Spanish Speaking Only Students-advice?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by nstructor, Aug 26, 2023.

  1. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2023

    I have several non-English speaking students this year in my middle school ELA class. Any advice please? Thank you!
     
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  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2023

    Like completely zero English or very little? Grasping English phonics makes a huge difference, even with limited vocabulary. Twinkl has some decent ESL resources, including classroom tags like bilingual supply labels. Learn a few key phrases for safety if you can; make sure someone explains emergency procedures if they're new to the school.

    We use some graphic novels to aid comprehension. If they're completely green, it's worth checking in with admin/the ESL head about what the goals are. If the goal is their language development, you'd approach that differently than if the literature concepts are deemed more important. If the concepts are the emphasis, so long as they have ok reading skills in the home language, they can read the same content translated and respond in home language, then you or they translate their answers.

    I had one class of 7th graders last year with four kids with very limited English. Two had Cantonese as home language, two had Spanish. I speak Spanish, but because it was a mixed class (bilingual school) I couldn't teach in Spanish. They knew they could ask questions and I could re-explain and they could respond in Spanish. Not ideal, but it worked. I translated all written material and had one of the Chinese teachers translate responses for me.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Because we are a small, rural district with no ESL teachers, our non-English speaking students are transported to another district for intensive English instruction.

    As far as what we do with the kids when they return, we just do our best. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the only thing that we could do. I did a lot of modified assignments and individual instruction for the kids with limited English. I’ve had to do this with kids who spoke Hindi, Mandarin, and French.
     
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  5. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Aug 31, 2023

    The Spanish speakers will pick up English quickly if you make sure they have English speaking partners for projects and as the year progresses. You'll end up good at games like charades too. :)
    I wish I had words of wisdom because I used to teach Spanish speaking kids a long time ago. I knew some Spanish but could read it better than I could pronounce it...Some kids mocked my Spanish unmercifully! lol
     
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  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 2, 2023

    Can your school get you some training materials on the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Method? It helps find ways to help students learn content at the same time as their new language. I found a video about it here if you want the basics, but I've been through two different trainings for it and I use it for my students from three different continents.
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 13, 2023

    SIOP is definitely the way to go - great recommendation. I am ESL certified, and this is what we were trained to do.
     
  8. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I was also going to suggest this. I once had a a Thai girl in a class who had no English. I would produce a list of 10ish key words for each lesson with the English and Thai. (Google translate is your friend) She could stick the list in her book. I sat her with sympathetic students who would help her (No-one in the class spoke any Thai) It took a while but she picked English up with the help of her classmates who took her into their friendship group. I had a similar experience with a Sudanese girl who only spoke arabic, it took her 12 months to acclimatise but by the time she left the school 5 years later she was flying.
     
  9. Firebonish

    Firebonish New Member

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    Nov 28, 2023


    I would also add that you can use various types of visual support, such as pictures, diagrams, and videos, to help them understand the content and literary elements.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
  10. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Great suggestions. I assigned my new Chinese girl a buddy to help with classroom activities. Years later, these girls are still best friends. I also had peer tutors, parent volunteers and cross-age tutors help with language development using look-say books and just walking around the classroom/school identifying objects, places and actions.

    The key to rapid success is to not let your ESL student decide it's ok to disengage. If you were suddenly in a class where everyone only spoke Turkish, you'd get bored and quit listening. We can't let this happen to our ESL students.
     
  11. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    With the Thai girl I would also print out phrases and key words in Thai and tape them to the assessment papers. Amazingly when she was assessed at level 3 in most subjects she was level 5 in science. (These are Uk levels, level 3 would be about 4th grade in the US, level 5 would be 8th grade)
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 29, 2023

    I’m so thankful that I speak Spanish. Our school gets quite a few students who are from Mexico and Guatemala. They speak zero English, but pick it up pretty quickly (I teach first grade and they’re little sponges).

    Last year, I received a student from Yemen. She spoke very little English. I used a lot of pictures (thankfully, our ELA program comes with a lot of picture cards to introduce vocabulary). She was very motivated to learn English and had a great year!
     
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