Effective Communication

The links on this page connect to responses I gave to assignments in my TESOL courses. They show what I know about communicating with English language learners, their parents, faculty and other professionals and the public regarding English language learning.

English Language Learners

The following link is my response to an article describing several things all teachers of ELLs should know:

What All Teachers Should Know about ELLs

In addition to these recommendations, creating an environment in which ELLs feel relaxed and supported is important to me for helping them progress. Most people would admit that if they feel nervous, or afraid, it is difficult for them to concentrate. Researcher Stephen Krashen formalized this phenomenon by calling it an "affective filter." I help ease my ELLs' nerves by greeting them as they enter the class and asking them about their moods. I modify the pace and level of my speech depending on their aural comprehension level. I make sure not to put them on the spot with difficult questions in front of their peers, and I assign them a language buddy who is willing to help explain instructions and assignments.

The saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," is so true for ELLs. In my journal from my year as an exchange student in Germany, I noted that the first class I was able to understand was Geography. No wonder; the teacher constantly referenced huge, multi-colored maps as he spoke. He also had a natural tendency to speak slowly and emphasize certain words for effect. I never really understood my Math class. I now know that the intensely abstract nature of mathematics was the reason. To support my ELLs at all their levels of proficiency, I use graphic organizers, realia, drawings on the whiteboard, and colorful PowerPoint presentations.

Parents of ELLs

This link is my response to an article stating how important it is for parents to support their children in maintaining and improving their native language as well as English.

Support Children's Mother Tongue

This link is a handout for parents of ELLs attending an English medium university. I created this based on another article I read for class.

Advice for Parents of ELLs

Non-native English speaking parents can feel left out of the loop regarding their students' education. Being able to speak Spanish has been invaluable for me communicating with the numerous Spanish-speaking parents at my school. My school also has several office staff available to translate during parent-teacher conferences. School communications are routinely printed in English and Spanish.

Faculty and other Professionals

Many misconceptions exist about language learning. This assignment debunks many common myths held by education professionals.

Myths About Language Learning

When it comes to providing services to ELLs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for students or schools. This chart details several possible models.

Content-Centered Language Learning Chart

The Public

A common cry heard from the public is that to speak English is American. This link shows some fascinating facts I learned about language diversity in the U.S.

Language Diversity in the U.S.

As long as public education exists, the public will express and/or enforce its opinion about English language learners. I include this link about language learning myths again because many heated debates could be avoided if the public were better informed about the education of English language learners. As a teacher of ELLs I often find myself using this information to defend English language learners in discussions with people who discover I teach them.

Myths About Language Learning