We strive to teach to each child’s heart, strength, passion, and interest. Our aim is to meet them where they are and help them progress to the next level. So, how do we best help those who enter our classrooms at a level of English lower than their peers?
The last issue of Educational Leadership addresses the many of the challenges of teaching English Language Learners and offers many strategies. I especially appreciate that many of the authors see the benefits of how honing your teaching practice to help meet the needs of English Language Learners often will help the rest of the students in your classroom. The diversity of our students enriches our classrooms!
For some great tips, check out this article by Jennifer Gonzalez. Even the most trained and seasoned teacher might find some of her suggestions helpful. Jennifer explains a bit of the development of second language acquisition and what you should expect as your students develop their academic and conversational language skills.
As our population of English Language Learners grows, it is more crucial than ever that teachers and staff support all of our students. Learning (and thinking!) takes time. All our students will benefit when we speak slowly and give students time to think after we pose questions.
Students are best served when their teachers are aware of what they already know and can build on that prior knowledge. Using visuals and kinesthetic activities will help students to solidify their understanding. Having students work together and collaborate is another great strategy.
College Credit Connection offers many great courses to help educators meet the needs of English Language Learners. Here are a few of our highly recommended graduate-level professional development classes:
How do you help create a welcome classroom to support English Language Learners? Leave a comment below!