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Let's begin today's topic, how to pull out patterns to help ESL Learners retain new vocabulary.
Whether you are teaching advanced ESL learners or elementary ESL learners, they learn phrases and sentences just like they learn words. They memorize it as a whole. If you want students, especially elementary ESL learners, to break out and learn to use a pattern, you need to show them the pattern, and have them practice the pattern.
Example 1: 3-year-old boy
1) Teach the meaning of 3-year-old boy
2) Teach that you can use other numbers like 4-year-old boy
3) Practice giving students numbers like 5, 10, 12 and have students make the pattern (5-year old boy...etc)
4) Change boy to girl, do a pattern practice with different numbers again.
5) Change to woman...then man...and repeat.
Example 2: My ____ hurts.
1) Teach body parts (head, hand, leg, etc.)
2) Teach "My head hurts"
3) Give students body parts ("Head") and have the students say the pattern ("My head hurts").
4) Let the students create their own patterns.
ESL learners need to practice the words a lot, and practice the patterns a lot. Advanced ESL learners and elementary ESL learners will benefit from this constant practice in the classroom, and will gradually build up their vocabulary and the number of useful phrases and sentences that they can make on their own.
If you have any other advice on pulling out patterns and using these patterns to re-enforce vocabulary, then please share! This post is similar to the post on using sentence practice help students learn new vocabulary, so please visit it as well!
Your fellow ESL Teacher,