Instructional Strategies for ELL Classrooms
Grand Canyon University
SPE-523N English Language Teaching Foundations and Methods
November 17, 2010
There are many different strategies that an instructor can use in ELL classrooms or in classrooms in which ELL students have been mainstreamed. As always, instructors are called upon to constantly modify their curriculum and instruction in order to meet the needs of each individual learner. This is made more possible if the instructor has more knowledge of different teaching methods and strategies. There are many possible research sources that offer ideas, methods and strategies for everyday use in an ELL classroom. Several of the more common or functional strategies will be discussed here. Comprehensible Input
There are six prominent areas to consider when creating lesson plans that will help to present the subject material in an organized, understandable manner. These are “modelling (sic), bridging, contextualisation (sic), building schema, re-presenting text and developing metacognition” (Walqui, 2003). Modeling is simply showing, demonstrating, or asking the student to perform an action or do a project. This hands-on approach is useful for all students but it is particularly helpful with those students who have a language barrier. Bridging, a common constructivist method, involves building on a learner’s previous experience (Gabler, 2003). When dealing with ELL learners, the teacher may have to delve deeper than with average students, into the student’s previous experiences because their country of origin may not have offered the experiences that the educator is accustomed to building on. If they are able to find an experience that the student can relate the new information to, then the student will much better be able to understand the instruction (Gabler, 2003). Contextualization is useful because it presents the same information that one would find in a textbook in a completely different format that can reach the student’s visual, tactile, or auditory modalities. If the student is able to see the information rather than a list of linear facts but instead in a picture, video, demonstration or activity, then the student make learn the concepts or information more quickly and sometimes effortlessly. Building schema gives the students an understanding of the big picture of the new subject or concept before giving them more details. This gives the student a structure that they can build on and relate to. This may help the new information seem less daunting to them and may help develop an anticipation in the student to explore further into the subject. Re-presenting text, is when the teacher asks the students to revisit a text with the intention of presenting it in an alternative way in which the students actively participate (Walqui, 2003). “This kind of language learning often engages students in the accomplishment of tasks that are interesting and meaningful for them, where the emphasis is placed on the communication that is being carried out rather than on its formal aspects, and where the resulting learning is powerful” (Walqui, 2003). The sixth area for the educator to keep in mind when laying out lesson plans is developing the student’s metacognition. This is defined as the “understanding of the strategies available for learning a task and the regulatory mechanisms needed to complete the task” (Hallahan, 1997). This particular aspect of ELL instruction can give these students the tools needed to deal with new difficulties, remedy old problems and identify specific needs or problems that they have in their own learning process. The student can even continue to use this knowledge and awareness in their educational endevours after they have achieved English language proficiency. This can also assist average students in their own educational efforts.
Ongoing, Specific, and Immediate Feedback
Effective teachers often engage in multiple methods of feedback. Ongoing...
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