Best helping students with limited English

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mathmagic, Nov 14, 2017 at 7:22 PM.

  1. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 14, 2017 at 7:22 PM

    Outside of some of the more obvious tools (i.e. Google translate, using a student who knows the language -- the latter of which I'll be utilizing a ton!), and the usual strategies (pictures/physical movement to connect to vocabulary/directions/etc...), what suggestions would you have for helping a student who is just moving to the country with very limited English?
     
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  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Nov 14, 2017 at 10:46 PM

    Know five different ways to say the same thing because the kid might know one but not another. Be concise and consistent with your language, especially with instructions and questions. Avoid non-literal language; folk sayings etc. are one of the last things you pick up. (Slang comes quickly, but not so much things like "cost an arm and a leg," "is the pope Catholic?," or "____ could mess up a two car funeral.")
     
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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Unfortunately, this is deeply ingrained in me (more often puns, but still). Thanks for the reminder: I'll make sure when I do notice myself utilizing a pun/non-literal language, that I rephrase for that student for understanding!
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 1:25 AM

    What's the student's home language/first language? Is the student literate in it? If so, a bilingual picture dictionary, English and the student's language, can be a good choice - for the student, but also for you. Oxford University Press had a very nice series of dictionaries some years ago that were targeted to adults but still accessible to children; I hope they're still being published.
     
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  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Spanish. I'm working to determine the literacy with the home language and will probably know by the end of the day.

    Our ELL teacher brought a bilingual picture dictionary and a workbook up when meeting the student yesterday, and is also working on establishing a Rosetta Stone account for her, so that she can use that both at home and at school during independent reading / when other independent work isn't accessible or meaningful to her. I'm not sure of the brand of the dictionary; I'll look more closely today :). Thanks!
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 4:19 PM

    I didn't mean that Oxford is the only good choice, but rather that it's a good exemplar. Whether a child-friendly dictionary is appropriate will depend on the age and preferences of your student, of course (though a child-friendly dictionary can be a good place to start, or perhaps one of those "My first 1000 words in... " books that Usborne sells.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 4:26 PM

    If their primary language is still being studied, encourage it. Studies show that if they continue to practice their home language, they'll do better learning English.

    Use a lot of pictures or models in your lessons whenever possible. Read aloud often. Let them chat with the other kids to pick up the language.

    Two years ago (and I think I even posted a querie here on advice), I had a little girl who spoke zero English. I was beginning to panic. I observed some of her siblings, including a kinder brother who spoke zero English.

    This year, that kinder brother is in my class, speaks near-perfect English and can't shut up to save his life. Also, great reader, great mathematician. His sister dropped in on conferences, and she is now speaking excellent English.
     
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  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 6:01 PM

    I had to remind myself this today. My kids are almost fighting (not fully literally :)) to be able to share new things with her all the time or include her in activities. When I saw my students showing her some of the (many) books in my classroom library, I panicked for a moment, since I don't really have the range of books where she would be successful with one yet, but realized exactly what you mentioned: the conversations about the books, and just the conversations in general will help her eventually develop some of the language.

    Funny enough, the person in my class who read the most books a couple years ago was my kiddo who had moved right before school started...and though bilingual, my kiddo who has read the most by far (already 1.2ish million words in the first two months) just moved here during the summer!
     
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  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2017 at 8:00 PM

    I hate to admit this, but I did not know this until about a year ago. Up until that point, I had always told parents to immerse their children in English (speak English at home, watch TV in English, read books in English, etc.). However, studies do indeed show that they should continue to watch TV, read books, converse, etc in their primary language!
     
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