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English Language Learners Tell Us What Helps Them Learn

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Last month, I posted Do You Want To Use This Survey With Your Intermediate & Advanced ELLs?

It shared a hand-out I was giving to several of my classes in preparation for a training I’m giving to teachers at my school. The workshop will include twelve ELLs participating in student panels.

I thought readers might be interested in some of the responses (about forty-five in total) I received to the questions on the survey. If you give it to your students, I”d love to hear their responses, too!

By the way, the student who wrote the comment at the top of this post was talking about Pam Buric, one of my talented colleagues….

1. What do teacher do that helps you understand what they are teaching, even though you may not know English that well? For example, do they show pictures that help you understand the content?

Please try to write about specific lessons and experiences.

Show me pictures and subtitles in the videos.

She lets me use Google Translate on my phone.

Explain something with clear examples and pictures that help us understand what they are.

When you do not understand English, the teacher uses action to help me understand.

He will let people who understand your language help you.

What teachers have done that helped me was giving me a Spanish translating partner.

She talk very slowly to help me understand.  If I don’t understand, she show me a picture or use Translate.

He helped me to understand what he teach me when he speak Spanish and show pictures and act.

It helps when we fact our classmates and share what we stand about the lesson.

Teachers help me learn better to understand English is having a connection towards the students, making them feel comfortable.

2. What are specific actions teachers have taken to help you become motivated to learn different subjects and the English language? Please try to write about specific lessons and experiences.

I remember was to tell me, “You can do it, do not give up.” That motivated me.

I have one teacher that motivated me every day telling me that his expectations of me are very high.  He motivated me because I can believe in me.  I think that I am very smart and can do all things.

Learning on the computer and phone helps me want to learn more English.

The teacher helps because he is not yelling at me.

They motivated me by actually teaching me stuff that I am interested in.

She not just works to teach us but she also show some love to us.

They show that they are proud of us.  My teacher went to my home and tell my sisters about my progress.

She don’t let me give up on my class and she never tell me I can’t do something.

They tell me “You’re smart. I know you can do this.”

3. What have teachers done to help you not feel bad about making mistakes and, instead, learn from them? In other words, what are the best actions teachers have taken to correct English errors you have made in writing or in speaking?

I remember my teacher will always say “Everyone make mistakes even me and I’m the teacher.”

My teacher tell me, “You can do it. Don’t feel bad. You can do it right the next time.”

He motivate me and tells me to try again and don’t give up.

They tell us that what we learn from the mistakes is more important to us, especially when I pronounced something wrong. They always say its okay.

He will read aloud my writing to me and will take every word seriously to teach you how to correct it.

What teachers have done to make me feel better was even though it was a mistake she explained it to me more clearly.  She also said it was okay and always gave me this quote that said, “An expert was once a beginner.”

She will read my text and edit my mistakes.

They don’t make fun of me.

They talk to me and help me to improve and correct me in a calm way.

One of the things I like about the teachers in U.S.A. is that they never make fun of the student who makes mistakes. All my teachers told me that it’s okay to make mistakes because we learn from mistakes.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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