Create a Welcoming Environment
1. The BEST ESL teachers know how to make their students feel safe and valued. They are able to break down the walls of anxiety and fear so students feel ready and eager to learn. These teachers do this by using verbal and nonverbal cues. The way they speak with their students tells them that they are wanted, valued, and loved. These teachers make room for all students.
2. The GREATEST ESL teachers understand are able to put themselves in their students’ shoes. They believe in their students and the students know it. They model a growth mindset so students understand that learning takes time and patience. These teachers love their students.
3. These AWESOME ESL teachers know that building relationships is key to students’ success. They do more than examine a permanent record folder. They know their students’ strengths, hobbies, family life and their struggles. They connect with their students beyond the curriculum.
4. These AMAZING educators think about what their students will need to be successful. They are PROACTIVE. Yes, they respond too but first and foremost, they are proactive. Thinking ahead about each student and what they may need in order to access the grade level curriculum. Who will need adapted text? Will anyone need a small group to preview vocabulary or build background? Which students will benefit from sentence stems? And what will the stems be in order to develop academic language? They think about their students and the road ahead.
Small Group Teacher
5. These SUPER teachers work with students in small groups to target instruction and meet students’ needs. They know that students’ needs are not one size fits all, so they don’t teach the same lesson to the whole class. They understand that some students already know certain information while others have not experienced it before. Everyone has different needs.
Facilitator of Learning
6. The most FABULOUS ESL educators know that learning is more important than teaching. Walking into their classroom it is evident that students lead the conversation and the teacher is the facilitator of the learning. Students question and collaborate and take charge of their learning. Students in their rooms are not sitting and getting. They are actively learning. These teachers know that there needs to be more student talk and less teacher talk.
7. These BRILLIANT ESL teachers scaffold instruction for their students. They know when a student needs language support to access the curriculum. They offer visuals and sentence stems. They provide students with graphic organizers and word banks. But they understand that the scaffold is not meant to be used for ever or by everyone.
8. GREAT ESL teachers are always assessing their students. They are listening to their conversations both in social settings and in academic contexts. These teachers use multiple forms of assessment throughout the day to gauge their instruction and student learning. They are gathering data to help inform their next steps with their students.
What do you think makes an effective ESL teacher? Comment below?