Teaching Profession News in Brief

Teachers Urged to Listen to ELL Students

By Lesli A. Maxwell — November 15, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students say teachers who want to improve their instructional skills for English-language learners should try listening to them.

Betty Smallwood, a former ESL teacher, presented a video at the annual conference of the Education Trust this month that featured ELLs from Arlington County, Va., talking about what teachers can do better. The video is part of a professional-development program devised by the Center for Applied Linguistics, in Washington, where Ms. Smallwood is a researcher.

Four middle school students, all of them beginners in learning English, said that when their teachers talk too fast, they struggle to learn. Distractions in the classroom—such as noisy classmates—are also a hindrance, they said.

They found that working with peers in small groups, or with one partner, was very helpful, a strategy that Ms. Smallwood said is supported by research.

Aeydis, a middle school student from Mexico, said teachers need to be more patient and not give up on her if she doesn’t understand the first time. Hababo, an Ethiopia native, said teachers sometimes give her too much information and confuse her about what is most important. The video only identified the students by their first names.

Elementary students also had advice. From Beza, who is also from Ethiopia: Give us more time to read what we want. And David from El Salvador said encouragement from fellow ELLs was important for his success.

They all stressed the importance of being able to talk to their teachers individually or in small groups. And teachers who take the time to define words for them during instruction are the most helpful.

Renee Bostick, the principal of Randolph Elementary in Arlington, Va., whose school has a large number of ELLs, said what helps ELLs most in her experience is having teachers who learned English as a second language themselves. She also said working with parents to help them learn English, read with their children (in any language), and use the Internet has been key to the success of ELLs.

A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2011 edition of Education Week as Teachers Urged to Listen to ELL Students


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Opinion ‘A Culture of Care’: How Schools Can Alleviate Educator Stress This Year
It takes more than deep breathing to alleviate the stress teachers feel. Here's how to get to the root cause.
Sean Slade & Alyssa Gallagher
6 min read
shutterstock 740616958 resized
Shutterstock
Teaching Profession Reported Essay Students Aren’t the Only Ones Grieving
Faced with so many losses stemming from the pandemic, what can be done to help teachers manage their own grief?
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read