How Do You Adapt Lessons for ESL Students?

I attended a training a few years ago where the speaker gave us a math worksheet in Chinese and then instructed the group (all native English speakers) in Chinese to complete the worksheet. Friends, I am a grown woman who has solid coping skills, and I was incredibly frustrated and overwhelmed. I could see why kids cry or give up when put in this position. Despite the discomfort of the moment, I am so grateful for that experience because it allowed me to empathize on a deeper level with my students who speak other languages. Our ESL students come to school and are taught complex concepts in a language other than their own; what an unnerving experience.

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

How can we as teachers and school counselors make our lesson content more accessible to our ESL students? Easy. Install the Google Translate Extension. The Google extension allows the entire content of the webpage to translate into one of 108 languages. So, yes, that means your Canvas page, your slide show, your google survey, and all the things will translate into your chosen language. Fancy, right? 

Let’s pause here before anyone decides to come at me for suggesting we make it easier on our ESL students by providing content in their native language. I understand the concept of immersion and appreciate the methodology behind the idea. However, I would argue that students are getting more out of their experience if they are receiving at least some of the information I am teaching in their native language.

How do I add Google Translate to my lesson?

First, you’ll go to Google Translate Extension.

It will look like this:

Click “Install” (Mine says “Remove from Chrome”).  

To translate the page of your choice, click on the puzzle piece on your menu bar’s top right.

Click on the button that says, “Google Translate”, and a white square will pop up with a blue link that says, “TRANSLATE THIS PAGE.”

Another bar will appear that says, “Translated to _____.”

You will select the language you desire to translate the page by clicking the blue drop-down tab, and a list of possible languages will appear.

Select your desired language and voilà, like magic; your page is translated from one language to another. 

When you are ready to grade their work, you’ll access it in your native language. I know that this is not “everything,” but it’s something and I hope it helps.