By Guest Blogger Lani deGuia
As the population of students who are English Language Learners (ELL) continues to rise in the United States, teachers of both English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and general education are in need of resources that can support instruction. These students are unable to communicate and learn effectively in English. National policies are enforcing the need to teach ELL students basic proficiencies in learning the English language while at the same time meeting academic standards. Because standardization of curriculum and limited access to ESL programs and support are leaving many of these students mainstreamed, it is becoming more critical for all teachers to be prepared for minimizing learning disparities. The following is a compilation of research and resources for supporting English language learners from K-12 and adults to help them gain proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The Newly Arrived ESL/ELL Student
It may be difficult to know where to start for a newly arrived ESL/ELL student. Beginning ESL-Secondary (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL–Newly-Arrived/) offers supporting resources and instructional units for when the communication and learning disparity may be at its greatest.
English Language Literacy and Skills
Grammar and structure provides the fundamentals for language acquisition. Whether you are an ESL teacher or general education teacher, you may be in need of instructional resources to help meet a literacy gap for understanding or applying your content. Althabasca University (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Athabasca-University-ESL-Course/) provides a full ESL course curriculum that includes thirteen units of instruction on sentences, structure, form, purpose, reasoning, and more. If you want to increase your students’ ability to recognize commonly used English words, here is a collection of Dolch sight word lists (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Sight-Word-Lists/) for classroom and home use. Are your students having trouble conjugating verbs? Kent Uchiyama compiled a comprehensive reference, English Verb Tenses, specifically for ESL students (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Verb-Tense-Book/).
Listening and Speaking is essential ELL student success. Donna Price of San Diego Community College provides a list of Game-Like Activities to Practice ESL Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Games/) and Jane C. Miller from the Colorado Department of Education offers Listening and Speaking Instructional Activities (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Instructional-Activity-Packet/) Collection of activities for teaching listening and speaking to ESL adult learners.
If your students need extra assistance with pronunciation, check out Pronunciation Practice (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Pronunciation-Practice/) Games, activities, suggestions, and word lists for improving pronunciation. Teaching Pronunciation to Adult English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Teaching-Pronunciation-to-Adult-ELLs/) gives an overview, instructional strategies, and checklists for improving pronunciation for adult ESL students. Teaching Pronunciation (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Teaching-Pronunciation/) provides research and instructional strategies for teaching pronunciation for ESL students using the Prosody Pyramid. Specific American English Pronunciation Challenges for ELL’s : How to Meet These Challenges (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Pronunciation-Challenges/) is a reference guide for research, theory, strategies, and challenges in pronunciation for English language learners that includes specific challenges for specific first languages.
Are your students ready for conversation? Conversation Questions and Activities to Aid in the Learning of English by Prof. Mark McDowell, M.A (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Free-Talk-Handbook/) is a handbook of listening/speaking free talk activities and questions.
Writing effectively can be one of the biggest challenges for English language learners. ESL Writing Resources (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Writing-Reources/) provides a collection of resources to teaching writing to ESL students including newspaper activities, a review of common student errors, and worksheets. Teaching English as a Second Language: Chapter Twelve Teaching Students How to Write (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL–Teaching-Students-How-to-Write/) is a slide presentation that includes strategies for ESL teachers to use for writing instruction.
Cross-curricular ties to other content areas is a great way to engage ELL students. EL Civics ESL Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/EL-CIVICS-for-ESL-STUDENTS/) offers a collection of worksheets to teach civics to ESL students including cloze activities, short stories, crossword puzzles and more that can enhance social studies instruction.
ESL Worksheets, Downloads, and Printables
ELL students may need routine and repeated practice to acquire literacy skills in grammar and writing. The following sites offer a variety of student worksheets and activities to supplement instruction.
Learn English Feel Good ESL Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Learn-English-Feel-Good-ESL-Worksheets/) Collection of worksheets on writing skills, parts of speech, and assessments for advanced and native speakers
ESL Kids Stuff (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Lesson-Plans-for-ESL-Kids-Teachers/) Collection of lesson plans for ESL teachers that also includes flashcards, activities, and crafts
ESL Printables (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Printables/) Resource exchange for ESL worksheets, lessons, activities, and more
Using English: ESL Teacher Handouts (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Teacher-Handouts/) Collection of teacher printables, handouts, and worksheets on grammar
U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (http://www.curriki.org/oer/US-Department-of-Education–The-Office-of-English-Language-Acquisition/) Resources for both parents and students for English language learning.
Grammar Practice Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Grammar-Practice-Worksheets/) Grammar worksheets from ESL Library
Looking for a mobile app or technology tool to increase learning with ELL students? ELevate Success offers a list of iPad Apps for English Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Elevate-Success–iPad-Apps-for-ELs/). This directory of iPad apps can be used for ELL and ESL instruction for K-12 and adult learners.
Apps for English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Apps-for-ELLs/) provides a list of technology tools (including iPad and SMART technology) based on Common Core and ISTE Standards.
Research and Theory
On a final note, understanding the ESL/ELL learner and language instruction will provide the greatest benefit for instruction regardless of what subject area you teach. Whether you have one ELL student or an entire classroom, being knowledgeable of research-based instruction will empower you with effective strategies. Here are several guides and research-based articles on effective approaches to helping children and adults improve their English language proficiency.
Krashens Second Language Acquisition Theory and The Teaching of Edited American English
Supporting English Language Learners: A Practical Guide
Implementing Effective Instruction for English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Implementing-Effective-Instruction-for-ELLs/)
Equity Matters: From English Language Learners to Emergent Bilinguals (http://www.curriki.org/oer/From-ELLs-to-Emergent-Bilinguals/)
Assessment of English Language Learners: The Bridge to Educational Equity (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Assessment-of-English-Language-Learners–The-Bridge-to-Educational-Equity/)
Visual Aids in the ESL Classroom (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Visual-Aids-in-the-ESL-Classroom/) Collection of articles and research on effective use of media, audio, and visual elements for ESL learners
Sheltered Instruction: Best Practices for ELLs in the Mainstream (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Sheltered-Instruction–Best-Practices-for-ELLs-in-the-Mainstream/)