The table below contains guidelines for mainstream teachers with ESL students in their classes.
| Use clear, normal speech in communicating with ESL
students. Moderate your speed if you are a fast talker. It may be necessary to repeat
yourself or rephrase what you said. Help to shape what the student wants to say. ||Dont use unnatural speech with ESL
students, such as baby talk, shouting or excessively slow talking. Avoid using too many
idioms or colloquialisms. |
| Use non-verbal cues (such as gestures, pictures and
concrete objects) in your teaching to assist comprehension.
|| Dont assume that ESL students always understand what
you are saying or that they are already familiar with school customs and procedures (even
if they act as if they do!)
| Make sure that ESL students are seated where they can see
and hear well. Provide them with maximum access to the instructional and linguistic input
that you are providing. Involve them in some manner in all classroom activities.
|| Dont separate and isolate students away
from the rest of the class - physically or instructionally.
| Fill your classroom environment with print and with
interesting things to talk about and read and write about. Creating a language-rich
environment will allow your ESL students to learn even when you arent directly
|| Dont limit your ESL students
access to authentic, "advanced" materials (like library books or magazines) in
the belief that these materials are too "hard" for them. If materials are
interesting, students at all levels will be able to use them to learn English.
| Keep in mind that the English to which ESL students are
exposed in your classroom is of crucial importance to their language development.
|| Dont treat English as a separate subject
for ESL students to learn only in ESL lessons.
| Encourage ESL students efforts to participate by
celebrating their contributions and searching out opportunities for them to take part
directly in learning activities. But allow for the "silent period" that some
students go through.
|| Dont put ESL students on the spot by
asking them to participate (e.g., give an answer in front of the rest of the class) before
they are ready.
| Correct the content of what they say, if
|| Dont directly correct the grammar or
pronunciation of what they say. This may lead to decreased participation and learning.
| Provide opportunities for ESL students to use the language
and concepts you are teaching them in meaningful situations. Include a variety of ways of
participating in your instruction, e.g. in cooperative groups. Encourage all students to
work with and help ESL students.
|| Dont feed your ESL students on a diet of
| Try to create opportunities for ESL students
to be successful. Praise their achievements.
|| Dont laugh at their mistakes, however
well-intentioned you may be, or make jokes at their expense. Do not allow other students
to belittle ESL students.
| Treat ESL students as full members of the classroom
community. Help them to feel comfortable and integrate them as quickly as possible. Refer
to them often and make it clear to them (and to the class) that you expect them to work
and learn just like everyone else. Then ask for more and more participation and work as
these students become able to accomplish it.
|| Dont confuse low English proficiency
with low intelligence or lack of experience. Most ESL students are normal cognitively and
bring the same rich set of feelings, experiences and ideas to the classroom as their
native-speaking peers. They also bring many first language literacy skills that can be
transferred to their work in the English language.
| Learn as much about ESL students as you can. The more you
learn about them and their backgrounds, the easier it will be for you to incorporate them
into your classroom, and thereby enrich the lives and learning of all the students.
|| Dont confuse low English-speaking
proficiency or lack of knowledge of the classroom culture with uncooperativeness. If
students cant understand what you want them to do or they have never done it before,
they will have difficulties in carrying out your wishes.
|Relax! ESL students have a specific need but not an
insurmountable disability. With a little patience, kindness and determination on your
part, you can play a large role in the ESL students successful integration into the
school and his or her language development!
Adapted from: Enright. (1992) Supporting Childrens English Language
Development (Focus on the Learner). Prentice Hall.