Many secondary content teachers are in a tough situation – they might have thirty-for English proficient students in their class, and then one-or-two ELL newcomers. And their district might not provide any additional support for these ELLs.
There are obviously many different instructional strategies that content teachers can apply to make their content more accessible to ELLs and non-ELLs alike (see The Best Videos For Content Teachers With ELLs In Their Classes – Please Suggest More; The Best Advice To Content Teachers About Supporting English Language Learners and THE BEST STRATEGIES FOR “ENGINEERING” TEXT SO THAT IT’S MORE ACCESSIBLE TO ELLS), but it’s still going to be a challenge to make all the content accessible.
They can “preview” the lessons they are going to do by sharing related materials ahead of time in the students’ home languages (see The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science). That strategy can help, but also requires time to prepare ahead of time.
Technology is becoming increasingly available that will simultaneously translate what is being said in the classroom (see THE BEST RESOURCES TO HELP ELL STUDENTS WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION IN THE CLASSROOM). It’s possible to do now, but it can be awkward and not easy to set-up.
Another strategy to use is to incorporate online tools in lessons that almost effortlessly allow students to translate the materials being used into their home languages.
Yes, the translations will often not be great. But, as the saying goes, let’s not make the perfect be the enemy of the good. With everything else that teachers are juggling these days, the more easy options we can offer to content teachers to make their lessons accessible to ELLs, the more likely that they will actually do it.
Here are the online tools that I know of off the top of my head that, with a click of the mouse, will translate content used in various subjects. In other words, a teacher can assign the material to all students in class and, without doing anything else, assume that access it (of course, that’s assuming that a student has had schooling in their home country – if not, see THE BEST ONLINE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS OF SLIFES):
First off, of course, with a Google Translate extension, a student can translate anything in Google Docs.
HistoryMaps provides engaging and interactive resources about different eras in World History. And, most importantly, with a click of the mouse, you can access the content in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Common Lit is free and will translate all its resources.
Actively Learn is good for English, Science and Social Studies.
Quizizz will translate its quizzes.
You have to pay for Binogi, but it has multilingual lessons available in Math, Science and Geography.
I’m sure there are more. Let me know what I’m missing!