A lot of teachers have limited experience in handling English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners.
In their teaching experience, they will have ESL learners who are not native English speakers.
ESL learners are foreigners whose culture and dialect are diverse. They will seem like complete strangers in an environment that is new to them. They will have a laid-back attitude and would just wait for the bell to ring, then leave.
Perhaps, I am being too presumptuous about the whole thing – let the teacher handle this.
The presence of ESL learners in a class is not a daunting experience, instead it should be treated as an inspirational opportunity for the teacher, ESL learners, and the classmates to learn from each other.
The teacher should go the extra mile by preparing appealing teachings through presentation of their own personal experiences and the rest of the class. An English teacher should: have mastery over the language, be a good conversationalist, and be a good thespian.
Here are some guidelines to keep ESL learners interested.
Let them discuss about themselves, their family and home.
Ask the ESL learners to tell something about themselves, their family and home. Once they start, you might be surprised about their enthusiasm. They might even talk about their pets, hobbies, favorite food, just let them. This is a good way to break the ice.
Generate a Cultural Discussion.
Let them discuss about their culture, customs, and traditions. This will give them the privilege to talk on something which they are knowledgeable and put them at ease. Definitely this will not be in straight English but done in a broken manner.
In return, let their classmates discuss about the holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving… and more. The preparations that are done and the festivities during these times.
There will be an interaction among students that will bridge the gap between cultural differences and create a healthy classroom atmosphere.
Utilizing scaffolding method to assist the students.
Scaffolding is a method prepared by the teacher to support the learning needs of the students. ESL learners can bolster their knowledge in the English language through this method. This is divided into three categories:
1. Verbal scaffolding: slowing speech, word pronunciation, paraphrasing, voice modulation.
2. Procedural scaffolding: one-on-one teaching, coaching, modelling, small-group instruction, partnering.
3. Instructional scaffolding: use of pictures, graphs, audio visual aids, charts, organizers.
Once the students are familiar with these tasks they won’t need the support.
Mistakes should be corrected with empathy.
If they commit mistakes, let them do it. The teacher should not correct them in front of the class, this will dissuade them from participating in discussions. They will notice that they committed a mistake perhaps by their classmate’s reaction or someone will tell them directly. Learning is knowing your mistake and correcting them, give them time to think. If this was repeated, talk to them privately and explain to them in a mild manner what is wrong and what needs to be done.