People around the world are more connected now than ever before. In a multi-cultural environment like Canada, it is becoming increasingly common for teachers and teaching assistants to provide specific aid to students who are learning in their second language.
While knowing multiple languages is an excellent asset and leads to many useful benefits, it can be very difficult for students to make this transition at the outset. In fact, ESL students who are not adequately integrated into the classroom setting run a much higher risk of performing below grade level. Read on to find out how education assistants support ESL students so that they receive the best education possible.
Education Assistants Use Non-Linguistic Cues
Professionals with training from education assistant courses know just how important visual and other non-linguistic cues can be for a non-native English speaker. Using gestures, sketches, and visual clues is especially helpful for ESL students in kindergarten and elementary school. Having pictures for “working in pairs,” “glue,” and “crayons” can help reinforce everyday vocabulary and ensures that ESL students don’t feel left out.
Education Assistants Support the Use of a Student’s Native Language
Many students, especially in elementary or kindergarten programs, will still be developing their native language skills at the same time as they develop their second language. Professionals with education assistant training should encourage ESL student to practice their reading and verbal comprehension skills in their native language. Students with strong reading skills in their first language, tend to perform better in their second language in the classroom.
Education assistants can also support high school students who are at a more advanced stage in their language development. By tackling novels with the help of a translation in a student’s native language, education assistants help that student stay anchored in the text. Translations designed for ESL students, such as the No Fear Shakespeareseries, can also be beneficial for helping students get a grasp of key concepts and themes.
Education Assistants Provide Students with Positive Feedback
Education assistants must closely monitor the progress of their ESL students so that they can recognize if their student doesn’t understand a lesson, or is falling behind. This not only helps students stay on track—it also ensures that an ESL student who uses incorrect language structure does not ingrain those bad habits. Catching mistakes early makes them much easier for education assistants to help fix.
The increased need for education assistant training in BC reflects the higher number of ESL students in today’s classrooms. With Canada’s growing multicultural population, education assistants will be continuously in demand to help make sure that all students, no matter their language background, feel included in the classroom and have an equal opportunity to receive an education.
How else can education assistants aid ESL students in the classroom?