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Strategies for Supporting Second-Language Students (L2S) Best (and Worst) Practices Elizabeth Visedo, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies for Supporting Second-Language Students (L2S) Best (and Worst) Practices Elizabeth Visedo, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies for Supporting Second-Language Students (L2S) Best (and Worst) Practices Elizabeth Visedo, Ph.D.

2 How/When to Speak Don’t  speak too fast  hurry students’ responses  use unnatural speech, such as baby talk, shouting or excessively slow talking  use too many idioms or colloquialisms. Do  speak at normal speed and clearly  moderate your speed if you are a fast talker  repeat yourself or rephrase what you said when necessary  after asking a question, wait for a few seconds before calling on someone to respond  provide students with enough time to formulate their responses, whether in speaking or in writing  help to shape what the L2S wants to say Wait Time provides a needed period to formulate a response gives students an opportunity to think

3 Teaching English Don’t  treat English as a separate subject for L2Ss to learn only in ESL lessons  put L2Ss on the spot by asking them to participate before they are ready  feed your L2Ss on a diet of worksheets Do  remember the English to which L2Ss are exposed in your classroom is of crucial importance to their academic language development  correct content from the start  correct grammar or pronunciation later  allow for the "silent period" that some students go through  provide opportunities for L2Ss to use language and concepts in meaningful situations  Include a variety of ways of participating in your instruction, e.g. in cooperative groups

4 Non-Linguistic Cues Don’t  stand in front of the class and lecture  rely on a textbook as your only visual aid  assume L2Ss understand what you are saying  or that they are already familiar with school customs and procedures Do  use visuals and sketches  use gestures and intonation  use other non-verbal cues to make both language and content more Using them to teach concepts can be hugely helpful to L2Ss visual/auditory representations

5 Learning Environment Don’t  separate or isolate students away from the rest of the class - physically or instructionally  limit your L2Ss’ access to authentic, "advanced" materials Do  make sure L2Ss are seated where they can see and hear well  provide them with maximum access to the instructional and linguistic input  encourage them to collaborate with native-English peers  involve them in some manner in all classroom activities  fill your classroom with print and with interesting things to talk, read, and write about Creating a language-rich environment will allow your L2Ss to learn even when you aren’t directly teaching them.

6 Directions Don’t  just tell students what to do and expect them to do it  act surprised if students are lost when you haven't given step-by- step directions Do  give oral and written instructions  model  what they are expected to do or produce  explain and demonstrate learning actions  share your thinking processes aloud  show good student work samples. Modeling promotes learning and motivation increases student self-confidence

7 Checks Don’t  simply ask, "Are there any questions?"  assume students are understanding because they are smiling and nodding their heads  wait until mid-term to assess their literacy skills Do  assess their literacy skills and course readiness during the drop/add period  recommend LRC when necessary  regularly check students’ understanding  after a lesson or explanation say, "Please put thumbs up, thumbs down, or sideways to let me know if this is clear, and it's perfectly fine if you don't understand or are unsure -- I just need to know."  or have students quickly answer on a Post-It note that they place on their desks  or have exit slips helps students monitor their own understanding, & helps ensure they are learning, thinking, understanding, comprehending, & processing at high levels checking for understanding

8 Home Language (L1) Don’t  "ban" L2Ss’ L1s from the classroom Do  encourage students to build their L1 literacy skills Research supports that learning to read in the L1 promotes reading achievement in the L2 as "transfer" occurs, including phonological awareness, comprehension skills, and background knowledge. Forbidding students from using their L1 discourages them from taking risks and making mistakes. It can also harm teacher-student relationships, especially if teachers act more like language "police" than language "coaches"

9 Respect Don’t  laugh at their mistakes or make jokes at their expense  allow other students to belittle L2Ss  confuse low English proficiency with low intelligence  confuse lack of knowledge of the classroom culture with uncooperativeness  assume their previous school experience followed American standards Do  encourage all students to work with and help L2Ss  create success opportunities for L2Ss’ & praise their achievements  treat L2Ss as full members of the classroom community  help them to feel comfortable  set your expectations high & clear  ask for more participation and work as they become able to accomplish it  learn as much about L2Ss and their backgrounds as you can  use that knowledge to enrich the lives and learning of all the students

10 References Ferlazzo, L. (2012). Do's & don'ts for teaching English-language learners. Retrieved from sypnieski Shoebottom, P. (1996/2013). Classroom guidelines. Retrieved from


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