While the TESOL field continues to release publications on the most effective practices and approaches for the TESOL classroom, I have developed a focus on the role of vocabulary development, reading, and writing in the ELL journey. Below are a few examples of how I teach reading-writing paired lessons, as well as vocabulary expansion lessons that activates students' prior knowledge and builds on their unique areas of expertise that they bring to the classroom.
Getting Comfy with Prepositions
This is a lesson from a unit for the beginner-early intermediate ELL who is literate in his or her L1, conversational to an elementary level, and in need of ways to add detail and specificity to his or her English. Focusing on prepositions for this purpose is a great place to start. While prepositions fall in the intermediary phases of 2LA according the the Natural Order Hypothesis, prepositions are encountered early on in second language learning environments, particularly in the form of commands and requests. After completing this lesson, your ELL will have the exposure, contextualization, and practice to feel more comfortable using the 9 prepositions in conversation and interacting with them in English during everyday language use.
How to Write a Professional Email
This is a lesson segment from a unit I am currently designing for the ELL who wants to develop a professional competence in English to more effectively communicate and excel in his or her position at work. This is a course for upper beginner - intermediate ELLs who is already literate in the first language and is a fully employed professional in an English-medium profession. This unit is adaptable and would also be appropriate for a learner looking to enter the workforce but is not yet in a position they love! This particular lesson plan, PPT, and handout incorporate business language, formal email formats, real-world examples of professional and poorly-written email communication that equip the learner to make a strong impression with the recipient and communicate their message effectively. The most practical element of this lesson is that the learner takes home an adaptable email template that THEY write and an email checklist with starter phrases to make their future email communication more message-focused and less time-consuming. The unit, as a whole, uses a mixed modality learning pathway to prepare ELLs to incorporate useful, high frequency American English email language and templates into their everyday workplace communication.
ESL for New-Arrivals or Adults:
Grocery Shopping in Raleigh, NC
This is a lesson segment from a unit for the new arrival or very-beginner ELL who is looking for a short and practical guide to basic American everyday lifestyle, like navigating a grocery store or shopping center and what to expect once he or she walks through the doors. This is just one of many lessons that make the stressful and unknown elements to adjusting to life in the USA easier and manageable. After completing this unit, your ELL will have the tools to decide which store most fits the shopping needs of their family and where to find things like coupons that can help them get the most "bang for their buck."
Not in Raleigh? Don't worry! All hyperlinks in this lesson are adaptable and pre-configured to allow you to put in your own geographic data points to make this lesson most useful and practical for YOUR ELLs.
Just so you don't have to go searching for them, grab them here :)
Communicative Language Teaching: History of Immigration in North Carolina
This is a short reading-discussion lesson that a classmate and I created in a TESOL Methods course. The CLT approach focuses on keeping the course content personally relevant for the learner, which centers the class environment as a learning partnership, rather than a teacher-student-only relationship.
The topic given was "the history of North Carolina, USA." In this realm, my partner and I chose the history of immigration in NC, which is a topic that is overwhelmingly relevant for the average student in the public school system throughout the country. 9.5% of all students in the public school system qualify as "English Language Learners" (ELLs), meaning they do not have English as a first language. Out of these approximately 5 million students, 78% were born in the USA, while the other 28% were born in other countries from every continent. As a result, the topic of immigration ticks the CLT box of "relevant and engaging," while providing perfect opportunity to model culturally-responsive instruction that dignifies each individual's voice and experiences in the classroom (per a 2018 study conducted by the Pew Research Center.
CLT also emphasizes the use of comprehensible input to an i+1 degree, that is, input that the learners can understand and that just beyond the learners comfort zone (otherwise known as the "zone of proximal development"). This lesson is designed for mid- to upper-intermediate students, and we believe that the vocabulary and scaffolded reading activities in this lesson are pedagogically fitting for students of this level.
Using Idioms for
"Hidden" Language Chunking
This is a lesson segment from a course I am currently designing entitled, "Understand and Be Understood: American Culture and Conversation." This is a course for upper beginner - intermediate ELLs in which we use conversation and authentic input to explore the challenges many learners face when it comes comprehending, internalizing, and recycling a more natural American English prosody. This lesson uses units through a mixed modality presentation that prepares ELLs to incorporate useful, high frequency American English idioms into their everyday speech.
This is a reading-writing lesson developed out of research and reading of Lydia Breiseth's article, "Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners," published on the leading ESL website, ¡Colorín Colorado!