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100. Equipping ELLs: Beth's Top 10 Teaching Tips
Episode 10010th November 2023 • Equipping ELLs • Beth Vaucher, ELL, ESL Teachers
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We are celebrating 100 episodes of Equipping ELLs!

This episode compiles the ultimate top ten teaching tips for teachers of ELLs. Host Beth Vaucher dives deep into the power of building strong relationships, celebrating small wins, scaffolding, advocating for your students, and more. Packed with practical advice, this episode is your go-to guide for leveling up your teaching game when it comes to supporting multilingual learners. Whether you need a starting point or a refresher mid-year, tune in for support in creating an engaging and supportive learning environment for ELLs that goes beyond the books!



I want to welcome you to the 100th episode of the equipping. Els

podcast. This has gone by so fast I cannot believe honestly that

we're at the 100th episode already. But it truly has been such a

joy to get to share with you something that I'm so passionate

about each and every week. And I just want to thank you from the

bottom of my heart. For spending your time with me, for taking the

time to listen. Thanks. It's really such an honor and a gift and a

joy to be able to be here. So I want to thank all my guests that

have been on just some really incredible educators that have

shared their wisdom and passion with us. And that's the beauty of

this project is coming together and getting to learn best

practices and figure out best ways that we can really support. Our

multilingual learners. I also wanted to thank each person that

shared a voice message with me about how the equipping els Podcast

has been helpful to you. It was so encouraging to my heart to hear

different ways that you have had takeaways and the practical tips

from different episodes and how you've applied that in your

teaching. Is really so encouraging. So if your message is shared

during Today's show. Send us a message at Hello at Inspiring Young, and we will send you a special code for one month,

free to equipping. All right, so let's dive in. In honor of our

100th episode, I am going to be sharing my top ten tips. For

successfully teaching ells. I would love to do 100, but we might

be here way too long if I try to do 100 tips. So I'm taking really

kind of looking back at the last 100 episodes. And for those who

are new, I know it's always really overwhelming to start or to

find a podcast that you're super excited about. But then you see

like, Wow. There's already all these episodes that I miss. That's

at least how I feel. Then I get a little overwhelmed of where to

begin. So this is a great time where I'm going to just recap,

really the essential places to begin. The mindsets to have what

matters most. When you are showing up to support your multilingual

learners. All right. So number one, we're going to start one, one

to ten. This isn't really comp done from ten to one, we're going

to go from one to ten. So number one for most important, most

important thing you need to remember is that relationships are


If you listen to me for any amount of time, you know that this is

something we always come back to because it matters. It really

matters. It matters with all of our students. But then when you

add in that component of not knowing the language and all of the

fear and anxiety and overwhelm and stress that comes from that

this is where it is even more key that they know you are a trusted

person, that you are safe, that you are for them, that you are

excited, that. They are in your class. All of those things will

unlock the key to academic language learning. But if we don't take

the time to focus on relationships. We really are missing out on

building that connection piece which is going to help all the

other learning. To happen. And what I mean by this, too, is

relationships with the parents. Start to implement things like

talking points or any other app where you can communicate quickly

and easily with parents. We need the parents involvement with

this. So relationship with the parents relationship with students.

When you are receding, any student get to know a little bit of the

background of that student. It is so eye opening to do a little

research. On different students that I've had or just even

different people I'm meeting and get a little glimpse into what's

happening right now in their country. And most countries around

the world are having some sort of strife happening or. Just a lot

of things are happening right now, right now, as I record this in

panama, we've had protests for over a week that have shut down the

schools and have really disrupted life for everybody here. And so

there's just a lot that's going on that if you can do. A quick

search and get a good glimpse of seeing. Where is it that they're

coming from? What was it like. There. It helps you to really

approach that student with such care and empathy and understanding

and meet them where they're at. It helps you to make space for

that time where they can share a little bit about what's going on

if they feel comfortable doing that. But I think it just really

helps us approach them and see. You know what, where they're

coming from? Looks really different than where we're at right now,

where I'm living right now, or what my experience has been growing

up. So starting there get to know your students, build those

relationships. Number two. Body language is the first. Language

learned. So what this means. And again, I feel like it's so simple

to say smiling is so important. But it really is something that

needs to be said, because as teachers, I think sometimes we carry.

The stress all the time that we from class to class and looking

from pile to pile of stuff and getting organized and just having.

