How to … support a child with English as a second language

Tirzah L Jones – Former English as a Second Language Lecturer

In considering this specific area, we must remember a few things.

It is not our primary aim to teach them English, we are teaching the Gospel.

Therefore the suggestions below may go against what we would encourage if teaching English.

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for the children to integrate into the group and to hear God’s Word taught.

Those of you who have come across SLL’s in your school environment will probably have been taught different approaches. This does not make either one right or wrong, they are different approaches for different goals.

  1. Learn their proper names (not an anglicised attempt)
  2. Wherever possible offer one to one assistance
  3. Assign a ‘buddy’ of their own age
  4. If there is an opportunity, use an interpreter
  5. Include them in discussion in a non-threatening manner
  6. Consider your illustrations carefully – will they make sense to the SLL (Second Language learner)?
  7. Use lots of visual aids, particularly pictures
  8. Simplify what you say:
    • speak slowly
    • enunciate clearly
    • limit the use of more complex words or slang
  9. Check for understanding
    • offer clarification
    • ask for confirmation of understanding
  10. Repetition