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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

ESOL principles

Incorporating these seven ESOL principles into your planning will help your students to make both academic progress and language progress in all curriculum learning areas.

All the video clips on these pages come from the Making Language and Learning Work: DVDs 1, 2 and 3.

Principle 1

Know your learners - their language background, their language proficiency, their experiential background.

What do you know about your students' language skills? What do you know about their prior knowledge? How will you find out this information? How will it affect your planning?

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 7 technology

video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 10 social studies

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 1

Learn how to build a cultural village with your students. A collaborative way for teachers to discover more about their learners and their backgrounds. This resource can be used in a variety of ways, and enables students to share information about their country with classmates.

Principle 2

Identify the learning outcomes including the language demands of the teaching and learning.

What language do the students need to complete the task? Do the students know what the content and language learning outcomes are?

video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 7 technology

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 11 geography

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 2

Principle 3

Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners.

How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 5–6 visual arts

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 10 social studies

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 3

Principle 4

Begin with context-embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete.

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 5–6 social studies

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 13 economics

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 4

Principle 5

Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language.

Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 5–6 visual arts

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 13 economics

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 5

Principle 6

Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language.

Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language in this lesson?

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 5–6 social studies

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 2 – Year 11 English

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 6

Principle 7

Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation.

Am I using 'think alouds' to show students my strategy use? What opportunities are there for reflection and self-evaluation?

Video icon Primary level: DVD 3 – Year 7–8 science

Video icon Secondary level: DVD 1 – Year 10 science

Useful teaching strategies to support Principle 7

The seven principles are exemplified in the following planning and teaching units:

Published on: 15 Apr 2012




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