Monday, March 26, 2012

Consistency is Key

by Heidi Raki

TPT Storefront: Heidi Raki's Store

Consistency is important for all students, but when teaching English Language Learners (ELL), it is the key to successful learning. Students who are learning new languages need consistent routines, consistent expectations, and, most importantly, consistent phrasings of language.

Imagine that you have just learned the meaning of the phrase “Line up to go to the bathroom.” Then, your teacher stands in the front of the class and says, “If you need to use the restroom, raise your hand.” Most English Language Learner students cannot connect “go to the bathroom” with “use the restroom.” When a routine is changed, ELL students are confused. Although this is a simple example, it’s an easy way to show the importance of being consistent when working with English Language Learners.

Here are some suggestions on consistency when working with English Language Learners:

1. Keep a consistent schedule. A routine gives students one less thing to be concerned with. If they know they work on reading every morning from 8-9 and writing from 9-10, they will not worry about what comes next, and they can focus on learning language skills.

2. Refer to activities by the same names. Whether its Guided Math, Small Group Math or Math Workshop, it must be the same name each time. Once students have understandings of the names, they will be so routine teachers won’t think to change them. 

3. Use the same graphics or symbols for words whenever possible. When introducing word families or new vocabulary words, use the same graphics or symbols each time so students recognize pictures and associate these with vocabulary words. 

4. Read books from series. When students get to know a character or group of characters from books, they can spend more time working on vocabulary. Also, predictable characters make it easier for students to foresee events and comprehend storylines.

The transitions between home languages and new languages should be as simple as possible, and consistency makes learning easier for ELL students.

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April Fool's Day! A History with Fun Interactive Activities  $3.00
Commonly Confused Homophones Worksheets  $4.25
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1 comment:

  1. Great tips! I love routines too! They help to keep me organized! I love the creation of this blog! I am excited to be your newest follower! Thanks!

    One Teacher's Take


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