a teacher, you will come across many different children. Children who have their own personalities, are unique in their own way, and even may not speak the same language as you. And that’s okay. Being the same would be boring. But how can teachers who may not know a lot of Spanish, German, Russian, or any language different than their own teach these students?

Bilingual education in various settings produces a wide variety of outcomes in terms of language proficiency, cultural awareness, and scholastic achievement. It creates diversity and shows that not every child is the same. What better time to be introduced to bilingual education or students then in pre school? In my placement, there are about four students who are bilingual and can speak English and another language. Because of this, it helps the teachers out a lot. For a student who doesn’t speak a lot of English, a bilingual student can talk to and help this student out, sometimes even more than the teacher can. I have experienced the teacher asking a student how to say a work or a phrase so that she is able to talk to each student. This is huge. 

This requires the student to think and be able to use their own language in assisting someone else. But as a teacher, there are so many ways to help these students who are in your classroom. Your students and even yourself, may be uncomfortable at first, but taking it day by day and learning, will have everyone in your classroom learning better.

Making it visual is key. In my classroom, the teacher has every labeled along with a picture. Speaking everything out makes it more difficult for children in the classroom to comprehend. Having visuals, whether pictures, demonstrating, or writing it out improves the learning of those who are not proficient in the common language.

Building in more group work is a great benefit and will go far in the classroom. Sometimes students learn best from each other. This also helps there social skills and is constantly creating new opportunities for them to learn and grow in any language.

Most importantly, learn about the cultural background of all your students. Making them feel at home and secure in the classroom is huge and will go a long way for them. Knowing where your student comes from, literally and physically, will enhance the student-teacher relationship. It will show trust and your willingness to want to know them more.

A classroom is so unique with a variety of different learners. Some days it can be difficult but nonetheless rewarding when a goal is reached. Having ELL’s in the classroom may be challenging, but treating them like everyone else in the classroom is important.

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To find out more:

Rowe, L. W. (2018). Say It in Your Language: Supporting Translanguaging in Multilingual Classes. Reading Teacher72(1), 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1673

12 Ways to Support English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom

Listen to this post as a podcast: A note on terminology: The acronym ESL is used less often now in schools than it used to be, because we recognize that many students who are learning English already speak several other languages, so English would not be a “second” language.

Teaching, Dreaming, Learning – My Gurus!

Everyone in the education field understands one another and pushes one another to become a better educator. Individuals who are in this field understand the pros and cons of teaching, the passion it takes, and commitment it takes as well. People who are not in this field don’t see everything that educators do, nor do they understand the reason behind wanting to educate the future. My professors all through my college career have pushed me to see past the negative and look for the positive and golden moments in teaching. My professors have stretched me and have reassured me over and over again of why I am becoming a teacher. I have run into people and ones who have asked me what I am going to college for. When I tell them to become a teacher, they jump to the usual “Oh so you’re gonna have summers off,” “That’s easy,” or “That doesn’t pay the best.” What they don’t know is that they have missed the whole point. Completely. I am not becoming a teacher to have summers off or to have a job that doesn’t pay the best. I am becoming an educator because I want to change the world and I get to see the future right in front of me. I’m becoming an educator to love on children in my classroom and to make a classroom a safe haven for students and not a chore or challenge for them.

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A person that is so close to my heart is my sister-in-law, a teacher herself. Ashley is someone who stretches me to become the best teacher I can be. She tells me about her hard days and her good days. She doesn’t sugar coat the events that may take place in her classroom or during the school day. Ashley never fails to reassure me that the good days far outweigh the bad. She expresses to me that there will be tough days, even weeks, and perhaps months. Ashely speaks truth and life into me as I am becoming a future teacher. She teaches me about the why of teaching and the how. Every child is different and will need guidance a little differently than their classmates. This is the beauty of teaching because every child is different and unique in their own way. 

Technology is becoming a huge part of the classroom and used to enhance teaching. Technology is creating new ways for children to learn and to differentiate in the classroom. Ashley shares new insights with me that can be used to better teacher students or enhance their learning. She shares new apps or websites that can be used creatively in the classroom.

As I am learning more and more about how to become a teacher, many pedagogies are shaping my path and my own philosophy. Two theories that I resonate the most with are Jean Piagets and John Dewey’s. Jean Piaget believes that they produce knowledge by their experiences. This is more of a “hands on” type of learning. Similarly, Dewey believed that children learn by doing. This means that children must interact with the environment to learn and adapt. I believe that children learn best by moving and not just sitting at a desk all day to be lectured at. By having students get up and move, they are exploring and learning new things.