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Integrating Speaking, Listening, Reading & Writing Into ELL Instruction

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  • 0:03 Combining Disciplines
  • 1:16 Bringing Everything Together
  • 1:35 Speaking and Listening
  • 2:50 Reading and Writing
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

There are many components to consider when teaching English language learners (ELLs). In this lesson, you will learn strategies for incorporating speaking, listening, reading, and writing into ELL instruction.

Combining Disciplines

The way an educator approaches a classroom of English language learner (ELL) students is inherently different than how that same educator might approach a class full of native English speakers. No matter the level of the English learners, it is important to incorporate speaking, listening, reading, and writing into ELL instruction. A proper understanding of these four primary parts of the English language is necessary for both academic and social success.

Developing a comprehensive strategy that includes these disciplines can be accomplished with careful planning and thoughtful consideration. What materials do you have available for your ELLs? If you're fortunate enough to have comprehensive curriculum that includes speaking, listening, reading, and writing elements, the task becomes much simpler. However, if you're not teaching a straightforward English course, the job of incorporating these elements into your classroom instruction becomes more difficult.

Remember that each of these elements are interconnected. Without a solid foundation in listening, an ELL student's speaking skills may suffer. Likewise, a lack of reading ability may hinder the development of solid writing skills. The interrelated nature of these four disciplines makes the need for a comprehensive strategy even more important.

Bringing Everything Together

Whether you teach history, math, English, or biology, your classroom audience of ELLs means you'll need to focus on and engage certain elements of language acquisition. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ to ensure you're touching all the bases while imparting essential academic wisdom to your students.

Speaking and Listening

When you lecture a classroom of ELLs, be sure the vocabulary you use is appropriate for the level of your students. Speaking and listening can be viewed as interconnected in an ELL classroom setting. If you use jargon or advanced vocabulary without explanations, students can quickly fall behind. When this happens, learners may become discouraged or feel that their abilities are inadequate for the task at hand. To avoid these obstacles to learning, try some of the following classroom strategies:

  • Write down key words and phrases on the board.
  • Ask a student to summarize information you have just given using his or her own words.
  • Preview new vocabulary before each lesson and review how that vocabulary was used after each lesson.
  • Put students into small groups to discuss the main points of the lesson.
  • Provide students with a lesson outline and encourage them to take notes during class.

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