66. What do I do for this child? How do I begin to communicate?

If the child DOES NOT have a visual impairment, that is, if the child is NOT blind, (or deaf) we can begin immediately to teach that child through VISUALS, MANIPULATIVES, REALIA, POSTERS, PICTURES, and through ACTIONS.

Teachers can begin immediately demonstrating, "acting-out" the meaning of what they are talking about. Better yet, the teacher can have students in the class --one, some or all, individually-- always demonstrate what the teacher is talking about as a "model" for the just-arrived English Learners.

Interesting, this is the way we need to begin teaching in Kindergarten ALL students, the English fluent, too. Recently I trained a group of about 40 Head Start Teachers and Instructional Assistants. As we planned the first few daily lessons for the program –which included mostly poor African American and recently arrived Hispanic children-- I insisted on developing lessons for ALL students about the classroom vocabulary. During the first week of school, teachers and aides were amazed to observe that the English-ONLY students knew almost NONE of the language of school: glue, scissors, crayons, markers, puzzles, easel, stove, broom, napkin, faucet, etc., etc. NONE of these words were known by English-speaking children!!!! Of course, Spanish-speaking children knew NONE of them!!!!

This same situation occurs every time, in every grade, that a teacher introduces a new content area topic or concept. The students, even the English-speaking students, know NONE of the new content area language the teacher is about to use. For all practical purposes, English-speaking students become ESL students as the teacher begins to introduce a new topic or concept.

Thus, it is MOST important that teachers be ready, at all times, to WORK WITH the ESL teacher so that the non-English-speaking student is helped in the ESL classroom with the language the teacher will use later on during the day in the content area lesson. It is MOST important, too, that the non-English-speaking child be provided opportunities to understand the contents of the lesson through (h)is/er own native language BEFORE the child attends the content area class. In a self-contained classroom, the teacher becomes the content-area AND the ESL teacher every school day. That means that the teacher must plan ESL instruction for the ESL pupils BEFORE the content area lessons in which the new language will be used.

Above all, the content area / self-contained classroom teacher must be ready to "show, display, demonstrate, mimic, act out" the messages she is trying to communicate. Pictures, posters, realia, manipulatives, and the English language the teacher uses during the lesson are the MOST IMPORTANT tools for a teacher to TEACH a non-English-speaking child.


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net