Teach ESL Lesson Plans
English as a Second Language (ESL) students are becoming more prevalent in our schools as the educational system is becoming more multiculturally oriented. Teaching ESL students requires some different techniques than teaching students whose first language is English. It is important to use specific techniques in order to ensure your ESL lesson plan is geared specifically toward ESL students so they have an equal chance of learning the necessary material to excel in the educational system, and ultimately within society as a whole.
1. Use visuals in your lesson plan design. Help ESL students make connections to unknown vocabulary words or phrases by implementing the use of graphic organizers, KWL charts, Venn diagrams or story maps. This will enable students to connect visually to the material and absorb the information more easily. In addition, use video or PowerPoint presentations in your ESL lesson plans whenever possible.
2. Have dictionaries in the class that have the ESL students’ languages. If they need to look up a word, they will be able to do so using their primary language first. This will enable them to make cognitive connections and help them feel culturally valued.
3. Pair students with others who speak the same language. If this is not possible, put the ESL students in a supportive group to complete assignments. This gives them a support system and makes them feel less isolated.
4. Create a lesson plan that involves students in researching different cultures. This helps students to become more culturally sensitive and will help ESL students with assimilation into the classroom environment.
5. Use manipulatives that require hands-on involvement. This helps ESL students to make a bodily/kinesthetic connection and deepens their understanding of the material. Also include songs, theater and hands-on activities to help create a audial and kinesthetic connection.
6. Give ESL students more time and specific praise when implementing ESL lesson plans. This enables them to finish the assignment without feeling undue pressure. Be sure the praise is genuine and hold them up to the same academic expectations that you would English language speakers.
7. Model the assignment for the students to be sure the lesson plan steps and expectations are clear. ESL students in particular should have a clear understanding of the expected outcome of the lesson plan in order to succeed.
8. Read aloud, echo read and choral read to help ESL students to become familiar with the vocabulary, phrasing and intonation that is involved in speaking English. The more they are exposed to the sounds of English, the more adept they will become.
9. Create a lesson plan that uses many of the above methods for best results. When teaching the lesson plan, modify as needed to meet the needs of the ESL students. ESL lesson plans should include a combination of cognitive, audial, bodily/kinesthetic and visual material to be most effective.