Teaching students who have a limited understanding of the English language can be a daunting task. Since ESL students speak a different language at home, some of them do not know the meanings of simple English words and phrases, and it can be difficult for teachers to communicate with them. Nevertheless, teachers can exercise more patience and try to find the right ways to help to their students become more proficient in the language. Here are a number of effective strategies for teaching ESL.
Understand the Individual Needs of Students
In an ESL classroom, English language proficiency and academic experience among students can vary greatly. In order to help every student improve, teachers have to understand every individual student's level of language proficiency and educational history. The best way to make lessons comprehensible to all students is to replace difficult texts with simpler terms. They should not use oversimplified vocabulary because some students may find this insulting. It is important for ESL teachers to establish a more personal relationship with every student and their family. Simple actions such as pronouncing the students'names correctly and showing interest in their cultures will go a long way in giving students a more pleasant learning experience.
Make Sure that Students Know What is Going On in Class
Some ESL students do not have sufficient knowledge of the English language to understand the instructions that are provided by their teachers. As such, they may not know exactly what is going on in their classes. Teachers have to encourage their students to ask for clarification when they do not understand certain instructions. During the course of a lesson, they have to let their students know which points are important and give them more time to ask questions. At the end of the lesson, they should ask the students to write down all the things that they have learned and aspects of the lesson that they are unsure of. Then, they can use the information to provide better clarification at the beginning of the next lesson.
Help Students Speak English More Comprehensibly
There is no need for ESL teachers to eliminate accents when they are teaching their students to pronounce English words. The important thing is to teach them to speak comprehensibly. Teachers should speak clearly and repeat words that are difficult to pronounce, and they can help their students learn how individual sounds are produced by showing the right positions and movements of tongue and lips. Students should be encouraged to speak slowly, so that their pronunciation will be clearer and more accurate.
Encourage Students to Speak English Outside Class
To help ESL students make better progress, teachers should encourage them to converse more frequently with native English speakers. Also, they can ask their students to speak more English at home or take part in activities that require them to speak or read English.