More than 10 percent of students in the United States are English language learners (ELLs) – that’s more than 4.8 million children nationwide. While these children don’t learn any differently than their native-English-speaking classmates, they do have educational needs that should not be overlooked or go unmet.
From a teacher’s perspective, it’s difficult not to notice how challenging navigating educational environments is for a child for whom English is not their native language. They often walk into the classroom feeling intimidated and afraid, struggle to communicate even the most basic needs, and avoid interacting with peers and teachers due to the language discrepancy. As teachers, it’s our responsibility to help bridge that gap to not only support students as they learn English, but help them navigate their education in the meantime.
Thankfully, we’re not up to the task alone. There are many solutions to the most common teaching challenges, all of which serve to enrich the lives of students, streamline communication between parents and teachers, and help kids learn how to communicate and excel in everything they do.
Adapt what exists
There are many online tools with built-in features to support instruction for a variety of learners, including ELLs. If your school doesn’t have access to, or can’t afford, more specialized software designed specifically for ELLs, start thinking about how you can take the online tools you have and make them work for the ELLs in your classroom.