Teaching Shy ESL Students

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rm3476
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Teaching Shy ESL Students

Post by rm3476 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:54 am

I am currently a teacher in Philadelphia. I have 1 ELL student that speaks little English. I partnered her up with a buddy that speaks her native language. I am having trouble getting her to practice her speaking skills. What are some strategies that I could use to help her practice if she is hesitant?

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:25 am

Go easy on her. Shy people often clam up when pressured. Does she speak a lot in her own language? No? Then she won't speak much in English.
If she has to explain things to her partner she might speak a bit more so questionnaires and asking her to explain games or procedures such as how to do something works usually.
Are you sensitive to the politics of where she comes from and whether the partner is really someone she can talk to or just speaks her language? It may be dangerous for her to speak.

rm3476
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Shy ELL student

Post by rm3476 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:43 pm

She does speak with others in the classroom in her native language. The first time she was in my class her now buddy asked me if they could pair up and sit next to each other so she could help her. I am very sensitive and she really feels comfortable in my classroom except for speaking.

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:32 pm

Sounds ideal then.
I used to make sure I structured the pairs activities so they had to explain something to each other - the instruction for a game, the way to a certain store, a recipe, depending on the theme for the lesson. If she is explaining in her own language then have her partner coach her on the English equivalent until she can say it in English.
Some people spend a longer time on the listening side of learning so you may have to wait. I think some people call it the silent period.
Is she comfortable speaking to men?
Never ask her a yes or no question, just open-ended questions. Wait extra long for her answer without looking impatient or worried she won't answer. Some people need a little time to process what you asked and then to formulate an answer.
Jazz chants help to make it easier to practice questions and answers.
Think of 5 ways to ask a question that she will hear frequently and she can give the same answer each time, for example, "will that be cash or charge? Do you want to put that on your card?"

rm3476
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:28 pm

Shy ELL student

Post by rm3476 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:27 am

Yes she had definitely been in the silent period! I am not trying to rush her but I am try to encourage her. She also speaks to other men who speak her native language in the class.
Thank you so much for the input! I will definitely use your strategies! I can have her buddy go over my directions in her native tongue and in English. I usually give her lots of wait time for responding to questions. I can also make sure not ask open ended questions and give her the practice that she would use in everyday situations. Thanks a bunch!

lip420
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Post by lip420 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:34 pm

Partnering her up is a good idea. Pair work is good. You can also start sentences and have her finish them. You can try role play and dialogue too.

samn
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Post by samn » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:43 pm

I used to be one of those quiet student myself. In my case, I get really shy with people I don't know at first in my native language, too, so I don't know if it was the same case...Pairing her up with someone she feels comfortable is a great start. Once you can see she feels much better about speaking in English, you can scaffold by pairing her with someone else. I learned, especially in the States, you need to speak up to he heard or understood. Now I'm one of the eloquent ones in the class.

Cent
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Post by Cent » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:55 pm

One thing you can do is to use interactive activities and games. One example of this is a class activity known as "Someone who has..." been to New York City, ate ice cream last week, ridden a horse, etc. Students have to ask their classmates about a list of things they have done and if they have done it, get their signature. There are more details to this activity but it is well known and easy to find. Doing a lot activities where there is student-to-student interaction will hopefully get shy students feeling comfortable after some time. This process will probably take a while. Your shy student doesn't have to be outgoing but she should at least be comfortable enough to respond when spoken to. After sometime hopefully she will realize that no one will make fun of her and nothing bad is going to happen to her if she speaks with her classmates. If you foster a classroom environment where students feel safe and comfortable then hopefully even shy students will feel that the class is not judging them. You can also try small groups that play some type of ESL board games. This may bring out a competitive nature that she might have. At the very least this might help her to get to know and feel more comfortable with some of her classmates. I suggest that you mix up the groups and pairs so that she will feel comfortable with the entire class. I hope you and others find this advice helpful.

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