Wednesday, May 3, 2023

4 Tips for Teaching ELs to Describe


To be able to describe people, places and things is an important part of the English language. Teaching this concept to elementary ESL (English as a Second Language) students can be challenging but I have a few creative strategies your you to make it easier!

I think the most effective way to teach ESL students how to describe people, places, and things using nouns, pronouns, and adjectives is through experiential learning. Experiential learning involves engaging English learners in activities that allow them to explore the world around them. This allows the ELs to practice their English skills while having fun at the same time. Read on to learn about some examples of experiential learning activities for teaching nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.

1) Create a Classroom Museum to Describe

Have your students make their own museum by bringing in items from home or making their own artwork about various people, places, and things. Ask each student what adjective they would use to describe each item in their museum. You could also turn this into a game by having pairs or groups of students race against one another to pick out the correct adjectives for each item.

2) Go on a Walk Around Town

I like to take students on a walk around town where I can point out different people, places, and things along the way. I have students take turns describing each person, place, or thing they see using pronouns and adjectives. For example: “That house is big (adjective), it belongs to us (pronoun).”

3) Describe Your Day

Another activity that works well is to have each student come up with one person they interacted with during the day (i.e., family member, friend, etc.) and write down three adjectives that best describe that person or thing. Then ask them why they chose those three adjectives by encouraging them to give more detail about why (e.g., she is kind because she always helps me with my homework).

The Art of Teaching English Language Learners! – Read it here!

4) Role Play Interviews

I like to assign different roles for your classroom such as interviewer, interviewee, and observer. I ask each student to come up with five adjectives that best describe themselves as if they were being interviewed for a job position (e.g., responsible because I always finish my work on time). After each student has written down his or her five adjectives I ask them to role-play the interview with another classmate who will act as the interviewer while other students observe and rate how well they did based on the description given by the interviewee using nouns, pronouns, and adjectives correctly throughout their answers.

By engaging in these types of activities your ESL students will not only learn how to effectively use nouns, pronouns, and adjectives when describing people, places, and things; but they will also have fun while doing it!

So don’t be afraid to get creative when teaching this important language concept; by enabling your ESL learners to experience it through experiential learning techniques such as creating their own classroom museum or going on an interactive tour through town you’ll find that teaching this concept becomes much easier!

Happy Teaching!
Let’s Teach! Lori
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