Cómo crear un aula acogedora

Es probable que sus estudiantes que están aprendiendo inglés (ELL) provengan de una cultura con tradiciones y valores familiares distintos de la cultura dominante estadounidense. Estos niños no sólo tienen el desafío de aprender una lengua nueva sino también de adaptarse a un entorno cultural y a un sistema escolar desconocidos. Imagínese cómo sería entrar en un aula extranjera donde usted no entendiera el idioma, las reglas, las rutinas o el comportamiento esperado. Día tras día, los estudiantes ELL se adaptan a nuevas formas de decir y hacer cosas. Como su maestra, usted es un lazo importante para vincularlos con esta cultura y sistema escolar desconocidos. Hay varias cosas que usted puede hacer para que las transiciones de los alumnos ELL sean lo menos complicadas posibles.

Etapas de adaptación cultural

Del mismo modo que los estudiantes ELL atraviesan etapas de aprendizaje del idioma inglés, también pueden pasar por etapas de adaptación cultural. Sin embargo, estas etapas pueden ser menos definidas y más difíciles de notar. Si conoce estas etapas, puede comprender mejor las acciones y reacciones "inusuales" que quizá sólo sean parte de la adaptación a una nueva cultura.

  • Euforia: Los estudiantes ELL pueden experimentar un período inicial de emoción acerca de su nuevo entorno.
  • Choque cultural: Los estudiantes ELL pueden experimentar ira, hostilidad, frustración, nostalgia del hogar o resentimiento hacia la nueva cultura.
  • Aceptación: Los estudiantes ELL gradualmente aceptan su nuevo entorno.
  • Asimilación /adaptación: Los estudiantes ELL aceptan y se adaptan a su entorno y a su "nueva" cultura.

Estrategias del aula: Ayudar a sus estudiantes ELL a adaptarse a su nuevo entorno

Aunque no hay técnicas de enseñanza específicas para hacer que los estudiantes ELL sientan que pertenecen a una nueva cultura, hay cosas que usted puede hacer para que se sientan bienvenidos en el aula.

Aprenda sus nombres

Tómese tiempo para aprender a pronunciar los nombres de sus estudiantes ELL correctamente. Pídales que digan su nombre. Escuche atentamente y repítalo hasta aprenderlo. Si el nombre de un estudiante es Pedro, asegúrese de no llamarlo /peedro/ o Peter. Además, practique la pronunciación correcta de los nombres de los estudiantes ELL con la clase para que todos los compañeros lo pronuncien correctamente.

Ayúdelos uno por uno cuando sea posible

Es posible que algunos estudiantes ELL no respondan voluntariamente en clase o pidan ayuda incluso si la necesitan. Los estudiantes ELL pueden sonreír y asentir con la cabeza, pero esto no significa necesariamente que comprenden. Acérquese a su pupitre para ofrecerles ayuda individual de modo amigable. Puede resultar útil que los estudiantes ELL se sienten cerca de su escritorio.

Asigne un compañero

Identifique a un compañero que realmente quiera ayudar a su estudiante ELL como un par. Este estudiante puede asegurarse de que el estudiante ELL comprenda lo que tiene que hacer. Incluso resultará más útil si el compañero conoce el primer idioma del estudiante ELL.

Use un plan diario de clase visual

Aunque los estudiantes ELL aún no comprenden todas las palabras que usted usa, es posible que entiendan la estructura de cada día. Mediante dibujos en la pizarra o imágenes en velcro, usted puede mostrar el plan diario de clase todas las mañanas. Escribiendo las horas y colocando dibujos al lado de palabras como lunch (almuerzo), wash hands (lavarse las manos), math (matemáticas) y field trip (excursión), los estudiantes ELL pueden tener una idea general de las actividades del día.

Use un intérprete

Los intérpretes en el lugar pueden ayudar a aclarar malentendidos que surgen por problemas de comunicación y diferencias culturales. Si no hay un intérprete en el lugar (contratado o algún voluntario entre el personal de la escuela), busque un adulto; puede ser otro padre que conozca la escuela o "conozca el sistema" y que esté dispuesto a ayudar en esta situación. En situaciones difíciles, no sería apropiado que el intérprete sea otro niño.

