ESL students learn new English words daily. What happens is that they remember but don’t comprehend these, when they mix these with other words it doesn’t make sense.
Take for instance in answering a question, when they use these new words to provide an answer the reply is way off. Even if they were able to come up with the correct choice of words to provide a correct answer, still they don’t understand the content. Without understanding, this acquired knowledge becomes useless.
The way tutors can help ESL learners is by giving them clear instructions in the subject that they are being taught in class. When they present and fortify the academic dialect, there will be astonishing improvements in the ESL students’ performance.
Reinvent the Academic Language
The tutor should plan ahead, review the topic and classify words or sentence configurations that they think will be hard to understand by the ESL learner. Reference these on the board and let the learners note these down.
Mathematics and Science subjects could be better understood through illustrations and hands-on learning. Words can be learned by labelling parts and identifying terms, making sure that students understand the terminologies. Augment the learning process by resorting to visual aids, use your thespian ability, and convert difficult words to simple ones.
To make sure that the student learned English properly, encourage a healthy discussion. Ask them about the pictures that you had presented, it is a way of checking their vocabulary and how they understood the lecture. Let them exercise their minds, encourage them to say things in another way. Like, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, other ways of saying it is; a caterpillar grows into a butterfly or a butterfly comes from a caterpillar.
Encourage Creative Thinking
Do not limit your learners’ vocabulary words based on the lesson. Let them think “Out of the Box”, allow them to use the new English words in more meaningful ways. Ask questions about the subject matter, and give them time to express themselves.
After all, the tutor is not looking for the right or wrong use of words or sentences at the moment. This is a good time to assess the training need of their students.
The tutor must model the proper use of the language structure and the correct mix of words to guide the learners to communicate in English correctly.
Assessing the Student’s Skill
It will take some time, practice, and guidance before an ESL Learner can communicate in English well. In so doing, some tests in between will be needed to gauge the depth of the English skill of the learner.
A good head start will be the unit tests which many textbook provide. They have different formats like: multiple choices, true or false, fill in the blank, and questionnaires. A student may seem to understand the lecture but fares poorly in the exercise. An assessment will discover the student’s weakness that will guide the teacher in helping the learner improve.
Some students have strong verbal skills but weak in literacy skills. The teacher may ask the student to do a presentation on what they learned and what was the difficult portion in the exercise.