Encouraging Participation from English Speaking Students

Check out our list of tips for encouraging participation from ESL students.

Collaborate with the media center in your school and request to have them purchase bilingual books with English/another language side-by-side with pictures. This will help ESL learners with their language and help other learners learn another language.

Language journals for your students—both the English speaking and English Language Find outers—can help with their vocabulary skills.

Present a map in your class and mark the countries where your learners come from. Utilize stickpins or colored dots to mark the countries. It won’t be unusual for you to have a diverse class.

Present money from other countries and show the comparison to U.S. currency. All learners need to understand money, and they will be highly motivated to learn about the exchange of money.

As the person in charge of your class, model behaviors that value diversity and create an environment that is accepting and inclusive. Remain friendly, fair, and kind to everyone.

Designate “language partners” to be mentors for the initial month to assist with being a newcomer to the school. Expand the language associates to be family language associates and help them in the community. Schools cannot do this alone. Once you ask for volunteers to be family language partners, this will help everyone better understand each other’s culture. The new learners will also be more likely to attend school functions if they have someone to go with. Once grouping learners, group the non-English speaking learners with good, helpful learners that will be welcoming and interested in them as individuals.

Invite your learners to participate in a food fair, and make dishes of various cultures. However, do not ask your learners to make food more than once a year. It is an expense and is difficult for some households, so be sensitive to the request for providing food.

Refer to your alma mater for any programs inviting graduates to travel abroad or participate in language immersion experiences in the summer. You may be able to be an educator’s assistant if you have your Master’s degree, or you may obtain graduate credit if needed.

Go with the foreign language department chair in your school, and have their learners visit your class and speak the language they are learning. Contact the closest university or public librarian if your school does not have a foreign language educator.

Inquire through the churches in the community about any missionary trips they might be planning. Missionary-type trips usually last a few weeks. You are responsible for your expenses, but a sister church or community may offer your lodging. Your purpose may be to build a church or school. You would work side-by-side with the local people, which would be a chance to become aware of the daily living of another country.

Chances to travel and learn in another country will bring a whole new perspective to your work and enhance your knowledge base. It will expand your cultural competency and enrich your class. You will empathize with your learners if you go to a country where you are experiencing a language barrier comparable to the one they experience.

Go to a genuine restaurant of a different culture, and try the various foods your learners have experienced in their country. Consider the possibility of taking your class to the restaurant after a pleasant experience. This would be an expense for your learners, so consider that.

Acquaint yourself with the customs and holidays of your learner’s religions. Mark the holidays on the class calendar so you can recognize the celebration

Find out that you do not get to select your learners. They may have chosen, or the school may have assigned them to you. Once they show up in your class, you are responsible for teaching them. They may be talented or academically challenged.

Acquaint yourself with the rules and procedures for seeking assistance from outside resources to meet the needs of special education learners in your class. Also, familiarize yourself with the rules and procedures for providing info about the learner to outside sources.

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