Teaching online is a unique experience for everyone—teachers, students, and parents alike. Some students are thriving in the online environment, and others are struggling. For our English language learners (ELLs), this new medium can provide even greater challenges to accessing the curriculum, but sound teaching practices will help them (and you) get through this successfully.
Burnout is a word being used quite a bit these days. It’s no wonder, with the colossal shifts in education that we all had to undertake without much notice eight months ago. Between learning the alphabet soup of available digital products and platforms, managing new models of instruction, and WFH (that’s “working from home” for those of you born before 1995), it is enough to make our heads spin. Feelings of frustration, anxiety, and being overwhelmed are understandable during this time of transition.
According to recent surveys, at least 55% of classroom teachers have one or more English Language Learners (ELLs) in their classroom. ELLs arrive in our classrooms with varying levels of the four domains of English (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) for conversational and academic purposes. As a social studies teacher, how can you help an ELL student make sense of the advanced vocabulary and sentence structures that come along with academic instruction? One proven strategy is to build or activate background knowledge BEFORE starting the unit.