Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ni Hao from China

Hello, my name is Jessica Caldwell. I am a teacher at an international school in China. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher, and I am constantly looking for new and interesting ways to teach my students. This is my first year teaching, but my third time teaching in China. I have taught two ESL summer workshops. Now I teach science, drama and English to middle and high-school students. Trying to get past being a student and now being a teacher has been daunting. I have a lot of growing to do, but I am determined to always do my best for my students. I hope that I can share some of my experiences and resources with you here on Global Teacher Connect. Today I would like to share with you three tips for teaching ELL students.

A Group of my Middle School ELL Students Reading to 2nd Grade

One of my Middle-School ELL Students Teaching 5th Grade

 I have taught ELL students for the past eight months. I have had my ups and downs, epic failures and moments of awesomeness. Here are some quick tips that I have gathered on my journey teaching so far:

 1. Speak Slowly - Lets face it we all have our own unique way of speaking -At the beginning of a class or when you get new ELL students train yourself to speak slowly. This will help students learn the pattern of your voice and your mannerisms. It may seem like a hassle at first, but it will help you tremendously in the long run.

 2. Mistakes are Okay - The class erupting into laughter as a student sounds out a word is the last thing I want to happen in my class. I try to create a classroom atmosphere where it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. I would not have learned half as much if I were a perfect person/teacher. Students need to understand that. I would suggest pushing this at the beginning of the year as it is much harder, though not impossible, to do this later.

 3. Know Your Grammar - I cannot tell you how often students come up to me with grammar questions. It is very important to know grammar in my school so that I can help students as they study English Language Arts and ESL. Chances are if you don't know your grammar your students will (just food for thought). 

***Another Tip for Grammar - Choose your top ten grammar rules to focus on this year. There are hundreds of grammar rules and everyone has their pet peeves. Sometimes students get bogged down by all the rules. Make it easier for them and focus on your top ten. It will be better for students in the long run to know ten grammar rules well, than to not understand any.

 So there you have it three tips for the ELL classroom. I hope that they do not seem redundant and that they help you in your classroom! Do you have any tips for teaching ELL students? Please share them in the comments section below!

 Have a great week :)

 Jessi C. ~ Visit me at Life on the Fourth Floor
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