As a teacher at an International School, many of my students are English Language Learners. Even my native English speakers are living in a non-English speaking country. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. Here is this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:
ELL Teaching Tip #36: Understand how they listen
How much are your English Language Learners understanding of what you are saying? In the beginning, about 20%, if not less. Students often only get one in 5 words that you say. It takes time to learn to listen in a new language. Try this quick listening activity from TV5, a television channel out of France, and see how hard it is to understand and focus when listening to another language.
Now, that entire listening piece was only 30 seconds long, and it was a song, which is more entertaining than most. However, I be anything you started to tune out by about 20 or 25 seconds, less if you’ve never heard French before. This is how our English Language Learners are. They listen in the beginning, and then they get frustrated and start to tune out. So, how do we keep them listening? Here are some suggestions:
- Break it up – never talk for longer than a few minutes without giving students a chance to stop, process, and re-focus. You can make this easier on yourself and your students by:
- Adding in videos, demonstrations and pictures
- Making your discussions interactive, with students
contributing as much as possible
- Giving students a graphic organizer or a an outline with
blanks, to fill out as you go. (Be sure to guide students as to
when to write – especially in the beginning!)
- Giving students a chance to talk – they learn more by using
the language than by listening to us anyways, so give them a
chance to talk about a topic, rather than always listening
- Catch their interest, students will listen longer if it is a topic or
media that interests them, this is the time to use those cartoons
and t.v. shows!
- Re-cap the information you are presenting every so often, and
reiterate it multiple times at the end, this repetition helps
students pick out those key words and build understanding.
Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Would you like to view an hour long presentation on this topic? I recently presented on Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo. Now you can grab the presentation for just $3.95 from Teacher’s Notebook.
Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!