11 Strong Strategies for Teaching ELL Students!

Teaching English Language Learners (ELL) can be a challenging task. How can excellent educators ensure that these students receive an equitable education and achieve academic success?

The term, ELL, refers to a student who does not speak English as a first language.  They typically come from non-English-speaking homes and may need modified instruction and additional support in English and other subject areas at school. 1

With the right strategies in place, teaching ELL students can be a rewarding experience for both students and teachers.

What are effective teaching English strategies meaning?

This image talks about strategies for teaching ELL students
This image talks about strategies for teaching ELL students

Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” Aristotle

Effective strategies for teaching ELL students refer to techniques and methodologies used by educators to help non-native speakers of English learn the language and achieve academic success.

These strategies involve creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment where students feel comfortable practicing their English skills and receiving constructive feedback.

Effective ELL teaching strategies also involve using a variety of instructional methods, such as visual aids, hands-on activities, and group work, to promote active engagement and participation.

Additionally, teachers may tailor their instruction to meet the individual needs of each student, providing differentiated instruction and scaffolding as necessary.

By using effective ELL teaching strategies, educators can help students develop proficiency in English and succeed academically.

Best strategies for teaching ELL students

This image talks about strategies for teaching ELL students
This image talks about strategies for teaching ELL students

Teaching ELL or ESL can be a challenging task, but there are several effective strategies for teaching ELL students that can help make the process easier and more successful.

1. Add on what you already know.

One such strategy is to build on what the students already know which involves building on the student’s existing knowledge of their native language to help them learn English.

By connecting new concepts to their existing knowledge and experiences, ELL students are better able to understand and retain new information.

This can be done by using a variety of techniques, such as visual aids, graphic organizers, and real-life examples.

Additionally, teachers can incorporate the students’ native language into lessons, which helps them feel more comfortable and confident in their learning.

By using this approach, teachers can create a supportive and engaging learning environment that meets the unique needs of ELL students and promotes their academic success.

2. Pre-teach new vocabulary words

One effective strategy for teaching the English language is to pre-teach new vocabulary words. ELL students often struggle with understanding the meaning of unfamiliar words, which can make it difficult for them to comprehend what they are reading or listening to.

By pre-teaching vocabulary words, teachers can help ELL students build a foundation of knowledge that will enable them to better understand and engage with new material.

When ELL students learn vocabulary, they understand what is happening in their classrooms and have a deeper knowledge of what they are expected to learn. 2

This can be done by introducing new words before beginning a lesson, providing visual aids, using gestures or body language to reinforce meaning, and providing opportunities for students to use the words in context.

By taking the time to pre-teach vocabulary, teachers can help ELL students feel more confident and successful in their learning.

3. Increase your wait time

One effective strategy for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) is to increase the amount of wait time you provide when asking them questions.

ELL students often need more time to process and formulate their responses in a new language, so it’s important to give them sufficient time to think before answering.

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By increasing your wait time, you allow students to feel more comfortable and confident in their ability to respond, which can lead to more thoughtful and accurate answers.

Additionally, using gestures and visual aids can help ELL students better understand concepts and instructions. Overall, patience and clear communication are key when working with ELL students.

4. Stay quiet and show respect.

In fact, ELL students may feel more isolated and discouraged if they are not given opportunities to participate in class discussions or activities.

Effective strategies for teaching ELL students include providing visual aids, using real-life examples, simplifying language, and encouraging participation through group work and pair work.

Additionally, scaffolding instruction to build on prior knowledge and allowing extra time for comprehension can also be helpful.

By implementing these strategies, teachers can create a positive learning environment that supports the academic success of all students, including ELLs.

5. Use a variety of methods to engage in learning

When it comes to teaching ELL students, it is important to use a variety of methods to engage in learning. ELL students come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, so it’s crucial to find ways to make the learning experience inclusive and engaging.

One strategy is to use visual aids such as pictures, videos, and diagrams to help students understand information like new concepts and vocabulary words.

Another approach is to incorporate hands-on activities such as group projects or role-playing exercises that encourage collaboration and communication.

It’s also helpful to provide real-life examples that relate to the student’s experiences, which can help them connect with the material on a more personal level.

Ultimately, the key is to be creative and adaptable in order to find what works best for each individual student, while also giving them the support they need to succeed.

6. Give both Verbal and Written Directions

Effective teaching strategies for English Language Learners (ELLs) include giving both verbal and written directions. This approach helps to ensure that students understand the material being taught and can follow instructions accurately.

Many ELLs may struggle with understanding spoken language, especially if they are still learning the English language. Providing written directions in addition to verbal instructions can help these students understand the lesson more clearly.

It also gives them a reference point to look back at if they need clarification. By using both verbal and written communication, teachers can create a more inclusive classroom environment that promotes learning for all students, regardless of their language proficiency level.

7. Focus on productive language.

Effective strategies for teaching the English Language include a focus on productive language skills. This means providing opportunities for ELLs to practice speaking and writing in English.

Teachers can facilitate this by creating a welcoming environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves in English, even if they make mistakes.

One approach is to use real-life situations as a way to teach language, such as role-playing or simulations.

Another effective strategy is to provide visual aids and hands-on activities that allow students to connect new vocabulary with concrete concepts.

Additionally, teachers can provide regular feedback and encouragement to help ELLs build their confidence and develop their language skills over time. By focusing on productive language, educators can help ELLs improve their communication skills and succeed academically.

8. Tell the difference.

Strategies for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) can make a big difference in the success of these students. Teachers must identify the specific needs of each student and tailor their instruction to meet those needs.

