For Teachers - Para Maestros

Working with English Language Learners

Here’s a cheat-sheet to hang on your bulletin board. 

  • Increase Wait Time: Give Students time to think and process language
  • Simplify your language: Use as few words as possible. Emphasize and perhaps repeat important nouns and verbs
  • Respond to the message: even if grammar isn’t perfect-if you understand what they’re trying to say…respond. Don’t explicitly correct the utterance.
  • Model correct usage: if the student responds with incorrect grammar, acknowledge the response and then repeat it, modeling correct grammar . 
  • Don’t force reticent students to SPEAK: but still ask that they respond by pointing, answering yes or no, or choosing among two options
  • Demonstrate and use manipulatives: hold up pictures, realia, act it out, draw creative!

(based in part on the work of Trish Sullivan, Sheltered English Techniques in the Mainstream Class: Guidelines and Techniques fro Teachers, National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, Vol. 2,No.1,Fall ’92)

Information for Teachers about the ELL Program

So, you started the school year with an ELL student.  What do you do now???

First, contact  the ELL Coordinator, Martha Little,(360) 396-3537 or (360) 396-3096.  She will probably already be aware of the student.  She may have already assigned some Para-educator time to your classroom and will probably suggest that you access this website for valuable links, forms and documents.  

The most important thing for you to remember is that a student learning English will learn the social oral language long before he develops reading, writing and a strong academic language.  Be patient with him.  Even if he has been in our school system for three or four years, and some English is spoken at home, he is still learning the academic language and may be two or three years behind in all academic areas.  It takes time to learn our cultural inferences and idioms.  It will take an average of three to  seven years for this student to be at grade level if he has some academic support or background.  It can take up to ten years if he does not have the academic support or background when he starts school.  Remember, not all of our ELL students attended school before they came to this country. 

Please save to your computer, print and read the Washington State report called, "What Teachers Should Know About Instruction for English Language Learners"...

Here are some other websites that may give you ideas that you can use with your ELL student(s). How to adjust your teaching styles for ELL students Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) website with ideas and resources lesson ideas and resources for ESL ideas and lesson plans for teaching ELL students