STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Switch to online classes impacts Huntsville ESL students

Teachers have to come up with creative ways to help ESL students understand their lessons.

Posted: May 18, 2020 2:20 PM
Updated: May 18, 2020 8:33 PM

Huntsville City Schools is having to use new ways to connect with students whose first language isn't English.

"I think one of the challenges for my students is that they are very dependent on that face-to-face interaction with their teachers," ESL teacher Candace Hatcher said.

She says it's hard teaching her students without being right next to them.

"They are able to ask clarification that way. They rely a lot on the visual that are available in the classroom setting, so we've had to provide support since they're not getting that through individualized instruction," Hatcher explained.

There are currently 1,600 ESL students in Huntsville. The students speak more than 40 languages and vary in English proficiency, so teachers have to come up with creative ways to help them understand their lessons.

"Very focused instruction. We are having to identify the most important things to teach and really emphasize those things," Hatcher said.

Still, the switch to online classes is actually helping some ESL students better understand their lessons. The school district says it noticed an increase in families becoming more involved in their child's education.

"They are actually able to discuss whatever the subject is with their child in the native language and give a deeper kind of description, which results in a better understanding for the student. Our job then is to translate that back into English," Hatcher said.

The school district's ESL coordinator, Ann Marie Bautista, encourages the idea of getting family members involved in their kid's education.

"We want parents to use that first language to strengthen the thinking and learning for their children," Bautista said.

Hatcher says she believes in her students who are going through this difficult change.

"I know my students are going to come out of this stronger with greater knowledge. They are highly motivated and we are not going to let this slow us down with our learning," Hatcher said.

The school district says it’s there to help.

"We know this is a challenging time. It's difficult, it's new, but reach out to us. I may not be fully bilingual, but I will find a way. If you leave me a name and number, I will have someone call you back," Bautista said.

The school district said one of the biggest struggles when classes first switched online was making sure students could navigate through the technology.

Parents and students have access to bilingual support to help answer their questions.

If any ESL parent or student has any issues, they can contact their teacher or ESL coordinator. Her contact information is (256) 929-5655.

Tenemos este reportaje disponible en español aquí.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 83°
Florence
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 84°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 82°
Decatur
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 82°
Scottsboro
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 21285

Reported Deaths: 353
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson482660
Shelby4615105
Trousdale13924
Rutherford109022
Sumner84345
Hamilton67015
Bledsoe6081
Williamson53210
Tipton4283
Putnam4285
Robertson4262
Lake4130
Wilson3828
Knox3565
Out of TN3394
Bedford2704
Montgomery2583
Rhea1970
Hardeman1920
Madison1742
Loudon1370
McMinn13614
Macon1193
Cheatham1140
Cumberland1111
Fayette1102
Dickson1070
Bradley1051
Blount893
Maury810
Washington750
Unassigned750
Sevier752
Coffee660
Wayne630
Gibson601
Sullivan602
Monroe592
Lauderdale561
Hickman540
Dyer490
Franklin491
Greene482
Anderson401
Marion371
DeKalb370
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Hamblen302
Haywood302
Henry300
Marshall291
Jefferson280
Obion281
White280
Carroll271
Weakley260
Overton250
Meigs250
Lincoln250
Lawrence240
Warren220
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Campbell171
Cannon170
Jackson170
Crockett161
Roane160
Johnson150
Polk150
Henderson140
Humphreys131
Chester130
Perry130
Sequatchie130
Giles120
McNairy120
Fentress120
Hardin112
Scott110
Stewart100
Claiborne80
Houston80
Benton71
Grainger60
Clay60
Decatur50
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events