Key Methodologies to Teach English Language Learners

Have you ever heard the phrase "English Language Learners" and thought, “What does that mean?" It certainly sounds like ESL, and it is! English language learners are often referred to as “ELLs”. However, the name and its meaning differ somewhat from ESL, and we shall discuss how and why it was coined.

The requirement for English proficiency in education and business is a high priority for navigating a career. That is why most non-native English speakers in the United States decide to study English (ELL).

If you fall into this group as a learner or if you are an ELL instructor who helps students learn English, this post is for you!

What Exactly Is ELL?

Anyone who does not learn English as their first and major language is classified as an ELL. ELL students are a fast-growing portion of today’s US student population, according to research. In fact, by 2025, ELLs are expected to account for nearly one-fourth of all students in public schools.

The most prevalent native languages spoken by ELL students in the United States are Spanish, followed by Arabic Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali, Russian, Haitian, as well as many others. While some students may be able to communicate in English on a basic level, they require more assistance in becoming proficient in English.

Purpose Of ELL

The ELL objectives for a student may differ based on the upon their grade level or age as well as their proficiency.

For all students, however, the goal of ELL is the same: to prepare them to speak English as quickly and fluently as possible. The goal is for students to be able to achieve not only in academics but also in social activities as well as in communicating with their peers and professors. For students to succeed in higher education institutions, they must take ELL beyond elementary and secondary school. In fact, most schools expect students to be fluent in English. Admissions standards at most colleges today are demanding. However, one of the key prerequisites is that students have a working knowledge of English, as all classes are delivered in English online.

Students who can communicate in English from an early age will also have greater options in education and jobs later on.

What Is an English as A Second Language Teacher?

Teachers must motivate their students in order for them to learn English. ESL teachers play a unique role in the lives of ELL students.

Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) connect non-native speakers to English starting with their native language as a base. Using that language as a foundation, they assist English language learners with not only their new language but also introduce them to a different culture and manner of learning.

Different Approaches for Assisting ELL Students in A Classroom

ESL teachers are critical to the success of your ELL students. They are not only their key source for learning a new language, but they also open the door to a plethora of new opportunities and connections.

There are numerous ways of working effectively with ELL students in every educational setting. Here are some examples of best strategies:

  • Teaching English does not invalidate the importance and utility of all languages in the world. ESL teachers can aid a student's acclimatization by honoring their speach and culture, but extending it into their understanding and fluency in a new language. Students are more likely to take emotional and intellectual risks when they feel comfortable and understood.
  • When learning a new language, it's normal for students to start by merely wanting to listen. However, language skills such as reading, writing, and speaking should be taught from the beginning. Students can be aided in constructing sentences by providing fill-in-the-blank versions, allowing them to use context clues to write or speak whole phrases, even if they only know a few words at the outset.
  • When instructing an attentive class, it's normal to demand immediate reactions. When working with students who are learning a foreign language, however, patience is essential, as is speaking slowly. Additionally, provide students extra few seconds to process what you have said and to respond to questions.
  • Throughout a lesson, incorporate a variety of instructional methods and student interaction. The term "QSSSA" stands for one specific technique to try. This is an acronym for:
  • Question: Pose a question.

    Signal: A thumbs up or lightly pat on the back might be used as a signal indicating it's a student's turn to respond.

    Stem: Begin the answer for the learner, then allow them to finish the phrase.

    Share: Let students react and complete the blanks.

    Assess: Provide comments or an answer only after the student has finished their answer.

  • Both ESL teachers and ELL students can benefit from technology. The different modalities in which technology can help a student learn are nearly unlimited, from employing Online Education Tools to allowing pupils to watch Educational Videos and so on.

Three Things to Keep in Mind When Teaching ELL Students

There will undoubtedly be difficulties when teaching and studying a new language. It's vital to remember, though, that this is a process, and any improvement should be appreciated and recognized.

Here are some expectations that are likely to arise and how to properly handle them:

Be Patient During a Silent Period

Many students find it difficult to acclimate to speaking or learning a foreign language. As a result, individuals may comprehend the curriculum yet are unwilling to speak in it. Be patient with these students during such “silent periods”.

Teachers Must Use Non-Verbal Communication Skills

Try to communicate non-verbally to help ELL to comprehend your spoken words. You should also allow children to respond to questions by playing word games, gesturing, or even drawing. All this will be to not only a comfort level but ultimately in comprehension and fluency.

Peers Can Help

Assigning a native-English-speaking buddy to stay at their side is a great way to help ELLs assimilate into the classroom. They will be able to develop friendships while also learning from a peer. A peer also gives them a person with whom to practice or ask question if shy.


It can be difficult and intimidating to learn English or any other foreign language. However, as an ESL instructor, you can use these best practices to help English language learners.

As the number of ELL students continues to rise, strategies for them will becomes increasingly important. Students should feel encouraged as they improve their English proficiency, regardless of the type of ELL program implemented. By teaching ELL learners proficiency and fluency, you will open doors for them not only in the classroom, but in their lives ahead!