This sense of hurry and busyness. And overwhelm and stress

ourselves as teachers. And so sometimes we forget that we need to

stop and smile and give off of our body language, that we are

welcoming these students into our class, that we are happy that

they are there. I remember when I first got my first. Newcomer I

did not smile because I had no idea what to do. So just not

because. I didn't want to build a relationship with the student or

meet her. I just was feeling so stressed about how to relate with

a student that didn't speak any English that it really showed in

my demeanor, in my face. In my expressions, not on purpose. It

just was a natural response to not having any idea what to do. So

that's just something I want you to really focus on and say, okay,

am I smiling right now? Can I just put a smile on even if. I'm

feeling pulled in so many directions, especially when you just

first greet those kids as they come into your class. Slow down.

Look up. Make eye contact. Smile. Use your gestures when you're

talking all of those things. That body language is key to those

first couple of weeks and months of them learning a new language.

Number Three is. To start simple. And then add on. All right,

start simple. And then add on. I see this happen a lot. Of

teachers. And I've been guilty of this myself of just trying to

bite off too much. And so we have these grand plans, and we could

do this. And I'm going to change and do setters here. And I can

cover all of these things. And so. We either over plan so we are

feeling rushed to get through everything. Or we haven't planned

thoroughly. So then when the lesson comes, we feel like not

prepared. And then the lesson, they get off task, or we just feel

like it's a waste of time. And we get discouraged about ourselves.

And so. What I have found is that starting simple, really. Just

going slow to begin. Is so helpful to you when you're planning and

to your students to really gain the frameworks. Gain that mindset

of what your class is going to be looking like. Is it going to be

just being thrown things at them all the time and they're trying

to just keep up with you? Or are you creating a space. Where

they're having a lot of opportunities to talk. To work on thinking

skills, to think out loud, to work with groups, and a lot of times

all of these types of things can be done with a picture, a

notebook and a pencil that can go a really long way. So don't feel

like you have to print out all of these things. And you have to

have all these centers ready. And you have to do all this

technology. Start simple. Just really develop those areas of your

expectations. Develop those opportunities to talk. Have them talk.

We're going to talk about that in a second. But then as you get

going, then start to add in those pictures or add in more. Start

to develop what you want your weeks to look like, what routines

you're going to do. But don't feel like you have to get it all set

up from the beginning because each group you work with is going to

be different. Each group is going to have different needs. So

taking that time to start slow and then add on what you see are

the biggest needs for that group is going to help you stick with

it throughout the year. That leads us into Number four. Oracle is

key to language development. This is something that as I have been

doing more and more research lately. I am more and more convinced

that if you spend most of your time. Providing ample opportunities

for your students. To talk about what they're learning to really

have opportunities before they do any application that they're

listening, they're talking. They're sharing out ideas. They're

working on thinking skills, especially when it comes to writing.

When our students are developing those skills before they put a

pencil to the paper. They're going to get better at writing. But

if we are just pushing them right. Into literacy skills, writing

skills and not giving them a lot of time to share about it and

build those communication skills. We are really harming their

language journey. Is key to language development. They need to

hear it from us. And they need plenty of talk time each and every

day in the classroom. So I want to challenge you with this. I want

you to really observe this week. How much talk time do you have.

Versus how much talk time your students have. And some of you

might be thinking, but newcomers really can't talk. That's not

true. There's plenty of ways that your newcomers can engage. And

that's how they are going to develop language skills. And when we

think about. The big push for literacy. And sometimes I see a lot

of Facebook groups say, oh, start with ABC, start with business.

If our students do not have the vocabulary word bank in order to

support what they're learning in literacy. It's going to be a

struggle. And that's why when we give plenty of opportunity for

them to listen and talk. They will build that vocabulary word bank

much faster. And then they'll be ready for literacy and writing

skills. But we have to really make the space for our students to

respond and to talk. And sometimes that might even be in their

native language. We're not going to get into that right now, but

just throwing that in there. All right, let's keep moving on

number five. If you don't know where to start. Start with a

picture and. A sentence stem. I get this question all the time.

