To help English Language Learners feel comfortable in your classroom, make sure they feel safe, valued, respected, and confident!
A few years ago, I found myself driving home, nearly in tears, wondering, “How on earth can I help English Language Learners in my class get through this?” It was about 2 months into the school year, and we had just found out our school building had been condemned. Yup, condemned. We had less than an hour to get everything we needed out of our classrooms and prepare for an unknown amount of time teaching half days on another school’s campus. Other teachers were scrambling for workbooks and whiteboards, and I stared at my classroom just wondering, how on earth can I make my students feel safe? The thing was, just a week before, my class of all-refugee students had been comparing stories about times when they were in buildings that were bombed. Now, I was faced with telling them that the very walls of our classroom--our safe place-- were not so safe after all. I had to figure out how to help English Language Learners in my classroom not only learn, but feel safe along the way. With a lot of patience and showing students that they were respected, valued, and loved every day, we made it through and became closer as a class.
Now, I’m *hoping* that you’re not dealing with a condemned building or any other catastrophic event, but the truth of the matter is, no matter what, our students need to feel safe in our classroom. This is especially true for our refugee students, as so many of them have faced traumatic events in their schools, homes, and other safe places in their home countries. I’ve found that helping ESL students feel valued, respected, and confident can go a long way toward helping students feel comfortable in your classroom! So, if you're wondering how to make students feel comfortable in the classroom, read on!
Help English Language Learners Feel Valued:
Hey there! I'm so glad you're here!
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