Six Secrets behind Teaching English-Language Learners
- May 16, 2014
English language learners are a large and growing population in Thailand. If your classroom has become linguistically diverse, you certainly need to implement a few important strategies to support English language learners. However, one difficulty that the majority of the teachers consistently discuss is that English – language learners (ELL) lack the basic literacy skills required to grasp the content. Nevertheless, with a minimum of instructional delivery modifications, ELLs can and will grow in their abilities to communicate in English.
To successfully assist ELLs in learning both the content concepts and English instantaneously, educator need to view themselves as language teachers.Here are some of the important strategies teachers can implement to support ELLs in general education classrooms.
Address the language needs of every student
It is important to address the individual and diverse needs of ELLs in both academic skills and English language acquisition. You need to understand who your students are, their backgrounds and educational experiences. Whether your students are literate or not in their native language, will provide you with a better understanding of their educational requirements and ways to support them.
Encourage the development of language and vocabulary
You can introduce new concepts by discussing vocabulary words important to the concept. Connect the student-accessible synonymous and concepts to these important vocabulary. Encourage the students so that they are able to distinguish word meanings and their uses for subject-specific tasks and essential language skills. You should also encourage students in using basic sentence construction, phrases and social vocabulary. As the students shows sign of progress, contextualize instruction of more intricatelanguage forms and uses. Start using subject-specific grammatical forms, sentence structures and academic vocabulary in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Implement guided interaction
This method enable teachers structure the lessons so that students can work together to understand what they read by listening, speaking, reading and writing collaboratively about the concepts of the text. You can structure several opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction as they learn content and develop the use of language in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Also set expectations, procedures and outcomes related to group activities and allow for primary language interactions in order to explain any concepts. You may also use graphic organizers or other types of modelling for supporting language interaction. The use of various visual aids including charts, diagrams, pictures help ELL students easily recognize important information and its relation supporting the concepts.
Use metacognition and authentic assessment method
Memorizing information is a poor way to learn a language. Teachers can make use of models and teach thinking skills, which is referred to as metacognition, key to learning new concepts. Metacognition is recognized as a skill for learning a second language used by highly proficient readers of any language. The process of metacognition includes pre-reading and pre-writing skills, word analysis and techniques to monitor their reading comprehension.
Authentic assessment method is used by teachers to use varieties of activities in order to learn students’ understanding. They also acknowledge that students’ learning a second language requires different ways to explain their understanding of the concepts that are not totally dependent on advanced language skills. You must ensure that the assessment tasks are suitable to students’ assessed language development level and there is sufficient time to complete the tasks. As a teacher you must provide appropriate feedbacks and guide students’ self-assessment.
Make use of explicit teaching technique
Explicit teaching or direct teaching of concepts, reading comprehension,and academic language strategy is required to complete classroom activities. Teach them the grade-level concepts and accordingly build the students’ background knowledge. You need to explicitly teach academic language and cognitive reading skills including analyze, interpret, compare, classify, synthesize or solve required to complete subject-specific tasks.
Use universal themes and meaning-based context
Take something meaningful for the students’ everyday lives and use it in academic concepts. Research shows that students’ often find things interesting when that can connect to their lives and cultural background. This strategy highly motivates them and they can learn at a better rate. You can start introducing new concepts through the use of familiar resources, visuals, themes and prompts. Motivate them to learn challenging concepts by linking ideas to contexts and resources that mirrors students’ interests and sociocultural or linguistic background.
It is believed that students’ language development and subject knowledge is highly influenced by teachers and administrators, who support to equip students’ with academic language skills, understanding of subject-matter concepts and culturally responsive resources for learning.
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