Some ideas to keep ESL learners on track and motivated:
1. PURPOSE: State the purpose of the activity. For instance if teaching summarizing, explain the reason why we summarize. The how & why is essential here.
2. PRACTICE: Have students take turns coming up to the board and actually complete the task – for instance: have the student summarize a text they listened to or read with their group and then one student comes up to write it on the board. You could have a mini contest and divide the class into two groups and have a ‘captain’ of each team write the summary then discuss the ideas written at the end. Great way to get the whole class involved and in turn learn the skills.
3. EXAMPLES: Show lots and lots of examples of the final piece. ESL students can learn in many different ways but they are however extremely visual and hence can understand what they need to do by seeing another example – although you need to make it clear they they do not copy.
Here’s an example of what I did with one of the texts. I handed out the reading (this one’s about winter). Students read the title and we quickly discussed what the story might be about. We discussed the picture and what is happening in the picture.
I told the students that they need to read the title first, the directions and then the story. Many students just don’t read the directions and begin waiting for the teacher to guide them (I personally think that they need to learn to be autonomous at an early age) so it is necessary that they try to read the directions (even with some assistance) from the beginning.
Here, I made dot marks underneath each word as the student read this story. This was easy to do with one-on-one teaching.