One of the strategies that I would like to share to help classroom teachers improve instruction for ELL students today is Think-Pair-Share (TPS). I am sure a lot of you have already seen or used this strategy in your practicum class and know the benefits of it. It is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or develop a response within a given topic. As I have my own experience as an English Language Leaner, I can say that this is one of the best strategies that helped me in so many ways! It is a simple technique, yet effective, and allows ELL learners to improve their communication, comprehension and social skills. Also, it allows sufficient time to process their thoughts as it takes more time for ELL learners as they need to think in two languages. Then, the opportunity to discuss with a partner allows them to ‘check out’ their answer with each other or hear other possible answers. At the end, the teacher can have everyone back, share ideas as a class and provide some feedback.
Keep in mind what helps ELL learners will help EVERYONE in your classroom!!
I have attached a video that shows steps of a Think-Pair-Share.
When we were asked to pick a topic for our inquiry, I immediately thought about my topic: how to integrate English Language Learners in mainstream classrooms. I did my previous practicum at McGirr Elementary School where there are huge (and growing) numbers of English Language Learners and international students registering annually. In my grade 1 class, there were 7 English Language Learners out of 20 students, which was 35 percent of the whole student body. Two of them had just moved to Canada from China, and neither their parents nor the students were able to speak a word of English. Despite spending abundant time planning my lessons for a diversity of students, especially English Language Learners, I never felt prepared or accomplished. The number of English Language Learners entering Canada continues to grow sharply every year, but most classroom teachers have no training in the methods for working with English Language Learners. Imagine you are a new teacher and you receive a class list featuring English Language Learners. How prepared are you to teach these students? Throughout my blog I will be learning and sharing my journey of inquiry with some tips that regular classroom teachers can use to improve instruction for ELL students.
Also, I found one of the highest-rated books on teaching English Language Learners, and it also includes a section on teaching ELL students in mainstream classrooms. Here is a link if you are interested in looking at the text!