teaching techniques

Logo for the Intercambio organization

Intercambio is a national organization based out of Boulder Colorado with a powerful vision: communities where all people communicate, connect, and succeed. Their mission is to improve immigrant lives through English education, and unite communities across cultures.  

To that end, they provide a wide variety of tools for adult ESL programs, including affordable textbooks and teaching resources, teacher training webinars, immigrant guides, and program support for new and existing programs.

We are always looking for better ways to teach technology to staff and students.

Teacher and adult ESL learner looking into a handheld mirror

The Minnesota Literacy Council has produced four new videos demonstrating how to teach pronunciation in the adult ESL classroom. Watch the videos to gain teaching techniques and discover activity ideas that can be integrated into regular ESL classes.

four human figures holding a four-piece puzzle

Working in a small group has tremendous advantages for adult learners; it provides the opportunity to practice their language and skills in a low-pressure setting, makes it possible for them to learn from and teach one another, and builds community in the classroom. However, sometimes certain learners take on most of the responsibility for their group, while others are reluctant to contribute. Assigning roles within the group helps to promote equal participation, and distributes accountability.

Potential Roles:

Cover of the Shaping the Way We Teach resource book

Shaping the Way We Teach English: From Observation to Action

Shaping the Way We Teach English is a teacher-training course consisting of fourteen video-based modules with a supporting training manual and supplementary resources. Each modules is a ten to fifteen minute video segment with examples from classrooms and educators around the world. Each module also has corresponding readings and support materials that can be printed and copied.

woman covering her face with her hands

If you have ever learned a new language or traveled in a foreign country, you have an idea of how stressful and nerve-wracking it can be for English language learners in the classroom. When people experience stress around learning, it creates what is called the “affective filter”. The affective filter is an emotional response that can impede the process of learning.

hand crossing off the i n at the front of the word incorrect with a red marker

Error correction and feedback is an essential part of the learning process, but it can be difficult to provide each individual learner with targeted corrections and feedback during writing assignments, particularly if the class is large.

A simple way to involve the whole class while giving corrections and feedback is to use class writing time as an opportunity to gather data regarding writing errors, and then write them on the board to correct as a class, rather than speaking to each individual learner.

Pyramid of Bloom's Taxonomy Labeled from the bottom to the top: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating

“Good learning starts with questions, not answers.” –Guy Claxton

Critical thinking is required in the workplace, in educational settings, and to address everyday challenges.  In ESL classes, teachers often ask only factual questions that rely on short-term memory, such as “What did Lee Pa do yesterday?” and “What is the capital of Minnesota?”  While memory is an important skill, teachers should ask questions and plan activities that dig deeper. Even in beginning level classrooms, it is essential that learners are asked questions that challenge them to think critically.

silver stopwatch

With pre-beginning and beginning level English classes, it can be an ongoing struggle to get everyone speaking English at the same time. Rather than trying to firmly restrict the use of the first language throughout the entire class period (which can be exhausting and counterproductive), set “English Only” periods where you ask the students to speak only English for a set amount of time while they complete a communication activity, such as a mingle, a walking dictation, a dialogue, or a gap fill.

four multi-colored stick figures with arms upraised

Purpose: Many students with limited literacy skills or learning challenges benefit from kinesthetic activities. Hands-on activities are minds-on activities.

Ideas:

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