Resources for Teaching Newcomers and Culturally

Diverse Students

Welcome! Here, you will find classroom resources for researchers, teachers, and teacher-educators to develop their professional knowledge around teaching diverse learners.

In multicultural societies it is essential for teachers to create a warm and welcoming environment for newcomer students in their classrooms. This includes using teaching methods that engage and educate both newcomer and national students simultaneously. Finding the resources and learning the methods to help every student can be a challenge. Below are samples of some of the teaching methods, resources and tips that can help teachers better teach their classes.

This page provides useful references including articles and books on various aspects of teaching English Language Learners in education.  The material presented are divided into five major themes  representing various aspects or dimensions of diversity such as teacher diversity, methods and approaches of teaching diversity, problems and issues, nature research on diversity, and various perspectives on diversifying the teaching force.

To quickly access a specific theme listed below, simply click on the theme and you will be linked to that section of the bibliography.

Teacher Education

Adler, S. M. (2011). Teacher epistemology and collective narratives: Interrogating teaching and diversity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(3), 609-618.

Denson, N., & Chang, M. J. (2009). Racial diversity matters: The impact of diversity-related student engagement and institutional context. American Educational Research Journal, 46(2), 322-353.

Dogra, N., & Carter-Pokras, O. (2005). Stakeholder views regarding cultural diversity teaching outcomes: A qualitative study. BMC Medical Education, 5(1), 37-37.

See more

Gagné, A. & Soto Gordon, S. (2009). Growing New Roots: Reflections of Immigrant Teenagers in Canada. In Rolheiser, C. (Ed.) Teacher Education: School Improvement and Teacher Education: Collaboration for Change. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Hunter O’Hara. (2006). Diversity education teacher preparation. Multicultural Education, 14(1), 39.

John, J. B. (2003). Rewards of teaching diversity. Multicultural Education, 10(3), 31.

Lynn, M. (1998). Teaching through diversity. College Teaching, 46(4), 123-127.

Lynn, M. (1998). Teaching through diversity. College Teaching, 46(4), 123-27.

Milner, H. R. (2010). What does teacher education have to do with teaching? implications for diversity studies. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 118-131

Robert, D. W. (2002). Teaching tolerance. Teacher Librarian, 30(2), 53.

Rod Parker-Rees. (1997). Back to good teaching: Diversity within tradition of students and instructors. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 26(3), 322-334.

Xu, S. H. (2001). Exploring diversity issues in teacher education. Reading Online, 5(1)

Methods and Approaches of Teaching Diversity

Allan, J. (2011). Responsibly competent: Teaching, ethics and diversity. Policy Futures in Education, 9(1), 130-137.

Allen, J. D., & Porter, O. F. (2002). Teaching about diversity issues. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 38(3), 128-33.

Bamberg, R., Pitts, B. B., & Maloney, E. M. (2002). Curriculum resources for cultural diversity education. Journal of Allied Health [NLM – MEDLINE], 31(2), 117.

See more

Benincasa, L. (2002). Teaching preschoolers about diversity: A view from greece. Journal of Education for Teaching, 28(2), 103-22.

Bierema, L. L. (2010). Diversity education: Competencies and strategies for educators. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(3), 312-331.

Border, L. L. B. (1999). Taking diversity seriously: New developments in teaching for diversity. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1999(80), 83-89.

Boris, E. R., Masako, R. O., & Christopher, M. W. (2011). 2011 APSA teaching and learning conference track summaries: Track: Diversity, inclusiveness, and equality. PS, Political Science & Politics, 44(3), 657.

Boysen, G. A. (2011). Diversity topics covered in teaching of psychology courses. Teaching of Psychology, 38(2), 89-93.

Chang, J. (2006). A transcultural wisdom bank in the classroom: Making cultural diversity a key resource in teaching and learning. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(4), 369-377.

D. L. N. (2006). Linguistic diversity and teaching

Dawson, B. L., Thomas, K. M., & Ny, M. T. (2010). An inclusive strategy of teaching diversity. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(3), 295-311.

Dogra, N., Conning, S., Gill, P., Spencer, J., & Turner, M. (2005). Teaching of cultural diversity in medical schools in the united kingdom and republic of ireland: Cross sectional questionnaire survey. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 330(7488), 403-404.

Dogra, N., & Karnik, N. (2004). Teaching cultural diversity to medical students. Medical Teacher, 26(8), 677-677.

