10 Tips for teachers that are new to teaching ELLs!


The best advice comes from those on the frontlines! I’m thankful for this wonderful community of educators and the wealth of knowledge constantly shared with each other!

1. Reach out and make parent communications immediately! (Tara G.)

2. Smile, a lot!

3. Your mindset is crucial as a teacher of ELs. Any curriculum/book/worksheet can be improved by creating a language objective to go along with the content objective, and then building in scaffolds for your individual student needs. (Katie S.)

4. Remember, just engaging them in conversation is improving their English! (Jacqui S.)

5. Love them…..show them you understand how difficult school can be….be their safe haven. (Liz A.)

6. SAY THEIR NAME CORRECTLY! Even if you have to ask them a lot of times. Write it down. Think about how you would feel if no one tried to say your name correctly when visiting another country – or just gave you an easy nickname. Stand up for your students and correct specialists and other teachers who say their names incorrectly. A name is an identity and it matters. (Adriane M.)

7. Teach function language first. When you go to a foreign country what do you need to be able to communicate? Start there. Build play activities into it and make it fun! (Kat)

8. Respect the silent period of an EL student. They may not respond back quickly and tend to be quiet at first. However, they are learning, making connections, and taking in everything they hear.

9. Understand that because they can speak with socially with you or friends fluently doesn’t mean they can comprehend or use academic language well or at all. Don’t assume they are “faking” not understanding in the classroom. (Lindsey)

10. Use the time in the hallway walking with them to practice English, via TPR (Total Physical Response): “Raise your hand! Put your hand down! Point to the right! Point to a door!” (Kathy)

What would you add to this list?

Comment below and let’s keep sharing our knowledge and advice with one another!


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