ESL – Teacher Resources

Facilitating Language Acquisition in the Classroom

Create an environment that facilitates language learning.

  •  Actively engage students in challenging learning activities.
  •  Use interactive activities so ELL students talk with their peers and use academic English.
  •  Use concrete, hands-on activities (and language) before more abstract (and language) activities.
  •  Create and atmosphere in which ELL students feel safe in taking risks with both English and content.

 Adjust teacher talk to increase comprehensibility.

  •  Face the students.
  •  Pause frequently.
  •  Paraphrase often.
  • Clearly indicate the most important ideas and vocabulary through intonation or writing on the blackboard.
  • Avoid “asides”.
  • Avoid or clarify pronouns.
  • Use shorter sentences.
  •  Use subject-verb-object word order.
  •   Increase wait time for students to answer.
  • Focus on the student’s meaning, not grammar.
  • Avoid interpreting on a regular basis.

  Support or scaffold ELL student language development

  • Ask questions in simplified language.
  • Establish a pattern in the questions.
  • Ask for elaboration, “Tell me more about…”.
  •  Be a good listener (eye contact, non-verbal support, plenty of time).
  •  Provide encouragement to continue “Uh-huh.  Really?  What happened then?”.
  • Provide difficult words.
  • Ask for clarification, “I’m not sure I understand.  Can you say it again?”.
  •  Paraphrase what the student said.
  • Interaction is high.