As a curriculum and learning specialist at an elementary school in Verona, Wisconsin, l have the opportunity to work with amazing educators and students of all cultures; as a prior bilingual resource and two-way immersion Spanish teacher, I like to honor the language learners in our classrooms.
I work with all teachers and all students. I help teachers find resources to help support their curriculum and often that entails helping them find new ways to include their English Language Learners in their lessons. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, an average of 9 percent of students in U.S. public schools are English Language Learners (ELLs); that number is closer to 14 percent in cities.
Here are five ways you can integrate ELL instruction into teaching and learning. These are simple strategies and some resources that are not very time-consuming, and best of all, they will help all the students in your class feel included and able to access the curriculum.
Visuals, visuals, visuals.
ELL learners can sometimes have a hard time processing spoken language. Instructions, even basic directions for your classroom procedures, should be written on the board whenever possible–with pictures. Modeling the steps of a process or showing students what a finished product looks like can go a long way toward helping your language learners understand what you are trying to convey. Sometimes it’s as easy as showing our students what we want them to do. This type of nonlinguistic representation improves comprehension and lowers the stress for ELL students. It will help all your students grasp concepts better.