Teaching Emergent Bilinguals
How do we assist our virtual, emergent bilinguals when it comes to language acquisitions? Here are a few tips that you may want to incorporate into your teaching:
1. Record lessons or snippets of your lessons so that students have the opportunity to listen repeatedly. With each round, they are likely to understand more, hence improving their receptive language.
2. Provide opportunities for interaction so that students can authentically use language. Have students post messages, engage in group discussions using sentence starters, and create videos on their own devices to share with classmates.
3. Co-plan with the ELL teacher to preview key vocabulary and concepts with students before the lesson.
4. Encourage students to continue growing their home language. Due to the isolation of the pandemic, this is the perfect time for students to spend more time with their own family members and learn more about their own language and culture. Research demonstrates that a stronger knowledge of one’s native language facilitates the acquisition of subsequent languages.
5. If you are a Dual Language teacher, in addition to the above suggestions, ensure that your language allocation remains the same as always for your virtual students. If you must favor one language over another, be sure to spend more time in Spanish than in English. This is important because society devalues Spanish. We don’t want to do the same.