Request a demo for free!

Setting them up to Succeed: Teacher Groundwork

Learning Strategies for English Language Learners / ESOL


  • Dialling the level of difficulty
  • Conversational English versus Academic English
  • The Benefits of Bilingualism / Multilingualism
  • English Language Learners – problems to be fixed or assets to embrace?
  • Principles to Guide ELL Pedagogy
  • Glossary 

NB: This field of SLEUTH uses the term English Language Learners (ELLs) in preference to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) only because ELL is the more common term in the international literature and research.

There has been a significant increase in the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in classrooms in the western world such as in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. For example, it is projected that by 2025, 1 out of 4 children in classrooms in the United States will be an English Language Learner (ELL). It’s a growth that is projected to continue.

Presumably, because you are reading this, the growth has made itself felt in your classroom or centre and you are asking yourself how to give ELLs the best possible chance at education. Great question.

The answer starts with the good news that we live in enlightened times. For centuries, pedagogical approaches to acquiring a second language consisted of translating from the second language to the student’s first language, memorising grammar rules, and learning vocabulary lists. Stephen Krashen, a prominent figure in the field of second language acquisition (SLA), contributed ground breaking ideas in the early 1980s that have significantly influenced…..

… to see more visit SLEUTH™ Field 9, Section 2.

Visit SLEUTH™ to read more on how Teacher Groundwork in Strategies for English Language Learners / ESOL can help grow your pedagogy and your learners outcomes.

SLEUTH™ ‘Quick Solutions’

Dialling the level of difficulty – Language development – Facilitate meaning making
Assist English Language Learners as they encounter challenging second language oral or written texts by:

  • engaging learners in discussions about meaning:
  • setting up constructed conversations in pairs and groups;
  • using thinking activities to shift text into meaning.

Dialling the level of difficulty – Language development – Continually assess comprehension
To determine that English Language Learners have truly understood class texts, actively monitor their learning using continual informal formative assessment. For more on formative assessment, see SLEUTH™ Field 10: Formative assessment.

Bilingualism / Multilingualism is a strength – Code-switching
English Language Learners must inhibit one language while activating the other. Therefore, they have slower and less reliable access to their lexicon, and when using their foreign language/s, they become less instinctive and more utilitarian, making deliberate choices. Understand that their slow processing is related to language retrieval rather than cognitive competence.

Bilingualism / Multilingualism is a strength – A cognitive advantage
Bilingualism/multilingualism strengthens rather than impedes cognitive development and the acquisition of academic language. Therefore, treat all languages spoken by learners as taonga, worthy of promoting and perpetuating.

Principles to Guide ELL Pedagogy – Wait time by using Think-Pair-Share
In preference to calling on one person to answer, ask the class to share their answers with a partner. Hence, all learners actively process their thoughts while practising listening and talking before taking the risk of answering in front of the whole class.

Sleuth provides teachers with the tools and research they need to improve their students’ outcomes.

Inspect your teaching, reveal their potential.