Working with ESL Students
- Do icebreaker activities to help students feel comfortable.
- State academic expectations clearly and discuss academic cultural differences (e.g. "In this culture, if you ask a question the teacher thinks youre a good student.")
- Express empathy for difficulties but emphasize the importance of satisfying requirements.
- Learn about the cultures of your students so that you can demonstrate cross-cultural understanding and incorporate cultural awareness into critical thinking and writing activities.
- Acknowledge feelings of inadequacy and dependency and link that to strategies for cooperation.
- Assign writing groups and peer-feedback activities to encourage exchange.
- Design ways that ESL students can help each other by combining skill strengths.
- Include shy students by calling on them when youre certain they would be able to answer correctly.
- Predict potentially shaming situations and intervene when possible.
- Use clarification techniques whenever possible.
- Always check 2-3 times with ESL students to determine the meaning of "yes" or "no".
- Give a variety of writing assignments which integrate content and writing.
- When grading assignments, assign a percentage of the grade for language skills.