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Old 23-Jun-2010, 00:26
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Alastor Alastor is offline
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Originally Posted by Jesse the Great Tsar View Post
How would you use an ESL skill?
How would you use paint?

I imagine it depends on what you're doing.

English as a Second Language skills are also literacy skills, by and large. There are a bunch of skills and a bunch of things you can do with them. They're not just good for ESL kids either, they're good for all students.

I draw a lot of stupid pictures on the boards. I'm no artist and they look like shit, but even simple pictures help a lot of people understand what's being discussed and they can then visualize it. The brain works differently if it sees something rather than just hears it, and it makes it more understandable and memorable. It also provides "a break in the action" for the students where they can take a moment to catch up on what all is being said and done in the class while I draw for a second or two.

It sounds stupid, but that extra second or two of thought that a student gets to try to make sense of things can go an enormously long way.

I pause a lot during classes. When I ask questions, I wait at least three seconds before I call on someone. I wait 7 seconds for an answer. Yes, I literally count these out in my head.

They need time. Giving it to them means they keep up. Denying it to them means they're lost.

I started to answer this question by saying I draw things a lot, but as I've written my answer out it occurs to me more that the art of giving them time - especially someone like me who doesn't do well in an idle state; I like to constantly be moving - is hard. It's challenging to get myself to calm down enough and be patient enough to give them the time they desperately need.

I feel very accomplished when I do it, because it makes a world of difference for the students.

Time to answer. I buy them time often. All day long, and not just ESLs. That one or two seconds means the world when your brain is being stretched constantly.

And I do stretch their brains. I realize that a lot of people think of Social Studies as the "slacker" topic of the four basics, but my kids will tell you I'm a fucking hard-ass, and my shit is tight, and my class is hard.

I set high expectations. They will achieve those expectations or I don't pass them. I set high standards, and they will meet them.

My students work hard. Sometimes they get pissy for it, but that doesn't bother me. I don't care if they bitch and moan. I care if they're functional adults.

I don't do "slacker."

And neither do my kids.

I challenge them; a lot. As a result, they need time to think. So I give it to them.

Giving time to the students to think is the skill I use most frequently. It's an ESL skill, but like I said, everyone benefits from those skills, not just ESLs.
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