I taught at an ESL school for several years. We had a high percentage of ESL students but there was usually one parent who spoke English. One year, however, I had two boys who came from another country and spoke zero English and had never been in school. They were placed in second grade because of their age. That was a challenge!
Here are some good techniques I used that are great for teaching ESL children:
- Face the children when you are speaking.
- Speak clearly at an average to slow rate. Do not exaggerate your words. Speak normally.
- Avoid using idioms or confusing phrases.
- Explain things in more than one way.
- Repeat key words, phrases, and ideas.
- Use comparisons, similes, analogies, and opposites when appropriate.
- Brainstorm using a white board or chalk board or if you’re at home then a piece of computer paper works great.
- Build upon the children’s experiences.
- Use visuals and props as often as possible.
- Use culturally appropriate materials.
- Demonstrate whenever you can (act it out).
- Provide a print-rich environment. Label objects all over the room with the name of the object written on an index card. I like to use colorful, neon cards when available
- Ask children questions often to determine understanding.
- Have the children role play.