Dogra, N., Reitmanova, S., & Carter-Pokras, O. (2010). Teaching cultural diversity: Current status in U.K., U.S., and canadian medical schools. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 25 Suppl 2, 8-168.

Dora Pulido-Tobiassen, & Janet Gonzalez-Mena. (1999). Teaching diversity: A place to begin. Scholastic Early Childhood Today, 14(3), 44.

Elhoweris, H., Whittaker, C. R., & Salend, S. (2009). Religious diversity in schools: Addressing the issues. Intervention in School and Clinic, 44(5), 314-319.

Gasker, J., & LaBarre, H. A. C. (2010). The elephant in the room: Understanding barriers to students’ articulation of diversity. Creative Education, 1(2), 69-74.

Government of Manitoba, Ministry of Education and Advanced Learning. (2015). Building Hope: Refugee Learner Narratives. Online resource: 

Green, C., & Sandra, B. O. (2005). Teaching religious diversity through children’s literature. Childhood Education, 81(4), 209.

Hughes, P., & MacNaughton, G. (2007). Teaching respect for cultural diversity in australian early childhood programs: A challenge for professional learning. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 5(2), 189-204.

Hume, E. (2001). Teaching about diversity

James, D. A., & Olivia, F. P. (2002). Teaching about diversity issues. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 38(3), 128.

Johnson, L. (2002). Art-centered approach to diversity education in teaching and learning. Multicultural Education, 9(4), 18-21.

Johnson, S. A., & Romanello, M. L. (2005). Generational diversity: Teaching and learning approaches. Nurse Educator, 30(5), 212.

Kubal, T., Stone, R. T., Meyler, D., & Mauney, T. T. (2003). Teaching diversity and learning outcomes: Bringing lived experience into the classroom. TEACHING SOCIOLOGY, 31(4), 441-455.

Lee, J., Kane, J., Drane, D., & Kane, R. (2009). Seeing is believing: Using film for teaching issues of diversity in sport. Journal of Hospitality Leisure Sport & Tourism Education, 8(1), 97-107.

Limburg, F., & Clark, C. (2006). Diversity initiatives in higher education: Teaching multicultural education online. Multicultural Education, 13(3), 49.

Marks, A. R. (2005). Desperately seeking diversity. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 115(3), 480-480.

McDonald, K. S., & Hite, L. M. (2010). Diversity in the HRD curriculum: Concluding thoughts and next steps. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(3), 385-391.

Mitry, D. J. (2008). Using cultural diversity in teaching economics: Global business implications. Journal of Education for Business, 84(2), 84-89.

Nancy, T. N., Sharon, L. Y., Chanel, F. A., & Assemi, M. (2009). Fostering and managing diversity in schools of pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 73(8), 1.

Ofori-Dankwa, J., & Lane, R. W. (2000). Four approaches to cultural diversity: Implications for teaching at institutions of higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 5(4), 493-99.

Pass, S. (2009). Teaching respect for diversity: The oglala lakota. Social Studies, 100(5), 212-217.

Salma, I. G. (1999). Teaching about culture, ethnicity & diversity

Sharma, S. (2006). Teaching diversity–Im/Possible pedagogy. Policy Futures in Education, 4(2), 203-216.

Stewart, M. M., Crary, M., & Humberd, B. K. (2008). Teaching value in diversity: On the folly of espousing inclusion, while practicing exclusion. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(3), 374-386.

Trends, Problems and Issues

Various Authors. (2014). Race and Equality Teaching Journal, 32(3). Available to buy here.

Click here for titles in this issue

Sameena Choudry: Watching and checking on progress

Artemi Sakellariadis: Issuing a ticket but keeping the door locked

Catherine McNamara and Jay Stewart: One person’s journey at one school

Karamat Iqbal: Working out what to do with us immigrants

Gilroy Brown and Maurice Irfan Coles: Our children should know themselves

Mark Jennett: Pink is for girls and jobs are for boys

Sue Sanders and Arthur Sullivan: The long shadow of Section 28

Lizz Bennett and Laura Pidcock: Critical thinking and safe spaces

Sarah Soyei, Kate Hollinshead and Yvette Thomas: Identity-based bullying


Bierema, L. L. (2010). Resisting HRD’s resistance to diversity. Journal of European Industrial Training, 34(6), 565-576.

Cross, M. (2004). Institutionalising campus diversity in south african higher education: Review of diversity scholarship and diversity education. Higher Education, 47(4), 387-410.

