Reaching Our Intermediate Language Learners

In previous posts, we featured strategies to help beginning language learners.  In this piece, we will focus on our Intermediate students.  These students understand most of the conversational language that they are learning — also known as  “playground Spanish/English”—but  they do not have academic language yet.  They may have more trouble with complicated sentence patterns, idioms, homonyms, or simply more difficult vocabulary.  They still use mostly simple sentences and may make grammatical errors in their speech.  This stage tends to last 1-2 years.  Here are some strategies you can try with them to help them acquire both content and language:

Questioning Strategies

1. Ask how and why questions.

2. Check for understanding by asking students to explain something they have read or heard.

3. Ask students to engage in compare and contrast activities.

4. Ask students to tell about, describe, or explain.

General Teaching Strategies:

1. Encourage students to speak in complete sentences.

2. Provide modified and/or shortened texts and assignments.

3. Explain difficult vocabulary, idioms, and homonyms.

4. Provide sentence frames showing the use of transitional words and complex grammatical structures.

What strategies have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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