What do I do? Where do I start with scaffold? Should I use were

the best views if I'm a homeroom teacher. And so this really is

your easiest place to start a picture. You can do so many things

with and it's so helpful. To unlock especially when you're working

on content. You can take one picture, pull out the vocabulary, do

all these things with one picture and a sentence step. Now all of

a sudden they can start to talk about that because you've given

them that sentence starter. It's really helping remove any blocks

that they might have of output. So start there with a picture in a

sentenced. But then I want to challenge and encourage you to keep

working on adding in new scaffolds. So once you're feeling good

about that picture and that sentence them now go and find okay,

what's another way that I can add in a new scaffold? Maybe that's

a Word Bank. There are so many scaffolds out there. So just start

to research maybe. Every other week or challenge. With your

teaching partners and say, okay, each of us this month, let's come

up, let's research, let's find a new scaffold. We have tons of

podcast episodes about scaffolding. And let's share this out. And

let's work on implementing these this month because this really is

one of the best ways. That teaching ells will get easier for you

when. Your scaffolding toolbox is getting Fuller and Fuller. And

you can easily pull out a scaffold on the spot regardless of what

topic you're teaching. That's when you're going to be able to feel

more confident in showing up for your ells because you'll know how

to pull something out and apply it to whatever's going on. So this

is a really important area that starts small. Start with that.

Picture. Sentence stem, but don't stop there. The bigger your

scaffolding toolbox is. The easier it will be to support on the

spot and to plan lessons that support your students. Easier. Okay.

Number six. Celebrate small achievements so that you can help your

students continue to move forward in their language journey. The

language Journey and I don't think this is talked about as often.

As it needs to be but the language journey is a long, lifetime

journey. There are ups and there are downs. There's days where

students. Feel really strong and confident and things are flowing.

And there's days where. It's really frustrating and it just seems

like there's a lot of hindrances. And things aren't coming as

easily. And so we need to be aware of that. We need to know. That

this is a lifetime journey. They're going to continue to grow in

their language because just as any native speaker continues to

learn new vocabulary words, right? Continues to learn different

things. Like I didn't even realize that there was subjunctive in

English until I learned subjective and Spanish. So there's new

things that we always can learn in our native language or in a

second language. And so it's important that we don't see their

goal is fluid exited out of the program because if that's all

we're reaching for, they are going to get lost along the journey.

It's necessary and vital that we find ways to celebrate those

small wins that we are really intentional with the goals we're

setting so that we can celebrate when they've hit those goals and

that they in turn, can feel proud of themselves. They can build

confidence and that will keep them propelling forward. If they

think, Well, the only thing that matters is if I pass this access

test. They're not going to try. They're disengaged. They have no

motivation now to learn. So finding ways that. You can take a look

at the future, really challenge them of what are they going to do

after high school? What does this look like if you're bilingual

and in the workplace, what benefit is that going to be to you?

There's so many ways that we can really open them up to see

outside of this grade therein and the importance of what they're

doing and how that is going to directly impact. Their future in

good ways. So celebrate the small achievements along the way.

Number seven. This kind of goes along with that. And this is the

fact that your job is to advocate for your students. There's a lot

going on with multilingual learners. And a lot of times they need

somebody who's going to stand up for them. Stand up for the

families. Find out. What are the laws saying, what rights do they

have. All of those things are part of your job. And another big

part of your job is to help your students. Embrace their own story

and journey. And I think this is something that's shifting and a

really beautiful thing that's happening. Where being multilingual.

Is really seen more and more as a superpower as it should be. And

so we wanted to help our students enter our schools, enter our

communities, and not think that they have to leave their language

at home or they have to forget their language. When I was growing

up, I can't tell you how many students. That I was in class with

in school with where they would stop speaking their native

language because of the attitude of the school, the attitude of

the teachers. They were embarrassed that they spoke with their

language at home and now many of them. They are not bilingual.

They only know English, and they've lost their native language.

And that is not what we want. So. A big part of our job. Over the

language learning itself is to really help instill in our

students. This confidence in their story, in their journey. And

this happens a lot by sharing the stories of other people. There's

tons of books out there. There's tons of different people you can

research, even from the home countries of your students. Where

they can see someone who. 's Gone before them. And overcome things

and have come out. And now the impact they're making on their

community, on their family, on their world. It's truly incredible.

So take that in mind. Sometimes we get so focused on the testing

and the standards and all of these other things, trying to fit it

all in. But really a big part of your job is to really just

embrace your students where they're at and give them that

confidence to walk in the story that's ahead of. Them and the

journey that they have. Because that's when we can do that. Many

times. Here, because I live in panama. And whenever I speak with

somebody who has learned English as a second language, I always

say, how did you learn it. And I would say nine out of ten times.

