Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

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Pedagogical Strategies
While the ELLs you encounter bring a variety of life experiences, academic strategies, and linguistic skills, being thoughtful about pedagogy within content area classes can be particularly helpful in facilitating success for students and teachers.

Oral explanation

Often, teachers assume that giving students written directions or having them watch a film is sufficient explanation of a task or concept. Also, when directions or concepts are explained to an entire class, ELLs often miss important ideas. By giving ELLs a specific explanation of a task or concept and drawing their attention to maps, pictures, diagrams, etc., they are more likely to understand. In Oleg's case, it is helpful for teachers to give him an explanation including ordinal words such as "First, Second, Third, Next, Last", etc.

Oral assessment

Oral rehearsal

Explicit literacy instruction

Explicit grammar instruction


Time modification

Personal relationship

Encourage errors



Scaffolding learning

Metaphoric explanation

The use of metaphor helps students learn new concepts by using known ideas to describe and clarify new ideas. Metaphors provide "pivot points and conceptual anchors" (Zwiers, 2008) to help students grasp and maintain understanding. Jeff Zwiers offers this example of an interaction between student and teacher using a metaphor:
    • 1 Student I don't get why you called him a leech.
    • 2 Teacher Well, what do leeches do?
    • 3 Student I think they suck blood from animals or something.
    • 4 Teacher Okay, and what did Mr. Reed do?
    • 5 Student Well, he kept steeling money from the club. Oh, so taking money was like the leech taking people's blood?
    • 6 Teacher Do others of you agree?

  • content area vocabulary

Teachers who differentiate instruction meet students where they are in their learning process, allowing for high expectations for all students, but not necessarily the exact same requirements for students. This English Teacher is engaging students at different levels, allowing the students to bring their knowledge and understanding to the class.