ELL » "Quick Tips" for Newcomers

"Quick Tips" for Newcomers

Quick Tips for Supporting K-12 Newcomer ESL Students

In The Mainstream Classroom


  1. Sensitize mainstream students to the newcomers’ challenges.
  • Prepare English-speaking peers of a newcomer.

o       Ask your students to imagine that their parents took them to another country to live.

o       Brainstorm with them how they would feel.

  1. Be aware of the effects of culture shock.

Children may demonstrate physical alignments or display a wide variety of unusual behavior such as tantrums, crying, aggression, depression, tendency to withdraw, and sleeplessness.


  1. Create a nurturing environment
  • Give lots of encouragement and praise for what the students can do, and create frequent opportunities for their success in your class. 
  • Be careful not to call on them to perform alone above their level of competence.


  1. Establish a regular routine for newcomers
  • At first, everything will be chaotic to your newcomers.  Give them help in organizing time, space, and materials. 
  • Give them a copy of the daily schedule.  Tape it to their desks, or have them keep it at the front of their notebooks. 
  • Send a copy of the daily schedule home so that parents can help their children feel more connected to the classroom.


  1. Engage newcomers in language learning from the beginning

Here are some ways to actively engage your newcomers in language learning.

  • Copy Work

o       Have students copy alphabet letters, numbers, their name, your name, the names of other students in the class, and beginning vocabulary words.

o       Have them draw pictures to demonstrate comprehension of what they are copying.

  • Rote Learning

o       While this is not popular in American schools today, it is common in many other countries. 

o       Initially, parents and students often feel more comfortable if they can see some kind of end product. 

o       You may wish to have students learn sight words, poems, chants, songs, lists, and spelling words through rote learning.

  • The Class Authority

o       Each newcomer has many strengths that he or she can share with the class. 

o       When appropriate include them as resources so they too can be seen as important members of the group. 

o       Areas of expertise might be computers, math, origami, art work, etc.


  1. Recruit volunteers to work with newcomers



  1. Use recorded material