ESL teaching amid a pandemic and school closures comes with no shortage of challenges. Teachers and students alike are navigating a different learning environment with new distractions, abnormal schedules, and added stress and anxiety of the new normal.
This is a serious problem, given that 10.1% of students in public K-12 schools are ELLs. With no end to the pandemic in sight, ESL teachers can help to bridge the current gaps with the right tools that enable education to continue. Take a look at these recommended ESL teaching apps for educators during the pandemic and school closures:
1. ELSA Speak
Pronunciation is a big part of ESL teaching, and that’s where ELSA Speak excels. The app engages students with short dialogues and provides instant feedback via artificial intelligence. More than 1200 activities are included and cover common phrases, words, and even idioms to give students a sense for how real English speakers talk. In testing, more than 90% of users were able to pronounce words more clearly, thanks to the real-time feedback. It’s like providing one-on-one instruction to your students without having to schedule personal time blocks.
When it comes to ESL teaching in a K-12 setting, it’s important to connect with students in a way that’s impactful to them. In today’s age, this means using video to express ideas.
FluentU is a great tool for this because it allows you to share video content with your students as learning opportunities. What’s more, it also offers an interactive function where students can tap on a word and see how it’s used in context. Illustrations also support the learning curve to help students process the material even faster.
No one likes going through tedious drills when learning a new language, but repetition is critical to picking up on vocabulary and grammar. Memrise makes the process more fun and engaging — and a lot less like work.
ESL teachers primarily use Memrise for homework assignments. Once you teach your ESL lesson, you can customize assignments in Memrise to go along with your lesson for reinforcement. Students can move through the assignments at their own pace, so you can feel confident that no one is being held back or left behind.
Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Kahoot! turns ESL lessons into competitive games, where students can compete against their classmates. Teachers can assign groups to compete against each other or allow the entire class to engage. Perfect for quizzes and practice tests, you can design a series of questions based on your lessons, then see which students complete the questions the fastest and most accurately.
ESL Teaching Apps: Final Thoughts
Even in our current climate, neglecting educational priorities isn’t an option. It’s important that students continue their ESL instruction as smoothly and normally as possible to avoid learning loss and being left behind their peers. The above ESL teaching apps are a great place to start for teachers wanting to bridge the gap in a remote environment.
For more insights, check out 9 resources ESL teachers use to teach K-12 ESL learners.