What are some general instructional practices that can be beneficial to students who are learning to speak English?
Page 10: Provide Opportunities for Students To Practice
Teachers can support ELLs by providing opportunities to practice not only their academic skills but also their use of the English language. Before students practice a task, teachers should ensure that they understand its demands, both linguistic and academic. In addition to creating ample opportunities for practice, teachers should provide corrective feedback, constructive comments on the student’s performance.
When providing opportunities for ELLs to practice skills or concepts, teachers should:
- Allow ELLs to use instructional supports such as translated word lists. As students’ language proficiency increases, the level of support is reduced.
- Allow ELLs to work in pairs or in small groups.
- Encourage students to discuss what they are learning. As often as possible, these conversations should be student-led and interactive.
- Focus on and provide feedback on the content of ELLs’ responses in English, rather than on their pronunciation or grammar. It is normal—and not a sign of confusion—for them to draw from their first language.
Example: Ms. Westerman knows that her students have a basic understanding of the differences between plant and animal cells. She allows them to practice categorizing and discussing these differences in small groups.