Infusing tolerance, diversity, and social personal curriculum into inclusive social studies classes using family portraits and contextual teaching and learning. (2005). Teaching Exceptional Children, 37(4), 59. 

See more

R, F. L. (2011). Raising the bar on diversity. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 28(11), 23.

Roeck, K. T. (2009). Embracing diversity. Journal of LGBT Youth, 6(1), 1-6.

Sobel, D. M., Taylor, S. V., & Anderson, R. E. (2003). Shared accountability: Encouraging diversity-responsive teaching in inclusive contexts. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 35(6), 46-54.

Nature of Research on Diversity

Black, T., & Rangarajan, N. (2007). Exploring organizational barriers to diversity: A case study of the new york state education department. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 27(3), 249-263.

Castro, A. J. (2010). Themes in the research on preservice teachers’ views of cultural diversity: Implications for researching millennial preservice teachers. Educational Researcher, 39(3), 198-210.

Deakins, E. (2009). Helping students value cultural diversity through research-based teaching. Higher Education Research & development, 28(2), 209-226.

See more

Glick, B. J., & Day, N. E. (2000). Teaching diversity: A study of organizational needs and diversity curriculum in higher education. Journal of Management Education, 24(3), 338-352.

Jones, H. (2004). A research-based approach on teaching to diversity. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(1), 12-19.

Lumby, J., Sood, K., & Morrison, M. (2006). Diversity and diversity management: Messages from recent research. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 34(3), 277-295.

Mack, K. (2000). Teaching evidence: Inference, proof and diversity. Legal Education Review, 11(1), 57.

Marbley, A., Burley, H., Bonner,Fred A.,,II, & Ross, W. (2010). Teaching diversity across disciplines: Reflections from african-american faculty in four different academic settings. Educational Forum, 74(1), 63-80.

Nelson Laird, T.,F. (2011). Measuring the diversity inclusivity of college courses. Research in Higher Education, 52(6), 572-588.

Northedge, A. (2003). Rethinking teaching in the context of diversity. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(1), 17-32.

Suyemoto, K. L., & Kiang, P. N. (2003). Diversity research as service learning. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 7(2), 71-75.

Williams, R., & Dogra, N. (2006). Applying policy and evidence in developing cultural diversity teaching in undergraduate medical education in the UK. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 2(4), 463-463.

Perspectives on Diversity

Avery, D. R., King, E. B., & Gulick, L. M. V. (2010). The divide between diversity training and diversity education: Integrating best practices. Journal of Management Education, 34(6), 891-906.

Bailey, W. J., LaFasto, F., Henry, G. S., & Kelly, D. (1992). Diversity: introduction: Diversity, an old issue with a new face. Human Resource Management (1986-1998), 31(1-2), 21.

Cook, A., & Callister, R. R. (2010). Increasing positive perceptions of diversity for religious conservative students. Creative Education, 1(2), 93-100.

See more

Daniel, F. (2011). Diversity as technology: A new perspective. Journal of Diversity Management, 6(2), 31.

Durska, M. (2009). Diversity management: Key concepts. Kobieta i Biznes, (1-4), 36.

Karl, A. S., & Toni, A. H. M. (2000). Diversity. Journal of Engineering Education, 89(3), 257.

M, T. B., Rebecca, J. O., & Condon, D. (2010). Diversity management: Seeking validation. Journal of Diversity Management, 5(1), 23.

McDonald, K. S., & Hite, L. M. (2010). Perspectives on HRD and diversity education. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(3), 283-294.

Sheets, R. H. (2009). What is diversity pedagogy? Multicultural Education, 16(3), 11-17.

Sheila Littlejohn-Blake. (2004). Celebrate diversity. Childhood Education, 80(3), 146D.

Skerrett, A. (2009). Biographical orientations to secondary english teaching within a mosaic context of diversity. English Education, 41(3), 281-303.

Smolen, L. A., Colville-Hall, S., Liang, X., & Donald, S. M. (2006). An empirical study of college of education Faculty’s perceptions, beliefs, and commitment to the teaching of diversity in teacher education programs at four urban universities. The Urban Review, 38(1), 45-61.

Young, M. A., Madsen, J., & Young, B. L. (2010). Implementing diversity plans: Principals’ perception of their ability to address diversity in their schools. NASSP Bulletin, 94(2), 135-157.

