Getting Your Hands on Learning: Manipulative Tools in Content ESL/EFL Instruction


  • Kathleen Corrales Author



Manipulatives are only for math classes and kindergartners, right? Wrong! Since Rita Dunn’s ground-breaking research on learning styles and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, educators of all subjects have tried to develop teaching techniques that allow all types of students to learn. Because of their highly visual and kinesthetic/tactile character, manipulatives are an especially powerful tool for ESL-content instruction. However, they are relatively unknown in the ESL field because many teachers believe that manipulatives can only be used with the very young or in math classes. In this article, I will explain how using manipulatives in class can turn learning into a fun and meaningful experience. I will provide 7 different teacher-made manipulatives that have been used in ESL language arts, science and social studies classes.


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Author Biography

Kathleen Corrales

Kathleen Corraleshas an MA in TESOL from The American University in Washington, D.C. She currently teaches English at the Instituto de Idiomas at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, and serves as Assistant Academic Coordinator to the extension program there. Kathleen previously taught English, science, and reading to public school ESL students in the Washington, D.C. area. Her research areas of interest are learning styles, multiple intelligences, bilingualism, and second language acquisition.




How to Cite

Corrales, K. (2010). Getting Your Hands on Learning: Manipulative Tools in Content ESL/EFL Instruction. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 1(1), 60–65.