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Teaching English Language Learners

In the three classes I have taught, I have had a handful of students whose first language was not English. When I tell my non-teacher friends that I have students who do not speak English, they are surprised. They always ask the question "How do you teach them?" My reply is easy. I tell them that I treat them like any other student; I just spend a little more time explaining things.

The lucky thing about teaching kindergarten, is that students who speak another language are not that far behind. Many of the skills kindergarten teachers teach are essential when learning a new language. The Strategies for English Learners blog provides a list of tips to use when teaching English learners.

Teachers in Florida are required to have an ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement. Teachers coming out of college are now already ESOL endorsed. Veteran teachers have to complete the 300 hour course requirement or take 120 hours and take the ESOL endorsement test. Teachers in Florida have to be ESOL endorsed in order to teach students whose first language is not English. With the high population of ESOL students, it is now mandated for teachers to be ESOL endorsed.

The ESOL students that I have had in the past have showed the most growth over the school year. It always amazes me that these students come on the first day of school speaking no English and leave for summer vacation reading and writing!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Early Childhood Teacher are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.