Multimedia References Related to Teaching Diversity

The following are additional videos and other multimedia references on topics related to teaching diversity :

Powerpoint Presentations:

Learners With Interruptions in their Formal Schooling: A Comparative Case Study of Two Teachers’ Classrooms

By Ranya Khan

Developing Immigrant Learners’ Academic Expertise Through the Promotion of Identities of Competence

By Sunny Man Chu Lau

More Than English Proficiency: ESL Adolescents’ Peer Network and English Use in the GTA

By Yasmin Quian

Social Integration of Immigrant Adolescents in Secondary Schools in Regional Quebec

By Marilyn Steinbach


Various Videos — Diversity in Teaching Resources (Research Conducted by OISE)

Growing New Roots Video Project 

The Growing New Roots Video series introduces the experiences of immigrant teenagers and families within the Canadian education system. Please click below to access various videos.

High School Culture and Social Justice Club Video Project 

This video project explores students’ experiences in the various cultural, religious or social justice clubs, and the effect of club participation on identity and intercultural communicative competence development as well as learning about the world beyond. 



Various Videos — External Resources 

• Impact of Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism on Teaching and Learning

• Learning, Teaching, and Diversity Dilemmas: Making Complex Connections in (Teacher) Education

• Educating Teachers for Diversity

• The Teaching Landscape: Sharon G. Flake on Diversity and Young Adult Literature (IUP-TV)

• Teaching Diversity to High School Students ( Teens ) Featuring Ty Howard

• SOT: FTL by Beaconhouse — “Diversity & Innovation in Teacher Education” (part 1)

• SOT: FTL by Beaconhouse — “Diversity & Innovation in Teacher Education”(part 2)

• SOT: FTL by Beaconhouse — “Diversity & Innovation in Teacher Education” (part 3)

• Inclusion and Diversity in Education – interviews with participating head teachers

• How Do Teachers Serve Linguistically Diverse Learners and Those with Special Needs

• Effective teaching in diverse classrooms

• Teaching Tolerance Award Winner Silvestre Arcos

• Teaching Tolerance Award Winner Soñia Galaviz

• Teaching Tolerance Award Winner Tracy Oliver-Gary

• Teaching Tolerance Award Winner Amber Makaiau

• Teaching Tolerance Award Winner Katy LaCroix

• Teaching Artists: Diversity in Arts Education

• Strategies for Teaching Diverse Learners edpsych 154

• Teaching – why should teachers respect diversity and promote equality?

• Community and Corps Diversity

• Diversity in Teaching: ESL Students

• CA Elementary School Teaching Kids About Gender Diversity

• Exploring Diversity in the Classroom

• 2007 White Teachers/ Diverse Classrooms Preview of DVD

• Diversity in the Classroom

• Teaching Tolerance and Embracing Diversity

• What Diversity Means To Me

• Diversity teacher

• Effective Teaching in Diverse Classrooms

• Whole Brain Teaching: The Basics

• 360 Diversity: Prof Tom Collins


A synthesis of research evidence: Black and minority ethnic (BME) students’ participation in higher education: Improving retention and success

Dr Gurnam Singh, Coventry University.

Dr. Gurnam Singh (2011) provides  a rich summary of resources related to black and minority students’ participation in higher education (HE).  In particular, this article presents an annotated bibliography or brief summaries of a selection of some of the key sources of data that address most directly the issue of BME student experience and attainment in HE.

This article is useful for teachers in higher education who are dealing with diverse student population.  As presented by Dr Gurnam Singh,  this article may not be an exhaustive list but the materials offer a plethora of evidence from which a range of policies and practices on teaching second language education and cultural diversity issues in tertiary education can be developed. The resources are listed in chronological order for quick referencing according to date of publication for use by researchers and second language educators.

The major findings of Dr Singh’s study on BME students’  participation in higher education  can be found on the link below:

The Student-Centered Classroom

by Leo Jones

Jones (2007)  describes the characteristics of  ‘student-centered classroom’ in the specific context of second language teaching and learning.  According to Jones, “a student-centered approach helps students develop a ‘can-do’ attitude.  It is effective, motivating, and enjoyable (p.1)”

The purpose of this booklet is to discuss how this approach can be implemented, present potential problems that may arise in student-centered classroom,  and offer suggestions how to deal with those problems. Interesting topics are presented into several chapters including autonomous learning, classroom management, motivation,  fluency and accuracy, teacher’s role as facilitator, and different kind of activities that can be used in language classrooms.

