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Unread Sep 11th, 2007, 09:35 am
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Default Help with students who don't speak any English??

Hi there!

I am new to this forum. I have been teaching elementary school with ESOL students integrated in my classroom in Florida. I have just moved to VA and I am now an ESOL tutor for middle and high school. This is my first time in both schools. I will be tutoring some students are new to the country and only know a few words in English. In the past, I usually had a buddy with the ESOL student to help him/her out throughout the day. Now I am going to be one-on-one or with 2 students in a group. I am unsure how to start with these students.

Any activities on how to get things going. If you have had experiences like this in middle or high, can you please tell me your experiences and what you did. I'm not sure how to go about helping these students with their curriculum...do I start with letter sounds/phonics..elementary level curriculum? or just help them with their curriculum being taught in their classroom.

Also, are there any activities that I can do on my first day with all the students. They are all various levels, from beg. to advanced. I will be working with small groups throughout the day. I'm just nervous about the first meeting for some reason. lol. Thanks!!
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Unread Sep 29th, 2007, 08:26 pm
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Default Re: Help with students who don't speak any English??

Think Pictures!

If you are dealing with students with a truly limited vocabulary, you have to think in pictures. Buy at least one picture dictionary (The Oxford Picture Dictioary remains the best), start collecting ads with pictures, and consider getting a bilinguagl picture dictionary for the students. Focus on nouns. Colors. Shapes. Simple, everyday items. Then move on places. Rooms. Supermarket. School. Park. Beach.

Then move on to verbs. There's even a Verb Picture Dictionary by Longman, but I can't recall the title off my head. I'd introduce past tense after a month or so if they are genuine absolute beginners. With verbs, the students can start to tell simple stories. I go. I go beach. Okay, add a "to". I go to beach. Add "the". I go to the beach. Excellent! Repeat many, many, many times.

Asking students to bring in pictures and photographs helps. It allows you a natural way to learn about them and teach the language in a comfortable, natural manner. You must however systematically expand their vocabulary. The student may not recognize what you are doing, but you have to gently cajole them into learning a huge amount of information. Finally, many students learn best by ear. You idea of phonics is right. Focus on simple patterns... at, bat, cat.... etc. Have fun, but set a rigorous pace.

The first 500 words are the most difficult and most vital. I'd also suggest that your students watch television in English with captioning even if they don't understand a single word. They will absorp some of the patterns and word stresses in the our crazy, misspelled, and mispronounced language.

Good luck. Have fun. Think in pictures.
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