Asked 26th May, 2018

What pedagogical strategies do you employ to teach ESL students social sciences in English?

I am preparing a draft article examining the challenges of teaching international relations (IR) to Japanese undergraduate students in English. Japanese students introduced to the social sciences, particularly IR, face a number of unique challenges: an academic discipline almost entirely developed from a Western perspective; understanding terminology, concepts, and theories in English; and socio-cultural barriers in the classroom that hinder student participation. The strategies employed by the author may also be of interest to English-language instructors of other social science disciplines.

Most recent answer

8th Jun, 2020
Oscar Oliver Eybers
University of Pretoria
An important strategy is to get students to be aware of the genre they are employing and its purposes. Then, students must explicitly be taught the structure of that genre and how it may be used to advance knowledge.
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All Answers (8)

26th May, 2018
Mohamed Abdallah Turky
Tanta University
Some Strategies for Teaching Classroom Teachers of ELLs:-
  1. Provide comprehensible input for ELLs. Language is not “soaked up.” The learner must understand the message that is conveyed. Comprehensible input is a hypothesis first proposed by Stephen Krashen. (Krashen, 1981) He purports that ELLs acquire language by hearing and understanding messages that are slightly above their current English language level. When newcomers are assigned to a mainstream classroom and spend most of their day in this environment it is especially critical for them to receive comprehensible input from their teachers and classmates. If that teacher provides information by lecturing in the front of a classroom, the English language learner will not be receiving this input. Teachers need to speak more slowly, use gestures and body language to get across the meaning to ELLs.
  2. Make lessons visual. Use visual representations of new vocabulary and use graphs, maps, photographs, drawings and charts to introduce new vocabulary and concepts. Tell a story about information in the textbook using visuals. Create semantic and story maps, graphic organizers to teach students how to organize information.
  3. Link new information to prior knowledge. Teachers need to consider what schema ELL students brings to the classroom and to link instruction to the students’ personal, cultural, and world experiences. Teachers also need to know what their students do not know. They must understand how culture impacts learning in their classroom.
  4. Determine key concepts for the unit and define language and content objects for each lesson. Teachers write the key concept for a unit of study in student-friendly language and post it in the room. New learning should be tied to this concept. Additionally, teachers should begin each lesson by writing a content objective on the board. At the end of the lesson, students should be asked if the objective was met. Classroom teachers also need to set language objectives for the ELLs in their class. A language objective might be to learn new vocabulary, find the nouns in a lesson, or apply a grammar rule.
  5. Modify vocabulary instruction for ELLs. English language learners require direct instruction of new vocabulary. Teachers should also provide practice in pronouncing new words. ELLs need much more exposure to new terms, words, idioms, and phrases than do English fluent peers. Teachers need to tie new vocabulary to prior learning and use visual to reinforce meaning. Content area teachers should teach new vocabulary words that occur in the text as well as those related to the subject matter. Word wall should be used at all grade levels.
  6. Use cooperative learning strategies. Lecture style teaching excludes ELLs from the learning in a classroom We don’t want to relegate ELLs to the fringes of the classroom doing a separate lesson with a classroom aide or ESL teacher. Working in small groups is especially beneficial to ELLs who have an authentic reason to use academic vocabulary and real reasons to discuss key concepts. ELLs benefit from cooperative learning structures. Give students a job in a group. Monitor that they are participating.
  7. 7.Modify testing and 顺心彩票work for ELLs. Content area 顺心彩票work and assessments needs to be differentiated for ELLs. Teachers should allow alternative types of assessment: oral, drawings, physical response (e.g., act-it-out), and manipulatives as well as modification to the test. Homework and assessment should be directly linked to classroom instruction and students should be provided with study guides so that they know what to study. Remember that the ELLs in your class may not be able to take notes.
26th May, 2018
Mark Cogan
Kansai Gaidai University
Thank you, Mohmed. Greatly appreciated. Any specific advice for the social sciences? This seems geared toward English language learners (ELLs) rather than teaching undergraduate courses in English to students with lower level English abilities.
26th May, 2018
Rhonda D. Miller
Coastal Carolina University
I agree with everything Mohmed gave you. These things can apply to the social sciences. One other thing that may help is to assess the students' background knowledge on a topic/unit. Then, if they are lacking background knowledge, the teacher needs to help to build it. Use of videos or modules that the teacher creates to enhance background knowledge. It is best to explicitly teach these concepts and not have students "figure out" the meanings. The problem with content areas like the social sciences is that many vocabulary words are also new concepts, and the student has to learn both. In addition, the concepts are abstract. You cannot show, for example a picture of detente. Good luck to you.
27th May, 2018
Hein Retter
Technische Universit?t Braunschweig
Thankfully I mention the comments of my forerunners, all are valuable. My own comment is an own experience: At the best I learned by a always-speaking-and-yet-acting-system of learning.
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27th May, 2018
Mark Cogan
Kansai Gaidai University
Thank you, Hein. Can you elaborate?
3rd Jun, 2020
Caroline Hutchinson
Nihon University
I would love to know how this is going! I have an ESL background and have taught Japanese history for a few years - this year I am embarking on a "zemi" class that blends international relations with history.
Can you help by adding an answer?

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