Many of today's classes have students for whom English is a second language. Academic fluency can take years longer to achieve than conversational fluency, making it difficult for these English learners to keep up. This article outlines three things educators can do to become linguistically responsive teachers.
Be familiar with students linguistic and academic backgrounds - listen to and get to know students so you have a good understanding of where they are coming from.
Understand the language demands that go along with learning tasks - identify difficult vocabulary, determine which parts of written instructional materials might be difficult, understand how students are expected to use language for various tasks, etc.
Create a "scaffolding" for successful participation - use pictues, maps, and videos, give clear and explicit instructions, simplify or modify texts used, minimize anxiety students may feel, etc.
Many students learning English are present in our classes and may require adjustments to teaching practices
Understand the language demands of your curriculum that may be more difficult for and English learner
Put in place the necessary framework for English learners to be successful by being concious of how you speak and using other forms of media to communicate