Unanswered Questions from Our Coffee Break: Can you help?

Hello colleagues, I've posted two messages summarizing all the great tips and recommendations that were shared during our recent Coffee Break. There were also a number of questions posed that we didn't get a chance to address.

As you read over this list, please offer your thoughts on any of the following questions. Your participation is greatly valued! Thanks for making LINCS such a amazing network!

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

Needs and Questions Still to be Addressed

  1. How can teachers address the needs of a multilevel class in a virtual environment?
  2. How can teachers address the needs of beginners in a virtual environment?
  3. What has colleagues’ experience been with this paid site? https://www.fluentu.com/english/
  4. What has colleagues’ experience been with this paid program, Burlington English?
  5. Do teachers have Jeopardy games or PowerPoints to share?
  6. What recommendations are there for reopening in-person classes?
    • Terri Gunn shared her experience with starting in-person classes: “Masks are required at all times. Teachers have clear shields for speaking as students need to see our mouths move. The desks are distanced, but this also forces us to lower our capacity. We could accommodate 500, but now it will be less than 200. I think we could reach a point of having a waitlist if we can maintain our opening.”
  7. Does anyone know if Jazz Chants or something like Jazz Chants is available online?
  8. Xavier Munoz: “A question from some teachers I support: For beginning up to low intermediate ESL classes, how much writing instruction are teachers doing as compared to face-to-face?”
    • Regarding teaching writing, check out the recent discussion on teaching writing to learners at all levels – including language learners-- in the LINCS Reading and Writing CoP with Dr. Mary Ann Corley https://community.lincs.ed.gov/group/25/discussion


Hello all,

I’ve seen a few discussions lately about ESOL teachers using clear face shields instead of masks, so I’d like to point out that the CDC does not recommend face shields as a substitute for masks.


Dorothy Taylor

Associate Professor

Educational Opportunity Center
SUNY/University at Buffalo


Hello Dorothy and all, Thank you, Dorothy, for pointing out that face shields are not recommended as a substitute for masks. This is important information.

A safer option than a face shield may be a mask with a window. Here are a couple of articles about masks with windows that discuss the benefits for individuals who are hearing impaired. Masks with windows would seem to have benefits for others as well, such as for ESL teachers and the students who are learning English.

What to know about clear medical masks for lipreading

Face Masks With Windows Mean More than Smiles 

I wonder if anyone has been using a face mask with a window. If so, let us know about your experience.

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Some teachers in MN are handling multilevel instruction through two different approaches. 

Some teachers are creating short videos of lessons for their class, then sending them out to all of their learners. Here's an example of some videos here: https://eslstudioonline.weebly.com/pre-beginning-esl.html. Then the teachers are breaking the class into small groups according to level, and doing small group video calls over Zoom, Google Meet, or WhatsApp for targeted practice to the learners' level. Others are following the same format, but instead of a video they are having the whole class meet once or twice a week, then supplementing with the small group instruction. Teachers are also using volunteers to help lead the small groups, or even deliver one-on-one tutoring for learners who need additional support.

Other teachers are having their whole class meet synchronously, delivering instruction, and then doing small group practice using breakout rooms. The breakout rooms are led by volunteers (there is a program in Indianapolis that is using higher level learners as class assistants to lead breakout rooms), and the teacher can adjust the difficulty of the task to the level of learners in the room. 

I'd love to hear how other programs are tackling this!

I saw the question above from someone about Burlington English. We've only used it for about 6 weeks in our summer program, but I'd be happy to discuss how it went with anyone. Our classes are still fully online, with Zoom meetings for 2 hours and then students are assigned lessons in BE for homework. I supplement with additional materials and projects. So far, I've been very happy with BE and students have told me they like it. 

Jennifer Kluempen

ESL Instructor

Trenton, NJ