English Language Learners (ELL’s) need support adjusting to an English classroom. As teachers, it’s our responsibility (and passion) to differentiate instruction and provide appropriate accommodations so these ESL students can experience success and feel good about themselves and their learning.
Your first priority is to make sure the student feels a sense of belonging to the classroom community you’ve created, and is not afraid. Learning will happen if the student feels welcomed, and then if lessons are differentiated to allow them to participate according to their abilities.
Here is a quick checklist of ways to accommodate an ELL in the classroom:
- Represent their culture in the classroom
- Give them time just to get familiar and comfortable with the class, school, and new peers.
- Print clearly and simply – avoid cursive writing and small text.
- Support words and instructions – use images and visuals such as graphic organizers, pictures, and flow charts.
- Monitor your own talking – speak clearly, avoid slang and idiomatic expressions.
- Cue the student – create specific cues and rhythms for the classroom so they know what to expect during transitions.
- Check for comprehension – use gestures, smiles, props, and one-word answers. Avoid “do you understand?”
- Give extra time for tasks and assignments
- Diversify assessment strategies – write, say, and do.
- Word Walls with key vocabulary they need across all subjects
Teaching ESL students is an enriching experience and really helps us develop as teachers. Embrace the opportunity and challenge and enjoy the trip~!