Los estudiantes ELL pueden cometer "errores" involuntarios al tratar de adaptarse a su nuevo entorno cultural. Constantemente trasladan lo que ellos conocen como conductas aceptables de su propia cultura al aula y la escuela de Estados Unidos. Tenga paciencia mientras los ELL aprenden inglés y se adaptan.

Lleve la cultura de los estudiantes al aula

Aliente a los estudiantes ELL a compartir su idioma y su cultura con usted y con la clase. Una actividad de demostración es una buena oportunidad para que los estudiantes ELL traigan algo que represente su cultura, si lo desean. También pueden contar un cuento popular o tradicional usando palabras, imágenes, gestos y movimientos. Los estudiantes ELL también pueden intentar enseñarles a sus compañeros algunas palabras de su lengua materna.

Use materiales relacionados con las culturas de sus estudiantes ELL.

Los niños responden cuando ven libros, temas, personajes e imágenes que les resultan familiares. Busque lograr un buen equilibrio de libros y materiales que incluyan distintas culturas. Vea una lista de libros recomendados por ¡Colorín Colorado!

Rotule los objetos de la clase en ambos idiomas

Rotular los objetos de la clase ayudará a que los estudiantes ELL comprendan mejor su entorno inmediato. Estas etiquetas también le ayudarán a usted a dar explicaciones o instrucciones. Empiece con objetos cotidianos, como "door/puerta", "book/libro", and "chair/silla".

Incluya a los estudiantes ELL de un modo que no los intimide

Algunos estudiantes ELL pueden tener aprehensión de expresarse frente a un grupo. Pueden tener miedo de cometer errores enfrente de sus pares. Su silencio también podría ser una señal de respeto hacia usted como autoridad y no una señal de su incapacidad o reticencia a participar. Busque maneras de hacer participar a los estudiantes ELL de un modo que no los intimide; por ejemplo con actividades de respuesta física total y proyectos de aprendizaje cooperativo.

Haga participar a los estudiantes ELL en el aprendizaje cooperativo

Algunos estudiantes ELL están acostumbrados a trabajar de manera cooperativa en tareas asignadas. Lo que para usted puede parecer hacer trampa es en realidad un estilo de aprendizaje adquirido culturalmente, un intento del alumno de imitar, ver o repetir lo que tiene que hacer. Use este rasgo cultural como una ventaja en la clase. Asigne compañeros o pares que actúen como tutores para que los estudiantes ELL puedan participar en las actividades de la clase. Consulte estrategias de aprendizaje cooperativo que puede usar con los estudiantes ELL.

Ayude a sus estudiantes ELL a respetar las reglas establecidas

Todos los alumnos deben comprender y respetar las reglas de su clase desde el inicio, y los estudiantes ELL no son la excepción. Enséñeles las reglas del manejo de la clase lo antes posible para evitar malentendidos, problemas de disciplina y sentimientos de baja autoestima. Aquí le damos algunas estrategias que puede usar en la clase:

  • Use elementos visuales como fotos, símbolos y sistemas de recompensa para comunicar sus expectativas de manera positiva y directa.
  • Demuestre el idioma a los estudiantes ELL usando ejemplos físicos con rutinas del aula y actividades instructivas. Los estudiantes ELL necesitan ver su ejemplo de comportamiento o el de sus pares para imitarlos cuando usted quiera que se sienten, que caminen hasta el tablón de noticias, que trabajen con un compañero, copien una palabra, etc.
  • Sea coherente y justo con todos los estudiantes. Cuando los estudiantes ELL comprendan las reglas, hágalos igualmente responsables por su conducta.

References

Adapted from: Eastern Stream Center on Resources and Training (ESCORT). (2003). Help! They don't speak English. Starter kit. Oneonta, NY: State University College.

And from: Tharp, R., Estrada, P., Stoll Dalton, S., & Yamauchi, L. (2000). Teaching transformed. Achieving excellence, fairness, inclusion, and harmony. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Reprints

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Comentarios

In order to make sure your classroom environment is appropriate and welcoming for an ELL learner there are a few essentials. I believe that one of the most important things to do is to make the student feel comfortable. In order to do this, bringing their culture into the classroom is a must. It is also important to place them with a respectable and trustworthy partner to help guide when the teacher is not available. Other helpful things might include posting names for objects around the room in both languages. This may help the ELL to feel like they are not an outcast, but apart of the class.

