Hi Danna,

It has definitely been my experience too that knowing "how the language works" can be helpful when working with ELL students. For a training activity, you could invite students to present on the language they are learning. I am thinking specifically of students whose first language is English and who are learning Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, or any other language that is common among your ELL population. Language students are always comparing the target language back to their first language, so they would be able to talk with your tutors about those differences. Probably your own tutors or other good students will be most able to articulate the differences and how they influence patterns of error.

You'll want your student presenters to be as specific as possible. They should identify common patterns of error or common reading struggles and the reasons for them. For example, one of the common patterns of error for Japanese students is that they don't pluralize things. Why? Japanese just doesn't pluralize words as often as English does. In fact, students just beginning to study Japanese may be told that Japanese doesn't have a grammatical structure for pluralizing words. That's not quite true, but very few words get pluralized. Now we can understand why Japanese students forget to pluralize words in their writing!

Hope this helps,

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Danna Baggett
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2018 10:23 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: tutoring ESL students

Good morning!

My tutors have expressed their interest in learning more about tutoring ESL students.  We have seen an influx of second language learners, especially in our reading center.  The tutors have reported that some are being rude to them and asking them to just do it for them.  I don't know what to do other than what they would do when a native English speaking student acts that way, but they want to know if there is anything else they can do to handle the situation.

Also, is there a training activity you have that helps tutors understand the differences in languages?  For example, one of my reading tutors said that she has been helping a student from Japan and has been able to finally help him/her now that she understands how their language works.  Any suggestions or training activities you have that can help are much appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Danna Baggett
Tutoring Services/Apache Tutoring
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PO Box 9020, Tyler, TX 75711
1400 East Fifth St., Tyler, TX 75798

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