Classroom with non-English speaking students with multiple native languages…help?

Discussion in 'ESL/ELL' started by MissPapa, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2014

    Hello!

    So I got hired for a Kindergarten class. I ended up getting a lot of ESL students, a third not speaking English. My challenge, however, is that I have non-English speaking students speaking Urdu, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. LOTS of languages! I don't have any paras, and I don't have any students who can be a translator to them. The only thing I have done so far is create some visuals (I have pictures on our classroom contract and a happy face and sad face to indicate if they are doing the right or the wrong thing, accompanied by the behavior chart). I also have students I trust guide them to doing certain procedures (ex. table leaders and line partners where each girl in the girls line hold hands with the boy next to them on the boys line.)

    I have an ESL teacher who comes in last period of every day, but the only foreign language she speaks is Spanish. My Spanish-speaking kids can communicate with me, though. The OTHER languages I need assistance with!

    And this one really cute Russian girl tries to talk to me, but in Russian. I feel heartbroken that I can't communicate with her and seek her needs...

    Are there any other tips? I start teaching my curriculum Monday. Any advice on being able to communicate and teaching these kids is more than appreciated. Thank you!!!
     
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  3. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Sep 6, 2014

    Look up Sheltered Instruction. You can also look up classroom words and basic phrases to say with the english phrases to help you.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 6, 2014

    Your ESL teacher should be giving you support. The misconception about ESL instruction is that the ESL teacher speaks the foreign languages. Bilingual, one foreign language and English is required, but ESL requires NO ability to speak another language. The ESL teacher is there to teach the students to speak English. Along the way, there are the wonderful added bonuses of celebrating the cultures in your classroom, etc., but your job is to provide instruction in English, but make as many modifications as possible to make it easier for the students to understand the principles so that everything starts to make sense. Many of these students may already have some receptive English skills. They may understand key words, but not speak them. Generally, at this age you have the advantage of rapid language acquisition, since the students are going to find ways to be understood. Pictures work. Simple words without tons of extra words that they don't need at this point in time work well. Your ESL teacher will guide you in ways to make your classroom ELL friendly, and you can find a ton of resources online by typing in ESL teaching resources.

    Just remember, you don't need to speak those languages, but to teach them in English, modifying instruction for those students enough to get them learning and growing in English. Reach out to other teachers of the lower grades in your building - they have faced similar situations, to be sure, if you have that many different languages in your class.
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Sep 6, 2014

    I made a ring of cards with some basic pictures for the student - toilet, water, yes, no. I have a ring of cards with the same pictures and line up sit at your table, sit on the rug, and pictures of our schedule I also used picture instructions and lots of work samples to help them know how to complete work.
     
  6. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2014

    Tasha: I was thinking of making communication boards for my ESL students. I did that with my Autism students last year (long-term sub assignment). I don't want to think of my ESL students as "disabled", but I do want to help them communicate while I teach them English. If it can help them, then maybe I should make some this weekend!

    lynettstoy: She comes every day for the last period. I have a 3-period ELA block during the second half of my and my ELA program comes in two parts: listening and learning (which will probably be the toughest for them) and skill acquisition. Last period I'll probably make an extension to what we learned in the last two periods and maybe have them work with the ESL teacher on acquiring more on what we are learning in ELA. She's very knowledgable thus far and I guess I just need to trust her for the work she does. I think I'm going to shoot her and email today :) Thanks for reassuring me on that. Math I'm not worried about because they're using manipulatives in that grade so I know many ways to help them learn math.

    And believe me, I do reach out to my fellow kindergarten teachers and first grade teachers (all on the same section/floor). It's tough!

    hatima: I'll look that up, thanks!

    Sorry guys, it's my first year being full-time so I got the jitters! But my second day of school was a lot better than the first day, especially when using more visuals, so I'm at least feeling better about the situation :D I think I'll be alright, I did learn from others that the beginning of the year will be the most frustrating part of the year. I'll be happy as long as I get progress from my students :)
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 6, 2014

    I was also going to mention Sheltered Instruction. Sometimes the acronyms are SIOP and HQSI, although I'm not sure if one of those might be specific to my district. The goal of SI is to teach kids English through exposure to English. There is no translating.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 6, 2014

  9. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    So from how I take it, exposure of the English language, even if they don't understand it first time around, will help them learn English and understand the concepts being taught.

    Thanks guys, much appreciated! I will check this out once I'm home and see how I can implement any of these on Monday :)
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    It isn't much different than the way infants learn. They read body language, will mimic, cast out terms to see if they receive desired effect, use gestures, concentrate on the primary word of the "conversation" and then negotiate the rest of the meaning with as many nonverbal cues as possible, and count on you to be trying to read them as much as they are trying to initiate communication. Once again - this is a good age to be working with them. You may find that tech is your ally in the teaching of these students, and they can use bilingual picture dictionaries to help ease their way. I love your upbeat attitude, so I am so certain that you will love the challenge! Best of luck to you and the pint sized students!
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 7, 2014

    For kinders, it doesn't much matter that Arabic and Urdu use more or less the same writing system, though it does fall under the heading of Neat Facts About Languages. Arabic and Urdu aren't related: Arabic is a Semitic language, so it's quite closely related to Hebrew, and I am being only slightly cheeky when I say that Urdu is the version of Hindi that one speaks if one follows Islam rather than Hinduism. I can tell you, though, that your Urdu speaker(s) will probably have an easier time with "ch", /p/, and hard g than will your Arabic speakers, judging from the presence in Urdu of ways to write those sounds.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 7, 2014

    Definitely true that an ESL teacher doesn't need to speak any other languages (and often it's even helpful if they don 't speak the student's L1, this way they won't be tempted to talk to them in that language).

    It is however useful to have a basic understanding of the phonemic system of the students' first language.
    For example, for Arabic speakers: they don't have v or p in their language, don't know how to pronounce it so it needs to be thought. The [th] sound is pretty rare in other languages, but it is present in Arabic, and I've seen ESL teachers wasting time trying to teach it, and the students already knew it. They also have the [w].
    These are just some examples.
    Russians on the other hands don't have or know how to say [th] and the [w]. Both of these languages have a lot more sounds we don't use, but that won't be a hindrance.

    What's even more important is to understand their culture, this way you won't offend them, or confuse them. For example I've read a story once that a little Arabic girl, who was also Muslim, refused to read a picture book, kept throwing it down and the teacher were confused, and thought she was just defiant. It turned out that the story was about little pigs, and for Muslims pork is forbidden to eat, but it is also though of as unclean. So reading a story about a cute little pig was very confusing and offensive to the little girl.
     
  13. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2014

    Well, I'm making communication cards and I'm definitely using the SMARTboard a lot! Also I'm planning on emphasizing certain words when teaching a lesson and I'll try to keep my teaching simpler. And yes, I always make sure to understand every student's culture. I know one kid is hindu and therefore he cannot eat meat. There are others who I am still trying to find out what their culture is. I'll get around to it.

    There was actually one time during my long term assignment with a 3rd grade ICT class. My co-teacher and I threw a party and someone brought in bbq chicken. My co-teacher offered some to a kid who's Muslim. He asked if it was pork, she said "no, it's chicken", and he still said no thanks. I understand that he can eat chicken, but it has to be halal, so I told that to my co-teacher. Now she knows :)
     

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