Best Practices

Effective Strategies for Teaching Second Language Learners

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Teaching second language learners can be challenging. There is nothing easy about simplifying words for students who are learning a language. The basic forms of words have to be explained to them in order for them to comprehend deeply. Pronunciation of each word form is so essential for the students. As a teacher, I had to think of varied ways to help them memorize the vocabulary and then use them correctly. Here are some activity types I have found useful:

  1. Photo: Pixabay

    Silent Minute – Students read silently and think about the passage given to them. Then, they identify the main idea of that passage.

  2. Video clips – Students watch a video clip, look for the theme of the specific topic, and give a summary of it.
  3. Expressive approach – Students are divided into groups and given activities to work on together.
  4. Think aloud – Students share ideas inspired by what they have read in a passage.

For specific activities, I try to select activities that allow students to participate, have fun, and learn, all at the same time. Some activities that work well include flipped activities, pair work, sharing with a neighbor, role play, mix and match, grid activities, and pictures representing words, as well as impromptu oral presentation. These cooperative learning activities not only encourage better understanding of vocabulary, but allow them to mingle with each other and know each other well. The social aspect makes class more enjoyable for many students. These activities can help them boost their learning and enthusiasm.

As second language teachers, we have to adapt and adjust to the learning and teaching environment. And remember the wise words of Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Carol Kingston

Carol Linda Kingston served as an instructor at the English Center of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines (AIIAS) for five years. She is currently a PhD student in Educational Administration with TESOL as the emphasis and served as the Asst. Dean of the Women’s Hostel and English teacher for elementary through junior college level at Spicer for ten years.

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