I have experienced that assigning a peer partner not only benefits the ELL, but the partner as well. My child was a peer partner to an ELL student and she was so intrigued she started learning simple words in his language to help communicate with him.

To welcome EL students into my classroom, the first step is to learn their names and the correct punctuation. This give each student a comfortable feeling and establishes a good relationship. After students are acquainted, a peer partner should be assigned... hopefully, someone who speaks the same language or has some connection to the student. For the classroom setting, important parts of the room should be labeled. Every effort should be made to bring any part of the student's culture. My goal is to generate conversation at any level. Instructions should be clear and simple. Pictures are very helpful for understanding directions and vocabulary.

Very helpful reflection of how to help EL's adjust to our schools.

It’s fundamental to make the students feel welcome to the school, and especially to the ESOL class by pronouncing their names correctly, try to speak their language, and body up the student with someone who speaks the same language.

Great article. I have incorporated all of those in my classroom. My last year in the classroom, I had a great number of Vietnamese-speaking and Spanish-speaking students. I labeled everything in three languages. It was fun to see how the students taught each other new words in a different language. My Vietnamese students would love to pull out their Vietnamese grammar workbooks during free time. It was great to see students so engaged in language learning. :)

This article was very informative and it provides support as to why certain things are encourage in my classroom. I do have to say that I am a Pre-K teacher and the visual schedule, and labeling in both languages in the our centers would provide additional support. I look forward to improving my classroom environment.

I enjoyed hearing the tips from Amber Prentice with tips to making EL students feel welcome in our classroom. I will make sure I use their correctly pronounced name and label my classroom before arrival.

Imagining myself in another country is a good reminder to the anxiety held by EL students. Making them welcome sets the tone for a successful relationship going forward.

What an eye opener. Every teacher of ELL students should view this information and use it.

I am a adjunct professor at California State University Northridge, and often use your website because it is an amazing resource for the credential students. How do I get a reprint?

This is a great indicator of what an ESOL school should look like. It is important to have labels in different languages to make the environment more inviting to all

I implement music from various cultures including singing in different languages.

It was interesting to hear just how small things can make such a huge difference in making new ELL students feel more comfortable.

This was a helpful video. It reassured me that I was already using many of the ELL strategies in my classroom. These are tips that can be used immediately in the classroom.

Many ELL's may go through various stages as they get used to being in the classroom. Strategies that teachers my use in order to assist their English language learner is provide a visual schedule, one-to-one assistance, assigning a partner, providing a welcoming cultural environment, and providing an interpreter if available.

Many ELL students will have a better understanding of the English language if both thei native and new language is being used in the classroom. For example, you can use books, vocabulary, and partners who use the same language to bridge the English and native language gap.

This information is very helpful and will help guide my teaching with my ELL students. I especially like what was said about learning to pronounce their names correctly.

This information will help me greet and work new students who are ELL. This information will be helpful in making me help new students feel welcomed.

I liked the comment that she made regarding getting books in the students native language.

All these ideas seem simple enough to do in the school and the classroom.

I agree that creating a welcoming classroom by the school and the homeroom teacher is extremely important. It sets the tone for the entire experience of the ELL student. If the administration and teachers create a positive environment, the other students will follow. In this way, the ELL student will feel more comfortable in his/her new setting.

The stages of concern is really good to know. Teachers often are confused when a student moves from the Euphoria period of excitement about their new surroundings to the culture shock period where they are angry, hostile or have resentment towards the new culture. Another eye opener is learning to pronounce the students name correctly. That is something we could do easily to take a load of stress off the student.

It's important to make our students feel welcomed and comfortable in their new environment. Ways to do that include using their given names, learning phrases in their native language, labeling classroom objects in both languages, and give students classroom buddies.

Pair them up with a partner for activities, display vocabulary with pictures, and continually encourage/assist students to do their best.

There are many useful tips that I can use in my classroom for ELL students.

