In most school settings, both ESL and non-ESL students are in the same classroom; so, you need to be skilled in designing activities that are equally effective for ESL and non-ESL students. When you are trying to balance this component of lesson planning, along with the fact that all students are different types of learners to begin with, you might end up feeling overwhelmed.
Fortunately, understanding some important tips and strategies to ensure high levels of achievement throughout will help you to reach your goals as a teacher and assist students in reaching their goals as students.
When you are trying to develop effective lesson plans, you have to remember that all students are different. Not only are you looking at the needs of the ESL students in your class, but you are also working with non-ESL students who have different learning styles as well as potentially having physical and learning challenges.
Combining a variety of learning strategies often means that you will have to diversify your lessons a bit to meet the needs of all your students. It also means that your students' needs can overlap in many areas. One student with a need for visual learning can be very helpful to an ESL student.
Buiding strategies to encourage this overlap of needs helps to build a community in your classroom, which is crucial to developing activities for both ESL and non-ESL students.
In order to become proficient at developing activities for both ESL and non-ESL students, you need to know what to include in your lesson plans to ensure high levels of success in the classroom.
When you are working on the lesson plans, create one set that is going to be used for the non-ESL students in your class. Since this lesson plan is likely going to be more involved, it will be easier for you in the long term to start with it. Then, you can simply eliminate or revise the elements that are not appropriate for an ESL audience.
You can do the same when you are putting together activities and worksheets. You can modify activities and worksheets for ESL students in several ways:
The key to successfully using two sets of activities is to not alienate or embarrass the ESL student. Instead, you want to make sure that you have concentrated on the actions that will be of most benefit to the ESL student in completing the objective of the lesson plan.
You can accomplish this "two-sets of activities" process in several ways:
You cannot eliminate writing entirely for your ESL students; but, you can modify some assignments to allow for other methods of creative expression.
Here are some suggestions to help you accomplish this goal:
Visual aids in the classroom help ESL students to better understand the concepts you are trying to teach, but they allow non-ESL students who are visual learners to obtain a better grasp of the material as well.
Here are a few examples:
Non-ESL and ESL students are also able to help each other in powerful ways when they work together. The ESL students may be able to help the non-ESL students understand elements of the lesson, and the non-ESL students may be able to positively impact the language skills of the ESL student.
Here are a few tips:
Allowing students to learn from one another is an excellent teaching strategy. They are often more receptive to it as well because they do not necessarily view it as learning; they view it as interacting. These interactions can also improve knowledge, improve language skills and help to bridge cultural gaps.
Having separate sets of activities for ESL and non-ESL students in the same classroom might seem like a challenge, but you can certainly make it work.