The booklet offers many helpful tips for both teacher-learners and teacher-educators who are working with English Language Learners (ELLs).  The suggested classroom activities can be a useful guide for teacher’s lesson planning activities and provides practical suggestions how to manage language classes.  This booklet is available online at:

Leo Jones (2007).  The student-centered classroom.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

General and Detailed Lesson Plans

The following are a collection of ESL teaching strategies that can be applied to various grades and subjects. They are divided between general ideas for the classroom and detailed lesson plans for ELL teachers.

General Ideas

All Grade Levels

Helpful Strategies Brainstorm
Submitted by: Mira

A Visit to the Textile Museum
Submitted by: Radu Prelipcean

A Visual Arts Trip
Submitted by: Radu Prelipcean

English Captain
Submitted by: Rena Banks

Continue the Discussion Activity
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

Count to Ten
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

List Poetry Lesson
Submitted by: Andrea Emanuel

Body Numbers
Submitted by: Joan

Rhythm of Music K-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

First Nation Peoples & Storytelling

Submitted by: Erika Carlson

Primary/Junior Grade Level

A Day in the Park
Submitted by: Natalie G.

BONK, Grades K-3
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

Neighbourhood Mural K-6
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

The three R’s (recycle, reuse, reduce) Grade 1-6
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Various Lines and Colours Grade 1
Submitted by: Vittoria La Neve & Hun-Sun Ng

International Jumping Game: “Varra” (Albania) Grade 2
Submitted by: Faizah Mitha

Volleyball Lesson Grade 4-5
Submitted by: Kelly Colucci

Being a Canadian Citizen Grade 4-6
Submitted by: Tetyana Ryaboshapko

Language Arts – Grade 5 – How to Write a Business Letter
Submitted by: Pauline Chronakis & Tricia Lee

Pourquoi Tales Grade 5
Submitted by: Elisabeth Leggett

Art with Feeling Grade 6
Submitted by: Matt Stockburn

ESL Lesson Idea (Short Story) Grade 6
Submitted by: Dwayne Tyson

Intermediate/Senior Grade Level

“Other” Famous Mathematicians
Submitted by: None

Today’s Target Grade 4-12

Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Finding Out About Your Pulse Grade 4-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

The Food Groups Grade 5-9
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Families on display: an introduction to the study of families Grade 5-11
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

The newspaper Grade 6-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Interviewing Grade 6-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

English Grade 9
Submitted by: Janice Stainton

Volume and Base Area of Prisms and Cylinders Grade 9
Submitted by: None

Jam Circle: Music Grade 10
Submitted by: Jeff Wolosewich

Career Studies Grade 10
Submitted by: S.Wong

Canadian History  – The Great Depression Grade 10
Submitted by: Paolo Artale and Grace Ventura

Career Exploration Grade 10
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

The Life of Malcolm X Grade 10-12
Submitted by: N. Charles

Energy Consumption Grade 10-12
Submitted by: N. Charles

Movie Production Grade 11-12
Submitted by: N. Charles

Major theories in the organization of Families Grade 11-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles


Detailed Lesson Plans

All Grade Levels

Celebrating Diversity (review)
Submitted by: None

Moving Stories
Submitted by: none

Cut and Paste Poetry
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

Submitted by: Lorna

Making Art with Writing
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

A Field Trip to the Textile Museum
Submitted by: Radu Prelipcean

Peace Plan (wrong link?)
Submitted by: Erika Carlson

Primary/Junior Grade Level

What time is it Mr. Wolf? K-6
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Measurement Grades 1-6
Submitted by: Kristina Jenkins

Introduction to Graphing Grade 1
Submitted by: Heather Ichiyen

2-D Shapes Grade 2
Submitted by: Faizah Mitha

Landscape Painting Grade 2
Submitted by: K Ng

Modified Lesson Plan: Grade 3 Math
Submitted by: Ken Chiu & Leanne Dumitru

Gr. 4 Visual Arts
Submitted by: A. Grimwood Wilson

Decimals Grades 4-8
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Shapes Grades 5-8
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Mathematics – Fun with Fractions Grade 5
Submitted by: Francesca Lavecchia & Angela Dinneen

Lesson Ideas: Gr. 5 Science – human body (circulation and blood)
Submitted by: Leanne Castorina and Rachel Ziatas

Identifying the Classics Grade 5
Submitted by: Erika Carlson

A day in the life of a Wendat person” Grade 6
Submitted by: Karena Schneider, Maria Antoniou

