Many factors play a part in developing a curriculum for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Teaching the fundamentals of the English language to non-native speakers takes innovation, creativity and persistence. Presenting the often complicated, confusing and sometimes dry rudiments of the language require the teacher to be engaging and culturally aware.
The online Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction – English as a Second Language from the University of Louisiana Monroe can give you an authentic learning experience with cultural courses as a vital part of the degree program. You can learn to teach English language learners while understanding how cultural identities and cultural groups impact school achievement and language learning while studying syntax, phonology and pragmatics. Graduates of this degree program will be able to teach ESL to students of all ages, from elementary school students to adults.
Tips and Techniques for Engaging English Language Learners
Teaching grammar and parts of speech to ESL students is one of the most challenging tasks ESL educators face. Successfully explaining the complicated rules of English grammar can only be done if the teacher thoroughly understands the rules themselves. Here are a few keys to teaching grammar in ESL classes.
- Use visual aids. Pictures, photographs, illustrations, posters, videos, maps and tables can help English language learners understand and comprehend subject matter. When images connect to a lesson or concept, it helps the learner make sense of and retain the information. Engaging students with the creation of anchor charts can also help them participate in class while using English.
- Create a stress-free environment. Making an English language learner feel comfortable in the classroom takes skill. When students feel at ease speaking, communicating and writing in a new language, they can progress, even if they make mistakes. Organizing the class into cooperative groups, with students encouraged to communicate about daily life and current events in English, inspires them to problem-solve and think critically within a safe space.
Enabling English language learners, regardless of age, to communicate via speech or writing with their peers creates a relaxed atmosphere where they can make mistakes without the perceived judgment of the teacher to crush their interest. Think-pair-share activities enable students to reflect on a question, pair up with another classmate and share their thoughts before rotating out to repeat the process with other students.
- Slow down. Speaking slowly and allowing extra time for students to answer a question can improve the quality of their responses. On average, teachers let one to two seconds pass between asking a question and calling on a student to answer. If teachers provide three to five seconds, it gives a student time to process the question and provide an adequate answer.
When teachers slow down their speaking and take the extra time so students can absorb information and formulate an answer, the quality of responses is likely to improve and students will also enjoy participating in class.
- Incorporate games. Students can enjoy a bit of competition when the class is split into groups to play a game. Closing the textbook and standing up can motivate them to have fun while working together to learn the rules of grammar.
If you’re interested in exploring technology and learning the practical approaches, techniques and theories behind teaching English as a Second Language, the online Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction degree may be the right choice for you. In this program, you can prepare for career roles like curriculum supervisor, administrator, ESL educator, and instructional coordinator.