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Group Work and ESL Learners (Bethany Bates, 2009-10-22) by Mind Map: Group Work and ESL
Learners (Bethany
Bates, 2009-10-22)
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Group Work and ESL Learners (Bethany Bates, 2009-10-22)

View of Teaching

Social Constructivism

Focus on group work


Expert-other guides along until learner can do it on their own

Zone of proximal development: the next level a learner can reach

Group work

Groups are good because…

Learners hear more languages in different registers

Learners produce more language output

Take turns clarifying their own meanings

Language takes place in meaningful contexts


Clear, simple and explicit instructions need to be provided, Hard for ESL learners to understand complex instructions, Give instructions in multiple, different ways

Information gaps, Designed so that information needs to be created, reached for, or shared

Clear outcomes of the group work, Made clear before we start, Helps to understand, contextualize importance

Create cognitive tasks appropriate for all learners, So many different levels at SMIC, hard to do, Grouping, roles

Integrated with broader curricular topics, Easier for ES in single classrooms, Teachers working with other grade-level teachers, across curricular boundaries

All students involved, Grouping strategies (expert home grouping, see later), Assign roles, especially in middle school where students all want to do everything, ELD students given less challenging roles to build confidence

Give enough time, ESL students take longer to process hearing, reading, This can take flexibility on scheduling

Students need to be taught how to work in groups, Communicate expectations, Even at the high school level

A lot of the rules apply not just to ELD learners

New node

Group work ideas for helping ESL learners

Picture sequencing

Hot seat


Problem solving

Barrier games

Jigsaw reading

Writing and reading comprehension tips and activities

Journal word bank

Graphic organizer

Herringbone technique – good for reading stories.

Teacher-guided reporting – ask questions to draw out info, trains students on reporting.

Interview – kids switch roles.


Word substitution

Word guess

Other tips

Teach students academic language

Students pretend to understand directions, but really didn’t; academic language!

E.g. italicized, bold, passage, paragraph, main idea.

Use culturally appropriate examples when it’s possible

Allow kids to use first-language when starting group work

Helps to understand the English language resources, concepts better

Model the activity whenever possible


Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (Marzano, Pickering, Pollock) ISBN 0871205041

Scaffolding Language Scaffolding Learning: Teaching Second Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom (Gibbons) ISBN 0325003661