I'm a general education freshman english teacher who will be making the move to EFL next year and am not sure what to expect.
Are there any helpful high school level websites that may have sample lesson plans or ideas as well?
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First of all, you need to look at the curriculum and compare it to what you are used to. That will give you an idea of how things are different. I can't give specifics without knowing what EFL level you are working with. It makes a big difference whether you are working with newcomers or advanced English learners. In general, you'll want to scaffold vocabulary at all levels and provide direct instruction in grammar.
Your district should have someone that works with the ELL population that can help you out also. I don't know about all states but our state as a State level ELL department that can help with professional development and most of the people there are very knowledgeable and helpful.
I've taught ELL students in the regular classroom before. Depending on the student, it could be challenging or it could be a breeze. I was teaching Freshman English, and the students I had happened to be Spanish speaking. My school bought me spanish versions of some of the major text, such as Romeo and Juliet, and I had my students following the audio in English, while reading the print in Spanish.
As a general rule, make sure to slow yourself down. Explain things slowly, speak a little slower, give your ELL students time to process what you're saying. Use as many visuals as possible: PPT, posters, illustrations or diagrams, video, etc. Give them print copies of as much as you can versus expecting them to get down all the notes. With assignments, I would limit what was required of them, but I would require them to revise as necessary to make sure they understood the concept and could convey their understanding so I could understand. That may mean they were allowed to orally give responses to me, or put the work in writing like the rest of the students.
You can't expect these students to get everything on the first try, so you have to be patient. Focus more on them getting a concept versus getting through the material. For example, getting through every Act of Romeo and Juliet won't matter with them unless they understand the basic concepts of the play. Pick Acts for them to show understanding for and fill in the gaps with the video.
This is going to be challenging. Prior to investigating any options here, I would speak to my colleagues or principals/ administrators at my school. Perhaps, there are other ELF trained teachers in the school to whom you can speak. There seems to be a great deal out there in terms of research and analysis. There is research that suggests the best way to reach ELF learners is to locate the center of the curriculum around their experiences and using English as a manner of communicating their experience, as opposed to using English to communicate solely the "English speaking" experience. This might be where some of your curriculum will need to be modified, especially if it was intended to be taught to English speaking high school students. I think that speaking to administrators or your principal in terms of identifying what the driving force of the class is might help immensely in seeing if what you have done in the past can apply to this new setting.
I am not sure that you have to change anything. There are great teachers all over the country that have high expectations and expect students to fulfill those expectations. As long as you are reaching for the stars in the eyes of the students, moving from once class to the next should not be a problem.
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