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Classroom Strategies for ELLs

It can take five to 10 years for an ELL to develop native-like fluency. Be patient and keep up the good work! Below are some strategies you can use while working with ELLs. Connect students’ prior knowledge, interests and life experiences to instruction.

  • Increase interaction through cooperative strategies and activities.
  • Shorten and modify assignments.
  • Clarify concepts using visual aids, pictures, clear and large print, videos, computer-assisted instruction, gestures, modeling and graphic organizers.
  • Further clarify key concepts in the native language, if necessary. Make appropriate use of native language tutors to respond to emergencies, clarify key concepts and interpret for families.
  • Utilize instructional strategies such as models, maps, journals, diagrams, collages, displays, role-playing, art projects and demonstrations.
  • Focus on the student’s message rather than on grammar, phrasing or pronunciation.
  • Simplify language, paraphrase often (especially for newcomers) and make sure directions are understood.
  • Demonstrate abstract concepts by first using manipulatives.
  • Accompany oral directions with written directions for student reference.
  • Provide peer or cross-age tutoring.
  • Post models, rubrics and daily objectives for student reference.
  • Increase wait time. Do not force shy students to speak.
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