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Some effective strategies for helping ELL students include using visuals, real-life examples, and hands-on activities. Teachers should also provide opportunities for these students to practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the English language as much as possible.

It is important to create a supportive classroom environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. Teachers can also partner ELL students with native speakers or bilingual peers to help them improve their language skills.

By implementing these strategies, teachers can help ELL students succeed academically and socially while also fostering a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

9. Plan with the ESL teacher.

When it comes to teaching English Language Learners (ELL) students, collaboration is key. One of the most effective strategies for ensuring success is to plan with the ESL teacher. While all teachers have a role in supporting ELL students, the ESL teacher has specialized training and expertise that can be invaluable in creating lesson plans and instructional materials that meet the unique needs of these students.

By working together, classroom teachers and ESL teachers can identify areas where ELL students may struggle, such as vocabulary acquisition or understanding academic language, and develop targeted interventions to address those challenges.

They can also share resources and best practices, such as using visuals or graphic organizers to support comprehension or providing opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction to build speaking skills.

10. Utilize technology.

One effective strategy for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) is to utilize technology in the classroom. Technology can provide multiple benefits for ELLs, such as allowing them to practice language skills in a non-threatening environment and providing visual aids that can enhance their understanding of complex concepts.

Interactive whiteboards, multimedia resources, and educational apps are just a few examples of technology that can be used to engage ELLs and make learning more interactive.

Additionally, online language programs and language learning software can provide personalized instruction and allow students to work at their own pace. By integrating technology into lesson plans, teachers can create a more dynamic and engaging learning experience that is tailored to the unique needs of their ELL students.

11. Use Positive Gestures and Tone of Voice

When teaching English Language Learners (ELL) it is important to remember that non-verbal communication can be just as important as verbal communication.

Using positive gestures and tone of voice can help ELL students feel more comfortable and confident in the classroom. Simple gestures such as a smile, thumbs up, or nod of the head can go a long way in communicating encouragement and support.

Likewise, using a friendly and positive tone of voice can help convey warmth and understanding. It is also important to keep in mind cultural differences when using gestures and tone of voice, as what may be considered positive in one culture could be interpreted differently in another.

By being mindful of non-verbal communication and using positive gestures and tone of voice, teachers can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for their ELL students.

FAQs about ELL strategies:

1. What strategies are used to support ELLs in the classroom?

There are several strategies used to support English Language Learners (ELLs) in the classroom, including:

  • Sheltered instruction
  • Collaborative learning
  • Scaffolding
  • Cultural sensitivity:
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By using these strategies of teaching the English language and others like them, teachers can create a supportive and inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of all students, including English Language Learners.

2. What are the strategies in learning English language?

If you want to learn the English language in powerful strategies, read these steps:

  • Practice speaking the English language as much as possible.
  • Attend English classes or workshops to improve your fluency.
  • Use online resources such as YouTube, Google Translate, and Rosetta Stone to help you learn new vocabulary and grammar.
  • Use flashcards to memorize keywords and phrases.
  • Practice writing by completing exercises that teach you how to structure complex sentences in the English language.

3. What are effective strategies in teaching science to ELL students?

  1. Make use of real-world examples: Use events or experiences from your own life to illustrate points in your lessons.
  2. Use visuals: Have students create models, illustrations, or diagrams to help explain concepts.
  3. Use hands-on activities: Activities that require students to manipulate objects or experiment with scientific theories are often the most engaging and effective.
  4. Incorporate humour: Laughter is a natural way to break the tension of difficult science concepts and help students retain information.
  5. Use multimedia resources: Including videos, photos, and interactive online experiments can make learning science much more engaging for students.

4. Which method or approach is the best when teaching ELLs?

As an AI language model, I cannot determine the tone of your question. However, when it comes to teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different methods and strategies may work better for different learners depending on their needs and learning styles.

Some popular strategies for teaching ELL students include the communicative approach, which emphasizes real-life communication; the content-based approach, which uses subject matter as a means of language instruction; and the grammar-translation approach, which focuses on memorizing rules and vocabulary.

It is important for teachers to assess their student’s needs and adapt their teaching methods accordingly to ensure that all students have access to quality education.

5. What are the 3 key ESOL strategies?

  1. Engage: Share your story, tell your students about the importance of learning a new language, or engage in other activities that will get them excited about learning this language.
  2. Serve: Provide resources and materials that students can access to support their learning, such as flashcards, videos, or podcasts.
  3. Lead: Provide guidance and support to students so that they can be successful in their learning.

6. What are the strategies of teaching English language learners?

Teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) requires specialized strategies that cater to their unique needs and challenges. Here are some effective strategies commonly used:

  1. Language Modeling
  2. Visual Aids
  3. Contextual Learning
  4. Scaffolded Instruction
  5. Differentiated Instruction
  6. Total Physical Response (TPR)
  7. Language Games and Activities
  8. Peer Collaboration
  9. Cultural Sensitivity
  10. Feedback and Assessment
  11. Incorporate Technology
  12. Parent and Community Involvement

In brief, each student needs individualized instruction that takes into account their specific learning style and previous experience. However, using various strategies for teaching ELL students such as social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing can help teachers reach their target audience more effectively and encourage them to keep learning about science.


  1. Cason, S. (2022). 15 Strategies for English Language Learners. Education to the Core. https://educationtothecore.com/2022/04/15-strategies-for-english-language-learners/
  2. Gal, V. (n.d.). 8 Strategies for Teaching ELL Students Vocabulary Words. https://www.sadlier.com/school/ela-blog/8-strategies-for-teaching-ell-students-vocabulary-words-instructional-strategies-for-ell-students