In order to make a change feel welcome it has to be sincere! They all have to feel the warmth that you offer. They are all equal even with the language barriers.

In this section we learned about creating a welcoming classroom environment. It included ideas like having books in their language in the class, using phrases in the language sometimes, saying their name correctly, pair students from the same background together, reviewing the schedule, and inviting and including them in areas in or out of the class. I learned to model for them, to have signs in different languages posted, and to have staff members who speak multiple languages available to help them when possible.

So many people think that by saying it louder or slower will help the understanding. It is by going at it multiple ways with lots of patience that has worked best for me. From working in Title I for the majority of my career, I have learned a lot about cultures and strategies for the many ESL students that have been in my room. I try to keep in mind what it would look like for my own children if we were to move to Mexico and send them to school in a Spanish speaking world. I would only pray that someone would figure out how to teach them creatively and patiently.

Pronouncing ELL’s names correctly is so critical. Since I have a hard times with names, I have to spend more time on this anyway. I think having an enthusiastic attitude about correct pronunciation is important as I’ve seen people (teachers) get frustrated in front of the students when struggling with their names. I also liked the list of books from the students’ cultures. I’m sure they feel a sense of connection just with the pictures from their own countries. I can’t image what these kids must feel and be going through. I can’t imagine sending my own daughter to a school where English isn’t spoken (and she doesn’t speak that language – AND I don’t have the ability to teach her that school’s language either.

I really like the idea of using total physical response activities. I think that it could be used will all ages to help them see and understand the words used in the classroom.

A welcoming environment is key to creating a relationship with ELL students. You can do this by learning some of their language and offering books in their language. You can prepare the class by telling them that we will have a new student. Assign the student a buddy that speaks their language to help them around the school with procedures of the class. Remember that most ELLS are just ignorant of our language but are very bright.
Family nights and putting signs in different languages help to welcome the families to the school. Always be consistent and fair with all students.

It is extremely helpful to understand how moving into a new culture can affect students and how we can make the transition less stressful

I totally agree that you need visual cues, showing students that you respect them and their culture and representation of all your students in your classroom makes them feel welcome and loved in the classroom.

The STEM Lab is a wonderful place for ELL students to work with others to practice their English in a non-threatening environment. Students are able to practice vocabulary within the context of group work and hands-on activities allow students to explore science concepts further their own knowledge and experiences.

I appreciate the advice for creating a welcoming environment for new EL students. I especially like the use of a same language buddy system to help the EL student get adjusted to the routines of the classroom and the school.

I feel it is extremely important to make both the child and his/her family welcomed. They should feel that you care about them and want them to be there. There should also be a feeling of openness that you are there in anyway you can be to support and help them. In the past, parents are more forthcoming if they know you care about their child.

These students need to feel comfortable and safe when they are at school. Helping each student feel welcomed from the moment they enter your room, until the moment they leave to go home, is crucial for them to adapt to a new environment. I need to bridge the gap of the unknown culture by incorporating their own culture in my room and connecting it to a new culture.

A few things that really stood out to me and will help me in my classroom is to remember to learn the student's name, post visuals and add words in both languages, allow them to have a "buddy" in the classroom to aid them with the parts they do not understand, and speak slowly with clear body language while allowing them extra attention from you.

Mostly common sense stuff it seems, but good reminders. It's easy to forget how it might feel to be in their shoes.

It is essential to invite and emerge the culture of ELLs into the classroom and their learning environment.

I think all this is important. Probably the best thing is to make the student feel welcome.

Coming from my own bilingual background, I think having bilingual signs posted around the classroom would be helpful, especially signs that point to bathroom, trashcans, and supplies. I also think having a peer helper who can assist with the daily routines would also be helpful to our ELL students.

I think it is very important to have the ELL student feel invited. This article has given me some good ideas. Now I will make sure to speak individually with my ELL student at the start of each assignment. Hopefully, this will illustrate my concern and encourage them to seek help when confused.

I try to this with all of my students. I have taught at a school with various language barriers and a lot of what this article suggested were things that I automatically did.

I love the part about bring the culture of the students into the classroom. It is so important to encourage ELLs to share their language and culture with the class.

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