Effective Teaching Strategies for English Language Learners
English Language Learners (ELLs) are a large and growing population in our country and physical education is in a unique position to help as it has characteristics that are supportive of these students, with conditions similar to those in which children acquire their first language (Clancy, M. & Hruska, B., 2005). These characteristics include:
**A review of literature shows that supporting ELL students' use of their native language helps them comprehend and learn English. It develops greater brain density in areas related to language, memory, and attention (Moughamian et al, 2009; Protheroe, N., 2011). Keep this in mind with your students.**
Danger of a Single Story
This is an amazing video that explains how we often send hidden messages to our students by the content we select, what and who we use as examples, language we use or don't use, etc.
A Class Divided
This classic video by PBS demonstrates the effects of being a minority. While it is very dated, it is still a great resource for educators and students. You can find the original clips along with supplemental resources here.
Terms and Definitions
- Academic Language: The language students need in order communicate effectively about a subject.
- English Language Learner (ELL): A student who is the process of acquiring the English language and whose first language is not English.
- Limited English Proficient (LEP): Another term for an English Language Learner student.
- English Language Development (ELD): Classes designed to assist English Language Learners.
- Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE): Teaching strategies for teaching academic content to English Language Learners.
- Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SOIP): An instructional model developed to facilitate high quality instruction for ELLs in content area teaching.
SDAIE Strategies (Specially Designed Academic Instruction for English)
- Metacognitive Development: Providing students with skills and vocabulary to talk about their learning. Examples: self assessments, note taking and studying techniques, and vocabulary assignments.
- Bridging: Establishing a link between the students prior knowledge and the material. Examples: think-pair-share, quick-writes, and anticipatory charts.
- Schema-Building: Helping students see the relationships between various concepts. Examples: compare and contrast, jigsaw learning, peer teaching, and projects.
- Contextualization: Familiarizes unknown concepts through direct experience. Examples: demonstrations, media, manipulatives, repetition, and local opportunities.
- Text Representation: Inviting students to extend understandings of text and apply them in a new way. Examples: student created drawings, videos, and games.
- Modeling: Speaking slowly and clearly, modeling the language you want students to use, and providing samples of student work.
Assignments and Activities
Download Free Graphic Organizers
Articles Regarding English Language Learners
Resources for Teaching ELLs
- Colorin Colorado: A bilingual site for educators and families of English Language Learners.
- ELL Success: WeAreTeachers homepage for English Language Learners.
- Institute of Education Sciences: This practice guide provides four recommendations that address what works for English learners during reading and content area instruction. Each recommendation includes extensive examples of activities that can be used to support students as they build the language and literacy skills needed to be successful in school.
- Larry Ferlazzo: This site posts articles that vary from instructional practices to current issues in education. In addition, he has a Best of Series page which has links to over 600 lists he has created for finding online resources on various topics. Many of these resources are on the topic of ELLs.
Resources for this page:
- Buell, C., & Whittaker, A. (2001). Enhancing Content Literacy in Physical Education. Journal Of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 72(6), 32-37.
- Clancy, M. & Hruska, B. (2005). Developing Language Objectives for English Language Learners in Physical Education Lessons. Journal of Physical Education Recreation and Dance, 76(4), 30-35.
- Glakas, B. A. (1993). Teaching Secondary Physical Education to ESL Students. Journal Of Physical Education, Recreation And Dance, 64(7), 20-24.
- Moughamian, A. C., Rivera, M. O., Francis, D. J., Center on, I., & University of Houston, T. (2009). Instructional Models and Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Center on Instruction.
- National Council of Teachers of English (2008). English Language Learners: A Policy Research Brief produced by the National Council of Teachers of English.
- Protheroe, N. (2011). Effective Instruction for English-Language Learners. Principal, 90(3), 26-29.