Postcards from Afar Grade 6
Submitted by: Erika Carlson

Meaningful Music Grade 6
Submitted by: Matt Stockburn

Newspaper and Its Integrative Function Grades 6-7
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Intermediate/Senior Grade Level

Brainstorming for the preparation for writing Grade 6-12
Submitted by: Natalia Charles

Historica Fair Research Project Grade 7 or 8
Submitted by: Rowe

Submitted by: Nancy Hamel

Family Studies – Food and Nutrition Grades 9/10
Submitted by: L.Cheng

Jam Circle: Music Grade Ten
Submitted by: Jeff Wolosewich

Poetic Balderdash  Grade 10
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

Web page creation Grade 10-12
Submitted by: N.Charles

Collaborative Writing Grade 11
Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

Sketching graphs of polynomial functions
Submitted by: Gregory Sperlin

Newspaper and Its Integrative Function (review)
Submitted by: L.Cheng

Quick Tips

1) The Teacher’s Use of Language

Understanding how to use spoken language in the classroom is essential for ESL classrooms. Tone, speed and complexity of language can effect the successfulness of a lesson. 

Read more..
How a teacher speaks in class can make all the difference for ELL students. Many ELL students describe having trouble understanding their teachers as a major impediment to their learning. For teachers, especially those in combined classes, understanding how to make classes more comprehensible can be a daunting task. With a subject’s technical language and a teacher’s comfort with the subject’s complexity, teachers have trouble bridging the gap between themselves and their students. However, accommodating ELL students doesn’t need to be a difficult labour and can improve the understanding of all students in a class.

The first step to appropriately teaching students is understanding your rate of speech. Many new teachers make a common mistake by either speaking too slow or too fast. many teacher speak to slow and over simplify their language leaving out the articles “a, the, his or her,”mimicking the patterns in which their students speak. This is a counter productive behavior because it fails to model the correct use of the English language. Moreover, it can be very degrading to students to be talked down to in this way. The problem with faster speech is the complexity of sentence structure and speed together. Most students, especially at higher levels, can understand spoken English at regular speed. However, complex sentences with multiple clauses or new vocabulary can cause confusion and reduce communication.

To resolve these problems, teachers ought to speak at a regular pace, taking short pauses at the end of sentences. These pauses allow students to digest the information contained in the sentence and can help non-ELL students by giving them time to reflect and engage with the content as well. If a teacher uses technical vocab in a sentence, writing down the word and it’s meaning on a word wall, can give students a point of reference for the future and allow for retention of the word.

Asking students to explain an idea back can also help ELL students. Not only does it demonstrate the comprehension of concept, it also provides a different way of phrasing an idea that may be more comprehensible to some in the class and models a different way of phrasing to for ELL students that they may use in the future.

Teachers ought to avoid the use of idioms. Phrases like “scrapping a paper,” “breaking from (tradition),” and other such language are considered idioms. They are phrases that don’t mean what the parts of the sentence mean. As such, students find it very difficult to understand what the phrase exactly means. However, idioms are a favorite topic among ELL students and ought to be taught explicitly and separately in an ELL class.

When giving instructions, use statements rather than questions, especially with newer ELL students. As a way of being polite, native English speakers phrase commands as questions; “Can you take out your books?” “Could you please sit down?” However, this way of speaking is not necessarily familiar to ELL students and can lead to miscommunication. Being direct and using the imperative form will be more effective.

In multiple step instructions, teachers ought to write out the steps on the board sequentially. This will allow ELL students a place to refer back to and can also help students with ADD or ADHD.

Teachers are also advised to explicitly use body language when teaching. This can include simple things like pointing, to certain faces, to all out acting a concept. Such non-verbal communication can overcome the barrier between teacher and student, engaging the student in learning.

Finally, use humor sparingly. Across cultures, certain jokes or behaviors can mean very different things. For instance, sarcasm can be completely lost on students and be misinterpreted as an attack on a student, other teacher or administration. Moreover, many jokes work by playing on words or cultural ideas that students may not understand. As such, humor is best left out of an ELL classroom aside from when it clearly presents itself.

Most of all, be a model of how to use language. Speak in clear full sentences with fewer clauses and idioms. Speak at a regular speed and explain vocabulary students don’t understand. 

2) The Value of Groups

Knowing how to use group work effectively with ESL students can provide a more inclusive classroom atmosphere, as well as enhanced learning experience. 

