4 Tips for Teaching English Language Learners


4 TIPS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSTeachers are great communicators. Indeed the acts of conveying, explaining, and defining concepts are critical to an educator’s success. However, when teachers encounter English Language Learners (ELL) in the classroom, it can sometimes be difficult to bridge the language gap. Fortunately, teachers in such a situation can still effectively reach and instruct ELL students by utilizing proven strategies. Make sure to check out these four tips that will help you and your ELL students stay on the same page:

Use All Five Senses

Human beings take in information in a variety of ways. And the good news for teachers of ELL students is that the spoken word is just one of a variety of ways in which we communicate with each other. (One should never underestimate the power of nonverbal cues.) While it’s definitely important to focus on vocabulary terms, teachers should work to incorporate visuals –– especially physical props –– to augment any lectures in their lesson plans. This will help ELL students connect complex concepts to familiar, everyday items.

Speak Slowly and Clearly

If you’ve ever attempted to learn a new language, you’ll know the value of the phrase, “could you please slow down?” Teachers should take extra time to enunciate clearly and deliberately for their ELL students. What’s more, innovative tools like the Qball microphone will increase the sound quality in the classroom and cut down on miscommunication. Lastly, if an ELL student asks you to go over something again, make sure to rephrase your point. Simply restating what you’ve already said before is unlikely to resonate with a student grappling with the language.

Encourage Participation –– In Any Language

Students who are in the process of learning a new language will often clam up and refuse to speak or participate in certain situations. Don’t push your students when they feel uncomfortable. Rather, look for ways to get them excited or active in a learning activity –– even if they have to revert to their native language occasionally. It’s better for them to write something in their native language, for instance, than to refuse to complete an assignment at all. Note also that it’s okay to allow multiple ELL students to pair up from time to time in order to complete a project.

Work Ahead

Trying to learn a new language while adapting to a new culture is about as difficult a task as any student can face. The last thing ELL students need to deal with are curveballs and learning barriers in the classroom. If at all possible, work ahead with your ELL students and set reasonable expectations for them. Plus, sticking to an established routine in class will also assist your ELL students in forming expectations for your lessons.  

The Bottom Line

When it comes to teaching ELL students, attitude counts much more than experience or knowledge of a foreign language or culture. Students can tell when you make an effort, and they’ll appreciate it when you go the extra mile for them –– even if they don’t say anything. Maintain a positive mind frame and constantly encourage your class to engage with the material. Remember also that the Qball can help you achieve this and solve a myriad of classroom conundrums at the same time! This fun, throwable microphone is a great way to grab –– and hold –– your students’ attention time and again. So don’t wait –– buy your Qball today!

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