Classroom basics: 3 ways to support your ESL students
May 5, 2015 | By: Caitlin Hirsch
Categories: Teacher Tuesday

We get it, teachers have a TON of responsibilities. Between planning lessons, grading assignments, and reflecting on assessments, there’s hardly room for anything else.

In today’s Teacher Tuesday post, we’ll show you that with just a little bit of extra time, you can create a classroom that supports your ESL students and increases their confidence and independence, which means fewer interruptions and more engagement.

1. Label Everything!

You really can’t overdo it with the labels. To help students internalize important vocabulary and familiarize them with their surroundings, label pretty much everything in your classroom—for example: door, window, whiteboard, desk, chair.

blog-label-everything-ttAlso make sure you label materials: paper, pencil, stapler, book, and so on.

If your students all speak the same native language, it’s a good idea to dual-label everything in both English and their native language.

Quick tip: don’t start from scratch. A google image search for “classroom labels” will quickly provide you with some starter labels you can print, cut, stick, and be done.

2. Sentence Starters

To help students speak up in class, post sentence starters around the room that students can easily see. Make sure to include the basics, such as, “May I use the bathroom?” and “Can you repeat that?”

Other important phrases to include:

A few well-placed sentence starters will help ensure all of your students are equipped with essential classroom language.

Teacher Tuesday

3. Arrange Students in Pairs

It’s tempting to set up your student desks in neat, single-file rows, but learning English is a much easier and more enjoyable task when you work with another person.

Put students right next to each other, or in small groups

By putting students directly next to each other—or even in groups of three or four—you increase conversation, thus reinforcing English language learning. In addition, putting students together can help shy students feel more comfortable; it will also make it easier to plan interactive classroom activities!