Teaching English As A Second Or Foreign Language/Esl Language Instructor Discover How To Appeal To Your ESL Students’ Learning Styles

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Discover How To Appeal To Your ESL Students’ Learning Styles

Learning English as a second or foreign language can be difficult for some students. There are many different ways to learn, and many people benefit from a broader approach than the traditional methods employed in most classrooms. Adding games and activities that appeal to all different ESL learning styles with your standard curriculum can transform your lessons and make the time more productive for everyone!

Most authorities in the field of learning styles agree that there are four basic ways that people take in and process information. These are known as the four learning styles and are composed of Auditory ESL Learners (students who respond best to lectures, tapes and verbal instructions), Visual ESL Learners (students who benefit from more traditional methods such as written material, pictures and video), and tactile and kinesthetic ESL Learners (treated together here as their styles involve hands-on or whole-body learning).

Many of the following games can be easily implemented in your classroom and adapted to best suit the ESL learning styles of any or all of your students.

AUDITORIUM ESL LEARNING STYLE

These ESL students will become verbal games in a group; introducing repetitive songs with the words shown earlier is a good way to start. EFL students from Japan especially appreciate Karaoke Night as a learning tool and this can be a fun idea to mark milestones as your class progresses.

After a group activity, students can retreat to separate listening stations for a Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt; several tapes with different key vocabulary words can be rotated to increase the number of words each student learns. Cloze Passages can also be used with tapes to enhance the effect of the lesson.

Quizzes are a fun way to encourage a mild spirit of competition in your classroom; you can divide students into teams and allow them to confer with each other to find the answers. Listen to a recorded TV or radio broadcast and take turns answering questions about the content – you might be surprised at how well they understand the meaning!

VISUAL ESL LEARNING STYLE

These students can absorb information from common classroom tools such as books, flash cards, and video footage. Many language games work well with this type of student, and worksheets are a must – they stick more to the reading material than to verbal instruction.

Board games like “Parts of Speech Path Finding” (based on the Candy Land Board) are easy to laminate onto a manila folder, and game accessories can be stored in an attached bag. You can use color and pictures to make your table interesting, but remember that your adult students may be turned off by a childish motif!

You can adapt Jeopardy and other popular games to use picture clues. Current entertainment and media events can often be discussed in a humorous way, and provide a real-world aspect that will help students take their English skills outside of the classroom.

Reading is of course expected by all students, and Ten Important Sentences with Watermelon is an excellent game to promote team building, working under pressure, and summarizing. This is a game that also appeals to Tactile students, as the teams send representatives to put the sentences in order.

TACTILE AND KINASTHETIC ESL LEARNING STYLE

These students make up the last two types of learning styles. Tactile student projects focus more on model building and crafts. Games for the Kinesthetic learner include group participation and physical use of the whole body. Activities originally developed for these learning styles have been found to help all types of ESL learners, which is encouraging news for those trying to introduce new elements into their classrooms!

A good vocabulary game with a strong tactile element to appeal to this learning style is the old “objects in a bag” game. Students can describe the items they hear and the class can guess their identity. Be prepared, this game can cause a degree of hilarity as students search for words to indicate to their classmates!

Spatial games involve rearranging items (a tactile variation) or people (a kinesthetic approach). Population Punctuation can be played by handing out cards with words and punctuation to everyone except one member of the class who is designated as “it” This student then tries to make a correct sentence complete with punctuation by lining up as many as many people as possible.

Crafts and model building sets are invaluable as they combine auditory or visual elements with touch as students read or listen to project instructions. Investing in a large set of Legos will be worth it! Brightly colored pencils are another fun way for students to proclaim their individuality as they follow directions to draw or label cards.

Variety can bring success to your classroom and help all members of your ESL class to broaden their learning styles. Games that make learning fun are a great way to foster independent thinking patterns, and create a relaxed, creative atmosphere where every student can find the tools they need for success!

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