When you design your worksheet, release the artist in you: use colours and patterns to enhance the appearance of your worksheets. Don’t be content with just a list of questions written in black ink on a white piece of paper. If your worksheets are visually appealing they will stimulate your ESL students to do the work, and the students will also appreciate your attempts to enhance their learning experience. Visit worksheets to see a plethora of worksheet design; although not all the worksheets deal with ESL teaching, they can be adapted very easily for ESL purposes. This having been said, every worksheet must be uncluttered, simple to follow, and have a clearly-defined ESL teaching aim.
When designing your worksheets, always bear in mind the CEFR level of the classes you are teaching: young ESL students will be more responsive to worksheets containing cartoons, pictures of animals, and other entertaining pictures. In the case of older ESL students, you can safely use scenes from real life in your worksheets.
You should design your worksheets in such a way that it is not necessary for the students to have to turn over in order to find information that is needed to complete the questions on the front. Try to use double spacing whenever possible, and leave a sufficiently large space for students to write their answers. Don’t use fonts that are difficult to read: if you have to struggle to read it, it will be extremely difficult for your students. You should also avoid colour schemes that employ backgrounds which make it difficult to see the questions clearly. As a guide, with a light background use a dark coloured font, but with a dark background use a light coloured font. Visit colours if you want to learn more.
Before you actually hand out the worksheets, make sure that you get someone to proof read them. It might also be a good idea if you try them out with a trusted member of staff or your private ESL students (if you have any) before you hand them out to your class.
The ESL teacher should make it a habit to use worksheets for every aspect of their ESL teaching. They are useful for reinforcement, revision, learning new vocabulary or expressions, and introducing new ESL work. They are also great lesson fillers.