It happens because. Somebody believed in them. Somebody gave them

that confidence that they did not have. And it gave them what they

needed to go on to push through. To believe in themselves. To

reach. New levels of education that nobody in their family had

done before. And it always nine out of ten times came down to a

teacher who believed in them. And so. That really don't forget

that that is such a big part of your job and such an incredible

gift that you are getting to educate the global community right in

your classroom. And we don't know how far this reach will go. But

it's exciting to think about. All right, number Eight is. You

can't do it all. So be really intentional at the things you are

doing. And this is a tough one because. There are so many demands

being placed on you. And so it's really hard to figure out what is

it that you should be doing? And what can't you do? And again,

this kind of goes back to the last one where you're an advocate

for your students. But you also have to be an advocate for

yourself. I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten this year

from people who have caseloads of over 100 students and are

getting more by the. Week. And I did a podcast episode a couple of

weeks ago about what do the large caseload. But at the end of the

day, you need to stand up and say. This is not something that any

person. Even the most experienced educator can do successfully.

This is not fair for the students and it's not fair for you. So

really be mindful. Of what are the things that make the most

impact on your students and get really good at doing those things

and get intentional at those things and then need other things. Of

course we have duties and. We have. Additional responsibilities in

the school. But anything that you can say no to that is not part

of your role and your responsibility. Say no because you want to

get really focused on the things that make the most impact on your

students. I know that's harder? That's easier said than done but I

believe in you because number nine. You are an incredible teacher.

You really are. And I don't want you to doubt yourself because of

unrealistic demands on you. And you might be thinking, Well, this

is the top ten of how to Support ells. But guess what. Through

research, this has been shown that self efficacy is one of the

biggest influences to your student success. So when you're going

into your classroom and you're feeling doubtful about your skills,

you're feeling doubtful about the lessons you're planning. You're

feeling doubtful about. All these other things. That directly

impacts. How successful your students will be. So I want you to

hear this. That. You are an incredible teacher. If you are taking

time your own time to learn how to better show up for your

students that shows that you care, that you want to do what's best

for them. So don't doubt that, don't doubt that you are able to

give your students what they need. Are there going to be tough

days? Are there going to be times where it's confusing and you're

not sure yes, of course. But at the end of the day, the biggest

thing like I said when I speak to and share and listen to stories

of many ells that I encounter. It's that teacher who believed in

them. It's not because of some incredible lesson that transformed

them. And then that led them on the path. It's a relationship.

It's a teacher who believed in them and wouldn't give up on them.

And that is what has transformed their lives. So at the end of the

day, if you are working on building those relationships, on

supporting your students, where they're at, on giving them a

voice, on meeting their language needs. That is incredible. And so

I want you to know how incredible you are and how much of a

difference you are making in this world. And then number ten. And

this is something that is really important. And that is to make it

fun. Education. Learning should be fun. It needs to be fun.

Learning a language is tough if you've never tried, go and start

trying and you'll see how quickly you get frustrated and

overwhelmed. And that's only I mean, that's like when I do it for

half an hour, I think of being in a classroom all day long. In the

second language. We're asking students to. Do. That. So make it

fun. Use songs, music, multimedia games to bring in a multi

sensory approach. When you're teaching. Because those are the

things that are going to help it stick. I mean, how many you can

think of a high school Spanish song that just pops into your head

as soon as you hear body parts in Spanish or something like that,

it's just an instant thing where they can connect to it. So have

fun even when the stress is outside your classroom are making you

feel overwhelmed or making you doubt yourself. Know that when you

walk in your classroom, when you close that door, when you're

working with that group in front of you, bring your best. Be

silly. Have fun. Show up for them with that smile on your face.

And I promise you that they will respond, that they will continue

to grow in their language journey. And they are going to impact

the world. So. Those are top ten ways to help support multilingual

learners successfully. I love to know which one stood out the most

to you you can share in the comments or let us know over. On

Instagram at equipping ells. But I just again want to thank you

for being a part of this journey for me of doing these podcast

episodes. I am so grateful and thankful to you. I'm also super

excited for where we're going over the next two months to finish


development, so stay tuned for next week when we kick off that new

series. Thanks again Everybody, for joining me today. And I'll see

you on the next 100 episodes.





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