Friday Focus!

October 30, 2015

Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” Chinese proverb

All people smile in the same language. (Adams & Johnson, 1997)

Every teacher at Almadina must strive to become an ESL teacher. We can and we must find a way to reach our students. One way we can do so is by considering the following specific recommen­dations for ESL student instruction as outlined in the Alberta ESL Guide.

  • First, remember the Five Rs: Repeat, Rephrase, Reiterate, Restate, Reword!!
  • Provide cloze technique passages (some words missing) to complete from the regular text or lecture notes.
  • Use brain-based learning (invoking multiple intelligences) with lessons that include hands-on activities, choral reading, songs, chants, drawing, mapmaking, labeling, or graphic organiz­ers; these are all staples of a rich language-learning environment.
  • Use hand signals to accompany verbal instructions and augment any materials with drama and gestures.
  • Remember schematic sets for acquisition of new vocabulary. Avoid introducing new words out of context. Visual representa­tions are also recommended whenever possible.

How do we assess an ESL student. The Classroom Teacher’s ESL Survival Packet (Kentucky Migrant Technology Project, 1997) offers specific assess­ment modification tips, which we can and should use in order to help our students and ourselves. Chief among these practices is the idea that we should assess students according to what they can do, rather than what they cannot do.
Technique: Modifications

  • Test key concepts or main ideas.
  • Make a simplified language version of the test.
  • Simplify instructions.
  • Provide word banks.
  • Give students extra time to complete tests.
  • Give students objective tests: matching, multiple choice, etc.
  • Make all or part of the test a demonstration or oral response.

2. Oral and Written Strategies

  • Interviews, oral reports, or role plays using visual cues, ges­tures, or physical activity
  • Describing, explaining, summarizing, retelling, paraphrasing
  • Thinking and learning logs
  • Reading response logs
  • Writing assignments
  • Dialogue journals
  • Portfolios

I can assure you that drawing on this bag of tricks will likely help you make a connection that will, in turn, make a difference in the aca­demic progress and development of your students. Perhaps you may even be instrumental in their desire to persevere and be suc­cessful at school. Thank you all for being here to give our students the opportunity to learn.

Happy Weekend!