Getting to Know Your ESL Students and Their Levels

hand writing in cursive

New semester, new group of students. One of the first things I try to do with a new group is to take stock of their language levels. A great way of getting to know your ESL students and their levels is to have them write you a letter in which they present themselves, talk about how and when they use English, share their goals, and most importantly — talk about what they want to work with during the semester. Obviously, you can throw whatever questions in there you might want to have answered. What came first, the hen or the egg? What’s the meaning of life?

Big questions aside, here are the writing prompts I normally include:

This is me:

This is where students write briefly about themselves

These are some of the things I would like to work with during this semester:

This is a spot where the students can share class activities or themes they’d like to work with during the semester.

This is how I use English in my daily life:

Here, the students write about how and when they use English in day-to-day life.

This is my goal with my English:

Under this prompt, I tell my students to write about their short- and long-term language goals.

This is how I learn best:

This is where the students share how they believe they learn best.

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