Methods in Teaching ESL

ESLS 5304

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Zechariah 7:9 Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another

Have you ever failed to read instructions while filling out a medical or business form and wrote the wrong information in the blanks provided? Have you ever had to download or ask for a clean copy because you messed up a whole section? I have done that more than once. The doctor’s receptionist simply smiled, said, “No problem,” and let me begin again. She didn’t scold me or charge me an extra fee for needing a second try.
Unfortunately, many teachers are not so gracious with their students. Entire sections of questions are commonly marked with a red “X” when it is obvious that the student misunderstood what to do and/or did not read the directions. You may be saying, “But students need to learn to read the instructions and pay closer attention.” That is true, but it doesn’t take the receptionist at the doctor’s office to scold me for me to realize my error. Having to redo the section automatically reminds me.
Grades are a measurement of progress. They should not be used to punish a student for immaturity or irresponsibility. When questions are mismarked, the only way to get an accurate measurement of the student’s knowledge is to have them redo that section of the assignment or test. Otherwise, your grade is measuring a bad day, a lapse in attention, or immaturity. None of these should be reflected in your gradebook.
Recently I went to a new doctor and had to complete forms for the files. I dutifully completed each blank. I returned it to the receptionist only to have her call me back up to the window. “Could you put your name on the form and sign it, please?” Yes, you got it! How many times have teacher reminded students to put their name on their papers? Again, taking off points is not a correct use of the grading pen for forgetting your name. Gentle reminders work best. I made it a habit to remind the class to put their name on their paper/test just before they began their work. This seemed to help.
Check the heartbeat of your grading pen. If it is lacking the flow of compassion and gentleness, consider giving it an overhaul. It will be a positive change to your teaching experience.

Dear God, Help me to discern what is just and unjust in my grading practices. I want to please you in all that I do.

How would you complete this statement?

An English language learner's (ELL's) first language is like a __ because __. What ideas come to mind?

Making It Happen

Chapter 3: Toward a Sociocultural/Cognitive Model

  • What question do you still have about the reading?
  • Let's brainstorm some questions. Jot your questions down on a post-it note.
  • As a group, choose one question to investigate further.
  • Complete the 5-3-1 activity.

What is Dialogic Teaching?

Chapter 4: Participatory Language Teaching

  • Read the article and blog below.
  • Find three to five quotes from the text that connect to your textbook.
  • The quotes may be something they agree or disagree with, something they find interesting, something they didn’t know, something they would like to tell someone about, etc.
  • Explain why you chose that quote.

Chapter 7: Language Assessment and Standards

50 Strategies for Teaching ELLs

  • Chapter 16: Leveled Questions*
  • Chapter 4: Small Groups and Partners
  • Chapter 20: Language Focus Lesson*
  • Choose one of the strategies marked with an (*) for your DVD response 3.

Next Week's Class: April 11th