Whether you are teaching overseas or here in North America, your classroom will be filled with a variety of students, including ESL students that come from a variety of cultures, learning styles, educational backgrounds, and language skills.
Since ESL students are the fastest-growing student population, it’s important that teachers know how to accommodate these students within regular education classrooms.
Methods to Help ESL Students in the Classroom
1. SIOP Techniques:
Sheltered English instruction helps ESL students to comprehend and participate in as much classroom learning as possible. When you speak to your ESL students, speak slowly and clearly, and repeat instructions several times to ensure comprehension.
Use simple sentence structure, support your instruction with visual references and physical gestures, and check for understanding often. It is imperative to differentiate your teaching to meet the needs of all learners.
Provide lots of opportunities for your students to read aloud. This is an excellent way to blend auditory, oral and reading skills. It will assistant your ESL students to become more comfortable speaking English in front of their peers.
3. Teach by Doing:
Model your lessons for your ESL students before having them complete the activities. This way, they will feel more comfortable with what you are asking them to do, and there will be less confusion.
4. Consistent Homework:
Since the majority of ESL students go home to a household that doesn’t speak English, providing students with regular homework allows them to continue to use and practice English while at home.
5. Multicultural Lessons:
Make your ESL students feel like they belong and pique their interest by making creative lessons incorporate their personal experiences and backgrounds. This will help them to become more interested and passionate about learning English words and phrases because it will assist them to communicate about the things critical to them in their lives.
Not only will these lessons help make students feel included and appreciated it will assist students to connect with their peers and learn about other cultures.
6. Oral Communication:
Even though reading and writing are both important skills, forcing your ESL students to speak as much as possible helps to ingrain the sound and feel of the language in your students’ minds. It is crucial that students develop a level of comfort with speaking English in front of others. This will ultimately determine their level of success.
7. Cooperative Learning /Group Work:
Learning a new language and communicating in English becomes more fun and natural when students can work through it together. Learning a language along is much more difficult. Cooperative learning groups allow students to learn from one another and have fun.
Heterogeneous and homogeneous grouping are and their benefits in the classroom
8. Teach Keywords:
School and learning, and especially certain subject areas have their own specific vocabularies. It’s essential ESL students learn these words as soon as possible.
Providing the students with flash cards with corresponding pictures of each word can motivate and help them learn these words quickly. Words such as bathroom, student, teacher, math, addition, subtraction, recess, bell, cafeteria, are essential for getting through a school day. It’s important ESL students know how to ask for things.
9. Use Peer Partner Learning:
Not only is it critical your students can rely on a responsible and trustworthy student to accomany them throughout classroom routines and with completing various assignments.
It’s necessary they have a buddy to help them navigate the school and various schedules of the learning community. When your ESL student is brand new, they will need assistance locating certain things, like the cafeteria, buses, classrooms, etc.
10. Opportunities for Success:
Lastly, your ESL students are probably overwhelmed with all the changes and will easily become discouraged with how difficult some tasks are in a new language. Provide students with opportunities to shine and increase confidence.
Focus on subject areas where language is not front and center – like physical education, drama, art, or music, and let them show off a skill or talent. This can extend to all subjects as well by making sure to acknowledge their small hurdles with learning and using English.