Read more..
Using groups and group activities rather than traditional row seating can provide considerable educational benefits to ELL students. In a group setting, students usually hear more spoken language as they negotiate the meaning of an activity or texts. They interact with other class members and learn cultural and social meanings associated with group activities. Most importantly, what they learn from these situations are contextual uses of language.

With group activities, students need to interact with a wide range of different individuals with their own ideas, values and forms of speech. To work effectively in groups, they need to negotiate the meaning of words, phrases, and sentence structures that go beyond the text or contents of the activity. To do this, students rephrase their language modeling different ways of speaking; seek clarification from students exercising questioning skills and learning more than they would from a student-teacher interaction. It can also provide a safe space for students to try out different uses of language with immediate feedback from other students.

Group work also provides students the context in which certain forms of language ought to be used. Knowing how to phrase a question or make a statement to convey a meaning better models the usage of English speakers outside of the classroom. It moves beyond language exercises which construct artificial uses to a more realistic and purposeful use. As such, students can learn the common uses of language, as well as, have a sense of purpose in what they learn.

Moreover, any gaps in a student’s background can be filled in by group work. They can ask their peers questions about social or cultural artifacts that the student doesn’t know. Moreover, they can share their own knowledge to bring a new perspective about a subject and feel rewarded by their peers.

 Tips for group activities

Give clear and simple instructions. Give them in sequences (1,2,3). Moreover, it is strongly suggested that teachers write down the steps of the activity, so that students can refer back to the instructions. (Have students rephrase the instructions to ensure they understand.)

Highlight new vocal and synonyms in texts or activities. Make sure to explain each new word either verbally or through prior activity.

Information gap actives like carousels can enhance the level of discussion and make students use the vocabulary required for the topic.

Remember that with older ELL students you need to give cognitively demanding material with easier language. This may require scaffolding the group lesson to ensure students are intellectually engaged.

3) Scaffolding Methods

Providing intellectually stimulating lessons to students learning English in an English setting can be difficult for many teachers. Appropriate scaffolding can provide a foundation for exciting and engaging lessons that go beyond rote language instruction. 

Read more..
Scaffolding is one of the best ways that a teacher can help ESL students. Scaffolding usually refers to teaching practices that initially set a high goal for students to attain, then, recognizing the skills the students have, build up their skills to meet that goal. To do this, teachers take incremental steps checking for comprehension and attainment of the desired skills.

Every teacher scaffolds their classes differently based on their students. Some ideas for scaffolding can include:

  • Introducing a concept through a mind map, vocabulary list, word wall or group activity
  • Modeling a text or practice through sample materials or demonstrations
  • Highlighting specific themes, mechanisms or ideas in a sample text
  • Providing a structures exercise (fill-in-the-blank, information gap, interview, graphic organizers) to help structure the students understanding of the material
  • Provide group activities that help to correct, improve or reinforce a students understanding of skills and to allow students to try a project with help before doing it individually.
  • After the student demonstrates their knowledge of the material and their skills, give each student an individual project that can show their understanding and skills.
  • Scaffolding is especially beneficial to ELL students because it focuses explicitly on the development of skills through the vehicle of content. Rather than rote exercises, it requires students to activate what they learn in multiple settings and provides more of a authentic experience of mainstream content in school.
  • In addition, the use of scaffolding can be used to provide students with more cognitively challenging exercises without being to heavily dependent on language. This factor is especially important for students of a higher age but of lower English language skills. Those students need to be intellectually engaged and providing scaffolded lessons can help students become better engaged.
  • In groups, scaffolding can take place naturally. In the act of communicating, students frequently will correct each other, ask for clarification and seek to find a negotiated meaning. This gives students the feedback they need to improve their language skills without direct teacher instruction.
  • For all ESL students, certain skills can be beneficial at every level and can provide the tools to problem solve language uncertainties.
  • Teaching prefixes and suffixes can help students deduce the meaning of words in a text. (example: preview, redo, untrue, incomplete, builder, walked)
  • For students from counties with Latin-based languages, teaching cognates can be helpful.
  • Teaching dictionary skills can help students research words they don’t understand and use the dictionary correctly. (Inform students that words have certain connotations that may not be written in the dictionary.)

4) Building Background Knowledge

Each students brings a wealth of resources into a teacher’s class through their background knowledge. However, certain lessons rely on cultural understandings that ESL students may not possess. Building that knowledge and understanding can help improve a student’s understanding of class material.