Introducing MYP Design For ESL Learners

Another year starts and another exciting range of Grade 8 students, each with their own unique learning background, pop up in my class list. To know the students’ backgrounds is to know how to teach.

This year I have a wide spectrum of English language learners in my classes and so I need to ensure I differentiate my instruction and activities so that all my students are supported effectively and can achieve the required learning outcomes to the best of their abilities.

So how did I start this year?

I gave myself and my students two weeks to go through a mini Design Cycle project so that the process and the MYP Design Cycle terminology (and the meaning of the terminology) can sink in and we can all get comfortable with MYP Design.

For new students, returning students, and ESL students this started off with doing the following in order:

  1. Making sure students can create a Design folder in their Google Drive and share it with me. Everything that is created digitally will be in that folder all year.
  2. Students create a Google Slides presentation with 5 things about themselves (as this was how I introduced myself at the start of class). CRITERION A: INQUIRING AND ANALYSING
  3. After the Google Slides activity, students develop some logo ideas about themselves with pencil and paper. I showed them my thoughts on my logo ideas and also some examples of famous logos. CRITERION B: DEVELOPING IDEAS
  4. Use Google Drawing to create a digital version of their chosen logo idea. CRITERION C: CREATING THE SOLUTION
  5. Reflect on the logo in Google Drawing and try to simplify it more with youIDraw app in Google Apps (eg. choose one letter and important shapes). CRITERION D: EVALUATING

In the next class I (re)introduced the Design Cycle and showed which activities from the last lesson were linked to which stage. I then got each nationality to translate each stage into their own language to further develop their understanding of what each stage involves. For a lot of our new students at our school and new students to English this was a moment where they actually started to understand what on earth I was talking about and figuring out what stages were involved in Design class.

I reversed Google Translated everything and it seemed okay!
Finally, I got them to make their own Google Slides presentation of the mini design project by adding their own images/evidence for each stage of the Design Cycle.

*Sadly the below examples were hosted on my old school’s account and the access to them has been removed*

Phase 3 ESL Student

Phase 3 ESL Student (Used Thai translated words too)

Phase 2 ESL Student

Lessons I’ve learned from introducing and making MYP Design accessible for all:

  • visuals are essential
  • always accentuate with hand gestures (I feel like I’m playing charades at times)
  • colour coding; always use same colour for each stage of Design Cycle.
  • ask students what words translate into the different mother tongues in the class.
  • observe and mention the familiarities in words between languages (eg. French and English)
  • relate (almost) everything you do in class to core terminologies in MYP (Design)
  • repeat all of the above!

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