Tips on Communicating

Tips on Communicating

by Judie Haynes

Show your school's mainstream teachers and students how to communicate with your newcomers from the very first day.

Mainstream teachers and students can communicate with new non-English speaking students from the very first day. ESL and bilingual teachers will find it worth their time to help them learn to communicate. When classroom teachers communicate with newcomers, that communication must to be comprehensible.

Show them how to use drawings, gestures, actions, emotions, voice variety, chalkboard sketches, photographs, and visual materials to provide clues to meaning. Adding visual and kinesthetic support along with the language will provide additional comprehensible input.

Encourage mainstream teachers and students to allow your new learners of English translation time when listening and speaking. Explain that newcomers are translating the language they hear back to their native language, formulating a response and then translating that response into English.

Remember that there will be times when you will not be able to get an idea across to newcomers. Give each classroom teacher a list of students in your school who speak the newcomer's language. You will be able to call on these students to act as translators if necessary.

Provide clues to meaning

Modify your speech

Be an active listener

Check comprehension frequently


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