Teaching the English Language Learner

June 01, 2019

teen photoTeaching the English language learner is challenging but also very rewarding.  Teaching middle schoolers requires patience and a sense of purpose.

Here are some tips for teaching ELL to kids grades from 6 to 8th:

1. Involve Kids in an hands-on Activities. Kid’s minds are incredibly open and they learn by absorbing ideas and concepts directly. Children need to be actively involved. Get students up and out of their chairs and moving around. Sing songs, and play games.

2. Avoid talking for long periods of time. I find that the energy level of the classroom drops lower and lower. Explain an activity quickly and then go to it. Keep the energy moving! If your planned activity is a flop, move on. Keep a few extra activities handy for this purpose. Kids need lots of stimulation all the time.

3. Kids learn by interacting with each other and with the teacher. Try to talk to each child individually each class with visual flashcards. Whenever possible, have children working in groups and in pairs.

4. Review, Review, Review your flashcards. New information is absorbed and has meaning when it is related to information students have already learned. Quickly review new concepts at the beginning of each session.

5. Encourage students to correct themselves and other students. Self correction or self-regulation is an important part of learning. Students should be encouraged to ask, “How am I doing?” and “Am I doing this right?” in an open and non-judgmental environment. Kids raised in authoritative cultures may need additional re-inforcement.

6. Use what is learned in different contexts. The more contexts used the better, and the more concrete and ‘real life’ the contexts the better. Make it real for students by talking about them and their lives.

7. Praise, Praise, Praise. Encourage and build students up in a natural way. Learning occurs when students are motivated and feel good about themselves.

Looking back on my years of teaching, the kid’s classes took a bit of getting used to, but were the most memorable and fun!

English language learners are a diverse group of students, with different language, academic, and social-emotional needs.  Students who speak the same language or have similar levels of language proficiency may need very different kinds of support to succeed in the classroom. Source

Visual Brand Learning provides support for middle-school students who face the challenge of simultaneously mastering a new language and meeting rigorous educational standards. We understand that it’s the vocabulary—not the academic concepts—that many ELL students struggle with. Download your free flashcard.