How to Teach English as a Second Language to Kids

If you are a native speaker of English language, you might not understand how and why the language would be so difficult for foreigners to learn.

Teachers and educationalists in charge of foreign students who are not native English speakers might wonder how best to go about teaching children who have little knowledge of the English language.

The importance of language is ever present in institutions of learning. Language serves as a barrier in terms of communication; for both the teachers and the students. However, the good news is that it is easier to teach younger children English as a second language, even as they learn other academic work. You might be surprised that your young students pick up on the language more quickly than they adapt to other things that come with moving to a whole new country; such as the culture shock.

With patience and the right approach to teaching your students, your English language learners will grasp the language and show promising signs of improvement before you know it.

English as a Second Language in Schools

While there are some teaching requirements that are constant across the board, the approach that your school, state, or even your area takes in teaching ESL to children varies slightly. For example, the resources and materials available to each school, state or district might vary, and in some private institutions, there are no arrangements made for ESL at all.

However, no matter where you school or teach, the following models should be applied in teaching ESL:

  • Pull-Out versus ESL Push-In Services

Teachers taking students on ESL pulls another student from other regular classes to join in on the ESL class. This service is referred to as pull-out service; and works well as the student helps those who need support in learning the language.

Push-in service, on the other hand, is a situation where a member of staff joins the general teacher to teach students ESL. This method requires cooperation between the two teachers, and the students benefit from the regular teachings from their general education, and also the services the ESL instructor provides for the students who need special assistance.

  • Resource Rooms
  • When foreign students move to a new country, some understand the basics of the language, while some others know nothing at all about the language. Schools ought to make provisions for non-English speaking students. Special instructors, kids learning videos and resource classes should be organized for the students, so that they can have a quicker understanding of the English language.
    • Bilingual and Dual Language Programs

To help your non-English speaking students learn ESL, organize lessons where your native speaking students learn a foreign language. For example, if your Spanish students take lessons on ESL, English speaking students should also take classes on Spanish as a second language.

This strategy not only helps your students feel more comfortable learning a new language, it also teaches them that bilingualism is important, and they can appreciate more than one language.

Strategies to Promote ESL Teachings in Younger Students

  • Buddy System

The buddy system has been tested and confirmed in many different cases, and this is another place where it has proven to be successful. Find the strongest learners in your class who display good signs of leadership, and pair them with other students who might be struggling with learning the language.

  • Use Technology
  • These days, things have been made easier for everyone with technology and apps. Don’t shy away from using educational apps with English language reading worksheets to help your students learn English as a second language. Apps you can try out include:
    • Grammar Up
    • Google Translate
    • Duolingo

Teaching students can be exhausting and requires an abundance of patience, but teaching ESL requires double patience, and can get overwhelming for general education teachers. However, teachers and parents should not forget that there are a lot of tricks and tips you can use to make the process easier and more productive for both you and your young learners.

Published by
Lisa Eclesworth

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