Strategies for a Bilingual Classroom

Whether you're learning English or a secondary language, a bilingual classroom can be challenging to navigate. Some students may speak one language, while the rest are speaking another. It can be hard to communicate to both groups of students together. We have compiled a list of strategies to help teachers turn their diverse classroom of students into bilingual learners.

1. Diverse Group Work

Pair students with different language backgrounds together. This creates a challenge for students to break language barriers. It also helps them learn from each other.

2. Learning Style Objectives

Create lessons that utilize multiple learning styles. For example, incorporate a visual aspect as well as a verbal aspect to a lesson. Have students complete an activity using only visual means, like a diagram or poster. Then, have students complete a similar activity using only verbal means, like an oral presentation.

3. One-on-One Communication

Take the time to communicate with each student one-on-one, providing a positive experience for each student. A short 5-minute small talk session can be a valuable tool in a bilingual classroom. Start a conversation in one language, then switch partway through. Mix it up with the student using one language and you another.

4. Language Expectations

Set specific expectations when a certain language is to be used. Conduct one full lesson in a singular language. Then, conduct another full lesson in a secondary language. Set limits for your students to use only one language at a certain time. This will encourage students who speak a certain language to mingle with students who speak the other.

5. Multi-Language Communication

Encourage students to speak using both languages together. Say one sentence in English, followed by another sentence in another language. Swap words from multiple languages within a single sentence.

6. Bridging Translation

Have students translate sentences from one language to another. You can once again pair students with different language backgrounds to help each other during this process.

Start your bilingual classroom off strong with these ready-made SPANISH-language Novel Study Guides.

For more tips and strategies, visit these resources:

Five Fundamental Strategies for Bilingual Learners - Kevin M. Wong, Huffington Post

Bridging Content and Language: Strategies from a Dual Language Classroom - Gretchen Vierstra, Teaching Channel

ELL Strategies & Best Practices: Bright Ideas for Teaching ELLs - Colorín Colorado

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