Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summary of Working with ESL Students

Note: I’ve read a book of articles on working with ESL students. What follows is my summary of practical ideas on the topic. RayS.

Question: What have we learned about working with ESL (English as a Second Language) students from this article?

Don’t assume that ESL students are dumb because they are not familiar with the English language.

Native speakers of English are able to relate the printed word to their oral (listening and speaking) language. ESL students may pronounce the words, but they might not be able to relate the words to their oral language.

Communication Skills and Academic Skills: Recognize that fluency in oral communication skills is not the same thing as the academic skills needed in the classroom.

Cognates: Relate cognates in the native language and in English.

Language Experience: Use language experience. Students dictate information; recorded by teacher on chart paper, blackboard, etc. ; students read back what was recorded.

Directed Reading Assignment: Use the directed reading assignment. Check on students’ prior knowledge of the topic; build up prior knowledge of unfamiliar topics with pictures, etc.; pre-teach unfamiliar vocabulary; survey the chapter: read and discuss the title, sub-titles, the first paragraph, the first sentence of each paragraph, the last paragraph, raise questions to answer from the reading selection, read, discuss, apply the information.

Reading Aloud by Teacher: Read a variety of materials aloud to the students.

Learning Strategies: Teach learning strategies directly.

Oral Reading: Don’t focus on pronunciation when students are reading aloud; note the mistakes and deal with them later. Focus on comprehension.

Daily Writing. Corrected 10-minute essays. 10-minues a day. Write on topic of their choice. Teacher corrects at night. Students re-write corrected 10-minute essay. Students do not write complete essay in ten minutes. Stop in mid-sentence at the end of 10 minutes. (Note: This idea is mine, not the authors of the article. RayS.)

Writing process for complete essays: Brainstorm; thesis; draft, including topic sentences for paragraphs, last paragraph, introductory paragraph, revision and editing. (Note: Again, this is my approach to teaching expository writing. RayS.)

Use multiple assessments like tests of oral reading, levels of comprehension, etc.

Comment: I learned right along with my readers. I feel better equipped than before to deal with ESL students, but it won’t be easy. RayS.

Title: “Instructional Approaches and Teaching Procedures.” AU Chamot and JM O’Malley. Pp. 82-107. In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994.

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