Any competent teacher must aim to use English as a bridge toward reaching his/her international students. “Teachers always need to adapt lessons to fit their context and their orientation” (Freeman and Freeman, 1998). Moreover, “developing academic language involves more than acquiring content-specific vocabulary; it includes learning a wide range of general utility words, figurative expressions, grammatical conventions, and discussion strategies” (Zwiers, 2008) that teachers should also incorporate in class activities.
According to Carroll (2002), “One suggestion – welcomed by international students and treated warily by academics – is the idea of encouraging first-language discussion of concepts, ideas and theories. If you say something like, ‘I want you to make sure you have understood what I just covered in the last five minutes.
Please explain it to the person next to you in whatever language you both feel most comfortable using’ then all students do an equally difficult task” (p. 1). Educator Heining-Boynton says, “Teachers must differentiate tasks, taking into consideration what educational philosopher John Dewey suggested long ago: that we begin where the students are, not where we would like them to be.
” Heining-Boynton suggests tips teachers to: “(a) Speak clearly and in standard English; (b) Position yourself so that the ESL [English as Secondary Language] student can see your face when yo u are speaking; (c) Assign a ‘buddy’ to your ESL student; (d) Learn and use the student’s name; (e) For middle school and high school students, ask the student what he or she would like to be called; (f) Be as visual as possible; (g) Comprehension precedes production; (h) It students can say it, they can write it; (i) Speaking louder does not aid in comprehension; (j) Create certain predictable routines in your class; (k) Learn as much as you can about the countries represented in your class; (l) Keep a student’s linguistic ability in mind when selecting reading assignments; and (m) A smile is international.
At the end of the day, teachers should always assess themselves how far they went in teaching before they try to assess the progress of each international student in the class.
Carroll, J. (2002, June 27). Suggestions for teaching international student more effectively. Retrieved May 6, 2008, from <http://www. brookes. ac. uk/services/ocsd/2_learntch/briefing_papers/international_students. pdf> Freeman, D. , & Freeman, Y. (1998). ESL/EFL teaching: Principles for success. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Heining-Boynton, A. L. (n. d. ). Keys to success for English language learners. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from <http://www. learnnc. org/lp/pages/ESL0407-1> Zwiers, J. (2008). Building Academic Language: Essential Practices for Content Classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.