Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tips for Teaching English Language Learners Successfully

Let's hear from Dorit Sasson, my guest blogger. As a teacher of ELLs, I know how challenging it is to keep the learning continuum at a high and discipline problems at a low. But still how is this all possible if students can’t read and understand the lesson? Or how is possible to meet each student’s needs when they are not catching up with their native English speaking peers? Just how is it possible to correctly assess students’ needs so that lessons match their learning styles and needs?

This work begins with the 97 tips which you’ll find in my electronic booklet or ebooklet, “Yes! You Can Teach K-12 English language learners Successfully” on how to teach ELLs more effectively. Here, you’ll find bite-sized tips for a bite-sized price on differentiated instruction, teaching vocabulary, improving reading comprehension and lessons and oral instruction among others. click here to purchase the book: Following you'll find just 10 of the many tips you can find in my book.

1. Provide ELLs with opportunities to work
individually that allow them to progress at
their own pace. In a regular day to day lesson,
you can say to your class: “Do as much of question
5 as you can in 10 minutes,” or “Choose
which question you want to start with.”

2. Help English language learners master
the spelling and the vocabulary of different
lexical items by grouping words according
to their learning abilities (i.e., lower, middle, and
higher performing groups). You might also give
ELLs two lists of words: one required and one

3. Consider the needs of primary school
children when planning differentiated
lessons. Use small groups for short, focused instruction
when there is a small group of students
who struggle with an alphabet letter or sound.

4. Group children based on a book choice
that supports a theme. If the theme is survival,
for instance, each group of children would
read a different book that shares this theme.

5. Plan every lesson to include three parts:
a great beginning, an engaging middle,
and a satisfying ending. Planning reading lessons
strategically engages ELLs right away and, as a
result, fewer discipline problems occur.

6. Provide students with real-life learning
experiences that are connected to learning
both in and out of the classroom. Turn a dull
textbook subject into an active learning experience
that also relates to a real-life situation. Students
love the subject of “money.”

7. Pre-teach vocabulary using the student’s
native language if possible. Using an
ELL’s mother tongue is one way to integrate ELLs
in the general education classroom.

8. Check work regularly. Build on students’
lack of understanding to re-explain and
re-teach certain learning concepts.

9. Break complex content into manageable
portions or steps. Keep it simple with
small amounts of information and directions presented
at a reasonable pace to succeed.

10. Create simple systems like a “buddy system”
where an ELL is paired with a native
English speaking student. This eases isolation
and helps an English language learner adjust to
his/her new classroom.

To get more great tips from Dorit visit her websites:

Kathy's websites:
Moving Through all Seven Days link:
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Mayra Calvani said...

These are wonderful tips, Kathy. I'm enjoying reading your blog!

kathy stemke said...

Thanks, Mayra.