Strategy 9

9. Teachers have regular conversations with individual students about their writing, thereby enabling students to improve the quality of their work.

Teacher-student writing conferences provide excellent opportunities for ELLs to interact one-on-one with the teacher. Not only do students receive individualized attention, but also they are able to speak in a setting that does not present competition from more verbally proficient classmates. Conferences provide teachers with a unique opportunity to learn more about each student and to strengthen the teacher-student relationship.

In conferences, teachers are responsive to the individual student's needs and interests. Teachers adjust their language to the student's comprehension level. During conferences, teachers respond to what students have written and drawn, and they ask clarifying questions to improve the quality of the students' speaking and writing. Beginning ELLs who are not yet writing may come to the conference with a drawing that the teacher can respond to verbally and in print.

Effective teachers say things like:

I like your picture. You used so many colors!
Tell me about the people you drew.
Is this your family?
Who is this?
You wrote that your sister's dress was nice, I want to know more about it.
Tell me the color.
Was it a long dress or a short dress? [Teacher gestures.]
You said that your cousin got mad but you didn't explain why.
What happened that made your cousin angry?
Did something happen?