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Essential Strategies for teaching ELLs

From Don Bouchard : The practices mentioned incorporate important principles for contextualizing language and content for ELLs . . . explicitness, formal language register, collaborative learning, cognitive and linguistic processing, and expanded language use.
Post Objectives
Always post the content objective and the language objective when delivering a lesson. Consider also including a social objective which defines the interactional nature of the lesson.
4 domains
Always integrate the four language domains - listening, speaking, reading, writing.
What's the vocab?
When delivering a lesson, frontload your teaching by paying attention to the language (words and expressions) you use. Explain and write on the board for clarification; avoid idioms and slurred language.
Use clear, unambiguous referents when delivering a
lesson, e.g., avoid pronouns and use explicit, targeted words.
Use academic language
Use the academic register , i.e., the language of written, formal English, when delivering a lesson.
When delivering a lesson, assign a 'process partner' and periodically ask the partners to explain what you have taught to each other. Ask for clarifying questions afterwards.
Ask questions @ all Bloom's levels
Pose questions that span the range of Bloom's Taxonomy in cognitive demand.
Post Bloom's prompts
Post Bloom's labeled question prompts and stand by them when posing questions.
Eliminate ask/answer/ask/answer
Avoid the "popcorn" pattern of questioning: teacher
response, student response, teacher response, student response, etc.
Ask open ended questions
Avoid asking close‐ended, yes/no questions
Flexible seating
Use flexible seating for a range of interactions
Wait Time II
Engage in Wait Time II: in addition to waiting for a
student response (Wait Time I), pause after a student replies to encourage expanded use of English.
Wait for students to respond
Allow for other student responses before inserting your own.
Assign roles
Teach collaborative routines and always assign everyone a role in group tasks.
Try it a few times
Engage learners with several experiences of an activity type before you consider rejecting it.
Heterogeneous grouping
The evidence is overwhelming that students of
all abilities perform better in heterogeneous groupings; as a result avoid homogeneous groupings.
Repeat & elaborate
Shape student responses by repeating the answer and
elaborating with expanded language.
Checking for understanding
Periodically ask learners if they understand, with hand
signals (5=completely understand; 4=almost completely; 1=not understood, etc.)
Academic language
Expect students to use academic language.
Clarify in L1
Allow learners to clarify and/or explain concepts in their home language; since they must eventually respond in English, this can help them 'jumpstart' their understanding.
Post content specific academic vocab
Post content‐related unit vocabulary in the classroom.
Post common content‐ related 'sentence‐starters' in
the classroom.
Post language to use
Post and use academic language category words when delivering a lesson, such as, main idea words, introductions, conclusions; comparing and contrasting idea words, connecting idea words
Teach & review vocab
Always teach and review vocabulary when delivering a
lesson. Remember the rule: 24/48/7/14.
At grade level or above read content‐related material aloud to the class.
Frontloading Vocabulary
Always preface a reading requirement by frontloading
vocabulary, engagement in topic related activities, and skimming for general information.
Require a writing journal and regularly provide a content‐related prompt for response.
Ticket to leave
Use a 'ticket to leave' at the end of a lesson, i.e., have
learners summarize in writing what they have learned.
Promote reflection after every lesson, i.e., an
examination of how students view their own learning.
One of the most important activity types for processing content learning and engaging in language growth is summarizing. Seek out and use them!
These activities are vitally important for ELLs to learn language meaningfully and comprehensibly as they engage in content learning.