Setting up a Classroom for English Language Learners
Admin - Jan 16 2016
Setting up the classroom can be a big aid to teachers when maximizing the room to support the development of English learners’ linguistic and academic skills. Think of your classroom as an environment that should support the students and assist them in learning language lessons.
Your classroom should have English words on charts or posters, supported with pictures or examples. The classroom should also have visual resources like word walls or labels that help students learn important vocabulary words. There should also be resources available for reading such as books and appropriate texts that help students develop reading skills. Are there writing resources available for students such as bilingual picture dictionaries or modeled writing? Are there materials available in the native language to help understand new concepts and strengthen literacy skills?
The next step in setting up your classroom is to figure out the classroom layout. The layout should be organized so that your students can easily find information and resources for the subject. Group together resources for every subject. For example, the math word wall, word charts and similar resources should be grouped together in one section of the room.
Organization is particularly important for beginner English language learners who don’t understand most of the visual aids in the classroom. When English learners can easily find information or resources needed to understand a subject in one part of the room, their ability to learn is significantly enhanced and fast tracked.
English language learners can also benefit from working with other students in a collaborative framework. Working together in a group gives students more opportunities to practice the second language. Therefore, it is important for you as a teacher to organize collaborative work areas. When you get your students’ cumulative records, try to determine what level of proficiency each student has in English. Using the data, you can group students with the same level of proficiency together. On the other hand, mixing students with low levels of proficiencies with students with high levels ensures that group members will be able to work together and maximize their learning. To help new students become more comfortable in the classroom, seat newcomers next to students who speak the same native language, whenever possible.
Along with the groups of desks, work tables and classroom library, you can then think of setting up different centers for various subject areas. Centers are areas of the classroom where the students can find everything they need to help them understand the language of one particular subject area. Centers should have floor space for storing materials, wall space for word walls and even an area where students can gather to work together.
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