Teaching EAL

Reflection of teaching English to English language learners from Mexico. 

First Class- Meeting

On February 22, my peers and I had the privilege of meeting students in grade 6,7,8 (approximately since the grade levels are different) from Mexico that are learning English. On this day we were having short conversations with the students to help them become more comfortable with us. Each break out room had about 2-4 ELNG students and 2-4 EAL students. Thinking about the first break out room, we were all nervous and not exactly understanding what was going to happen but after the second, third and fourth it became more comfortable and easy. 

I found that using prompting questions was very beneficial for the students because it gave them a starting point to create their sentence. 

Different questions rather than “what do you do for fun?”

  • Do you have fun swimming?
  • Do you play soccer?
  • I play tennis. Have you ever played tennis?

This day was not about assessing the students but it did help us see what level their speaking was and helped us start to brainstorm about our lessons. 

Second Class- Teaching

For our teaching time we focused on giving students the vocabulary and topics to talk about. To help fill in time and areas of silence we played a video about sports and how it is helpful to areas of life. This was a great starting point because many these students are passionate about sports and about their education so they really tried to soak up the knowledge.  

            Something that was really important to keep in mind was THE CONVERSATION CAN CHANGE. At times students would get on a tangent or would be talking passionately about something so I would let them continue as they were engaged and practicing their speaking/conversation skills. 

            A down fall of teaching online is reading body language is much harder- for students sitting far from the camera I can’t see if they looked confused and for students sitting close to the camera I can’t see how the rest of their body is reacting. There were also times when students were thinking or practicing what they were going to say, and they would move their mouth like they were talking so it was difficult to know if they were actually practicing or trying to speak but forgot to unmute themselves. 

Near the end of the second class I had the privilege of watching my peers teach an activity. It was interesting to see how different teachers focussed on different areas of speaking. Something that some groups did differently than ours was their wait time- during this time they gave examples of different words to use and even put some in the chat. Many times when I am prompting I say the beginning of the sentence and wait for the student to fill in the rest. It shows how teaching styles can have an impact on students learning. 

Comparing the two. 

Comparing the two days, I found that students were much more willing to participate the second night that we were teaching. This could be for many different reasons including…

  • Our activity had comprehension questions from the video so had a goal/ motivate to answer the questions. 
  • This was their second time meeting so they may have felt more comfortable.
  • Because the two interactions were a month apart students could have gained more confidence or have learned more through their classes.  

Overall this was a great experience for me to see into a younger EAL class and work in small groups to help teach each other. I would like to thank Rubina for setting this activity up, the teachers for agree to bring their students and the students for being amazing and interacting with the teachings!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s