This blog was originally published on November 6th, 2015, but it was so well received we wanted to share it again! We also added our Top Three Tips when working with students who are ELL.
As teachers we are constantly trying to improve ourselves, our teaching strategies, and our ways of interacting with each unique student. Learning is difficult in itself, but a language barrier makes things more complex. Below are 3 tips from Learners Edge about how to work with ELL students, along with some additional suggestions from Jennifer Marks, a teacher from Northborough, MA , who took Course 842: Achieving Success with English Language Learners.
Tip 1: Learn the culture.
On a recent trip overseas, I was delighted to sit down with a group of people who had emigrated from Africa to Norway. In talking about what leaving their country was like (they all spoke Arabic, Norwegian, and English)—they shared how helpful it was when teachers learned about their native culture. Understanding just some of the cultural norms helped the teacher, the students, and those who had emigrated transition to a new culture in a way that felt respectful and supportive. When teachers try their best to pronounce names or to honor cultural norms (i.e. food restrictions, social mores) it helps to alleviate micro-aggressions which can feel hurtful to those who are new.