Supporting New ESL / ELL Students in the Classroom

I have worked education for a long time. First as a school support officer (SSO) in libraries before moving in the classroom to support students with learning or behaviour difficulties and finally becoming a teacher.

In all that time there was one area of assisting students that I found very difficult: communicating with them when they didn't speak English.

Each time I was assigned to work with an English as a Second Language (ESL) student I would sigh. Not because I didn't like working with them but because I knew that the student would have moments they would be as frustrated as I was with the language barrier.

I recall one such example of a student moving into a grade 8 class from China. The student spoke no English and carried a Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary everywhere they went. It helped for basic words but one math lesson I had to try an explain why half a year is calculated using 0.5 and not 0.6. Their reasoning was simple: 12 / 2 = 6 and therefore you divide by 0.6 for half. It was a difficult explanation which I don't feel they ever fully understood - they just did as I said.

Resources to support new arrivals that aren't "babyish" are very difficult to find and often very expensive. In some cases a students native/mother language skills are also lacking in writing leaving them needing more support. My aim is to try and assist my fellow teachers by creating resources to help integrate ESL into their new classroom as well as bridging their learning while they learn English with native language resources or bilingual ones.

Currently, my store over at TPT has a large range of Japanese resources but with more requests being made for other languages I am expanding into Ukrainian, Russian and most recently Afrikaans.

If you have a new student and need resources that will make them feel included please send me an email or leave a comment on my Q&A page on TPT. My current wait time to make custom resources is about 7 days.

No language is impossible! No subject impossible!

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