“English language learners” means children who are working to learn a second language (often English in Louisiana) while continuing to develop their first (or home) language. Teachers can support the ELL children by providing a language-rich environment, by supporting their social/emotional development, and by working to develop an understanding of the language and cultures of the ELL students.
The following strategies, though not an exhaustive list, are recommended practices for helping teachers work more effectively with ELL children, as well as their families:
What Teachers Can Do For Children:
Provide a warm, welcoming learning environment.
Learn some phrases in the child’s home language that you can use when greeting the child or during daily activities.
Encourage children to play and interact with one another.
Provide environmental print in English and the child’s home language.
Model language by labeling your actions and the child’s actions.
Use visual cues or gestures when demonstrating a new skill or concept and repeat instructions more than once.
Connect new concepts with familiar experiences.
Provide books and songs within the classroom in the child’s home language.
At story time, choose repetitive books or books with simple language.
Establish and maintain daily routines and schedules.
Organize small group activities exclusively for your ELL children.
Provide props in dramatic play that represent the child’s culture.
Provide an English-speaking buddy or partner for the ELL child.
Provide a quiet space in the classroom where children can use manipulatives, puzzles, or playdough.
What Teachers Can Do For Families:
Understand the importance of the role you play and the impression you make on the family.
Show interest in the child’s family and culture.
Gain information and knowledge about the child’s community and culture.
Have an open door policy.
Use informal notes and phone calls to communicate with the family (you may need to use an interpreter).
Post information on a bulletin board for parents in or near the classroom; include a display of children’s artwork or photos.
Develop family-friendly newsletters with pictures and photos, and translate as much of the newsletter as you can into the languages families in your group speak.
Invite the families to the classroom to share their culture with the children.
Organize family and community meetings and gatherings to learn more about cultural values and beliefs.
Consider conducting home visits.
Encourage families to continue the use of the native language at home.
Consider the dietary, cultural and religious practices associated with the culture of the family when planning events.
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