Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick and Easy Tips To Make Your ESOL Students Love You: Part Two

Do you teach ESOL students in a mainstream setting?  Are you an ESOL teacher looking for tools to add to your teacher tookit?  Here is the second installment in my series Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your ESOL Students Love You.

We Are Family: Family is a central part of my students' lives.  As families work together to make it in America, my students keep the family intact by taking on roles such as caretaker, cook, and translator. Chances are, your students come from similar situations and you can use this experience as an asset and recreate the family environment in your classroom.  This starts with you being the firm and guiding head of the class while the students take on various roles to keep the class functioning (homework collector, record keeper, book captain, etc.).  The theme of family combined with a warm and nurturing learning environment will turn your classroom into a home away from home.

Don't Take it Personal: ESOL students come from around the world.  In some cases what is acceptable in their country is unacceptable in the United States.  This extends to ideas about race, gender, and religion.  If a student says or does something that you deem to be inappropriate, be willing to step back and talk it out with him rather than immediately react.  You may just be able to turn it into a valuable learning opportunity.

Always Have a Learning Opportunity: Depending on the proficiency level of your ESOL students, adjustments will have to be made to your lesson in order to be inclusive.  Try to find resources that will make your content accessible to ESOL students.  This could mean providing a video or leveled reading assignment that explains the content in simpler English.  It could also mean providing a set of visual aids or a computer/student generate simulation.  Carol Tomlinson from the University of Virginia is an expert on differentiation.  Check out her website for more ideas:

Allow Equal Opportunity to Demonstrate Mastery: Chances are your ESOL students are soaking up your content thanks to your differentiated lessons.  Depending on your students' proficiency level, it may be difficult for them to demonstrate this mastery through reading and writing.  Consider assigning project based assessments with choices that cover a variety of proficiency levels.  Project ideas include drawing, re-enacting, and completing CLOZE sentences.

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