Teachers at Frankfurt International School were asked what advice they would like to give to the ESL students in their classes. Their answers are summarized below.
Ask for help: This was the most common piece of advice. If you don't understand something, ask the teacher. A good time to do this is when the students are working alone or in groups. Most teachers will be happy to help you after class, at break or lunch. But you must ask!
Help your teacher: If the teacher asks you a question and you make no response, then the teacher does not know how to help you. You must help the teacher to help you. This means that you should learn and use the following replies, instead of saying nothing:
I didn't hear the question.
I didn't understand the question.
I don't know the answer (but I understood the question).
I don't know to say the answer in English (but I could in my language).
Bring your dictionary to class: Your teacher will usually try to explain new words in English, but sometimes it will be quicker for you to look up their meanings in your dictionary.
Pay attention: Your teachers know how hard it is to understand what they are saying, but they would like you to keep listening. Wait until they have stopped talking before asking your friend to explain in your language.
Understand the homework: This seems obvious, but many ESL students leave the classroom without understanding exactly what the teacher wants them to do at home. If you don't understand what to do, ask the teacher to explain again.
Know when to stop: Of course, you will need longer to do your homework than a native speaker, but your teachers do not expect you to work several hours every evening. If you have worked for 2 hours on an assignment and have not finished, then you should stop. Ask your subject teacher for an extension, and ask your ESL teacher for help.
Ask for help: Yes, this is so important that it is repeated here! Soon you yourself will be helping newer ESL students with their work. But until you are able to do this, please tell your teachers when you do not understand or cannot do something.