What we learned about teaching EL students while in China:

A practical approach to reaching English Learners


  • Rebecca A Wentworth Sam Houston State University
  • Melinda Miller Sam Houston State University


EL; ESL; WeChat; PowerPoint; Digital Translation Tools; Readers Theater; Learning Journals; Choral Response


As part of a five-year agreement with Huaiyan Normal University in Mainland China, the authors spent two weeks teaching pedagogy content to preservice teachers, all of whom are native Mandarin speakers, in a sheltered classroom. We scaffolded our students through PowerPoints, learning journals, readers theater, digital translation tools, group texting application, and choral response while they learned content and simultaneously developed formal and informal language. In this manuscript, we discuss some of the procedures we put into place to make content comprehensible for our students. We learned that (a) using a variety of strategies builds in interest and engagement; (b) explicitly teaching the strategies to the students helps with implementation; (c) consistently employing strategies allows students to gain comfort and confidence; and (d) all of this leads to increased success in student acquisition of both English language skills and content knowledge.