Four Ways to Build Fluency for Multilingual Learners
To be able to learn, you have to be able to understand the words your teacher is saying. For multilingual learners, that is sometimes easier said than done.
Multilingual or English language learners are linguistically diverse students who receive specialized support to develop English proficiency. To be considered fluent, students must be able to listen, speak, read, and write in English.
The four modalities of language learning
Language learners go through stages of language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Although each skill represents its own set of nuanced learning objectives, the final goal is integrated proficiency, where students can use all four modalities together to communicate with greater depth.
Students need a way to practice their skills to get to that point. That’s why all BrainPOP ELL’s ninety lessons include various activities to reinforce student learning.
Practice across modalities with BrainPOP ELL
Students don’t just need some practice in each of the four modalities. They need frequent, repetitive practice at their “just right” level to internalize their learning.
How do teachers who support multilingual learners create these practice opportunities?
It’s no small task. Because students develop language at different rates, no individual practice activity will be right for everyone. On the other hand, giving every student a unique practice activity would prevent them from collaborating (and require too much prep time).
With BrainPOP ELL, students can take a placement test that provides insights into their language-learning level. From there, activities can be differentiated to meet them exactly where they need to be.
After students place, you can begin your next class by showing your students the same educational movie. (Or, if students’ differing ranges require unique learning content, you might assign individual videos!). Students will love seeing relatable friends like Ben and Moby, and you’ll love identifying the embedded research-based practices like comprehensible input.
The magic starts at the end of the movie. Assign, or allow your students to select from a menu of engaging learning activities that span the four modalities and student proficiency levels.
Meet any objective with a range of multimodal activities
- Deepen Understanding through Engaging Activities: Immerse your students in eight diverse language-learning tasks after the movie. These cater to various learning styles and proficiency levels, ensuring every student finds a mode that resonates with them.
- Strengthen Vocabulary with Flash Words: Dive into interactive, audio-enabled flashcards. As students flip, they can self-assess their grasp on a concept through the associated imagery. The hands-on approach boosts retention and understanding.
- Explore Words in Context with Word Play: After getting acquainted with a word and its meaning, students delve deeper. They express their comprehension by drawing, writing thoughts, or discussing the chosen word, fortifying their linguistic connections.
- Practice Pronunciation with Hear It, Say It: Students tune into a video snippet, then record themselves replicating the dialogue. The playback feature instills confidence and provides insight into their pronunciation progress.
- Test Comprehension with Quiz: Students evaluate their listening and reading skills through a dual-mode multiple-choice quiz. “Review” allows iterative attempts, promoting mastery, while “Graded” gauges their understanding at a snapshot in time.
- Enhance Reading Skills with Read It: Delve into a narrative passage followed by probing questions. The flexible “Review” and “Graded” modes cater to skill reinforcement and assessment needs.
- Cultivate Writing Proficiency with Write It: Guided by sentence frames, students weave unique written pieces reflecting the knowledge imbibed from the video. An easy-to-use print option celebrates their literary accomplishments.
- Visualize Concepts with Make-A-Map: By fashioning graphic organizers using a mix of text, visuals, and video segments, students consolidate their understanding. Pre-crafted maps are available for modification, giving them a foundation to build on.
- Deep Dive into Grammar with Grammar Summary: For those keen on a comprehensive grasp of the day’s concepts, this feature elucidates the intricacies, ensuring a well-rounded linguistic foundation.
Put the learning to work
All of these activities let multilingual learners practice their budding vocabulary and grammar skills at the best level for them. Best of all, with students hard at work on their devices, you can circulate the room, offering specific feedback and additional assistance to students as they need it.
We invite you to begin class together and encourage you to end class similarly. Put students in small groups, or meet together as a classroom community to put the day’s learning to work.
You’ll love the hum of a classroom of students laughing and chattering as they practice together.
Katie Pothireddy is a product marketer on the BrainPOP team and a former vice principal, teacher coach, and classroom teacher. She holds a Master’s in the Science of Education from Johns Hopkins University.