Even though you may not be an English teacher, we are all responsible for supporting students’ language acquisition and literacy. Here are some ways you can do this in your classroom:
Pre-teach vocabulary at the start of the lesson or set as homework to reinforce understanding. Fill in the blank, Cloze exercises, matching vocab to pictures or definitions will help students understand the content of your lesson if they know what you’re talking about.
When working with ESL students in the classroom, provide visuals or demonstrations to assist with learning. If you’re explaining cloud formations – why not include a picture to help students see what you’re trying to describe?
ESL students also benefit from speaking to their peers about their ideas and will often think in their first language before committing ideas to pen and paper (commonly referred to as Think Pair Share). Allow opportunities for discussion to support these students in your classroom.
Model writing to students so they can see what you expect of them for your assignment. This can be done on the board during the lesson or through a previous student response. Build up the writing by slowly including each part – this scaffold will show students how to structure their work and what you expect them to create.
Use writing frames and sentence starters to support struggling students. Teaching students key words, conjunctions and prepositional phrases will also help them to connect and develop their ideas further.