Students at schools where English is not the primary language often struggle with learning English. It can be upsetting for teachers and parents who are hopeful their children will succeed in school, but it's also a big problem. The good news is that there are many ways
that art can help students learn reading and writing skills, so even students with English-as-a-second language have hope for their future!
This blog post will talk about what art educators do to support English learners. We'll look at the different kinds of arts instruction and how to use them in your classroom and even share some ideas so you can get started.
What is an English Language Learner?
First off, let's talk about what it means for a student to be an English learner. There are English language schools
around the world right now. Students who are learning English may need support with their reading and writing to understand what they're reading and write things that make sense. They also may need help with their other subjects right alongside language instruction.
Students learning English at school may need exceptional support throughout the day to keep up with their classwork and homework. The level of support they need depends on their age
, what level of English they're in, and whether or not there is any identified student achievement concern, such as a low reading comprehension score.
Ways of using arts to support English language learners
If you're new to arts and English language learners, there are many ways to be creatively engaged with your students. Here are a few ideas:
1. Assessment of Language – Arts teachers use various art forms like drawing and painting as assessment tools for language skills in an English language school. They may also create writing and art projects that can be used as evaluations in whole-class or small group instruction.
2. Whole-Class or Small Group Instruction – When an art teacher can work with their students in whole-class instruction, it's an excellent way to incorporate language development and have the students work together in projects that are more collaborative and creative. When art teachers work with students individually, it is a great way to offer small group instruction, one-to-one attention, and an individual project that can support language development.
3. Extensive Assessment – Arts teachers use their art classes to provide students with lots of assessment opportunities. They think about this in assessing the students' skills and understanding and assessing their emerging performances concerning their content material.
4. Writer's Workshop – Arts teachers may use the expressive arts of writing, drawing, and painting to help students with the creative act of writing and specific skills like spelling, syntax, and punctuation.
5. The Arts as a Second Language – The arts are a language unto themselves. When students work on projects with art teachers, they are in the process of learning through language. The visual thinking and writing processes used when students use their creativity to express themselves are also making them more comfortable with the English language.
Arts educators need to use the expressive arts of writing, drawing, and painting to help their students with specific skills that they may be struggling with – like spelling, syntax, and punctuation. When arts educators help students with their creative writing projects, they are also helping them develop those specific skills.