Gone are the days when school districts hired English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors and placed non-native English speakers in all-day sessions geared to teach language skills and little else. Modern ESL teachers are highly trained professional members of the school staff who work hard to make sure that each non-native speaker gets a tailor-made curriculum that will bring him or her into the mainstream as quickly as possible. Here are the key components of modern ESL courses.
The most recognizable difference between old and new ESL programs has to do with integrating learners into the everyday classroom situation. Today’s ESL classrooms look no different than ordinary school settings, and for good reason: There is no physical separation between language learners and native speakers. By bringing ESL students in direct contact with a school’s mainstream students, those who are leaning English can get a feel for the way a language sounds when spoken by their same-age peers. An immigration attorney in Los Angeles, CA knows how difficult initial adjustments are and recommends this approach in both formal and informal settings for non-English speakers.
Fun and Lightheartedness
When non-ESL teachers work with language learners, they try their best to work with each student’s level of English competency. This is always done in a friendly, non-critical way. Letting the process take place slowly and without any pressure is a core feature of new ESL programs. This is shown to have a much more positive effect on learning.
As ESL students are now entering the mainstream classroom environment at a record pace, teachers of all subjects need to maintain careful records of each pupil’s language competency. This chore need not be time consuming or overly technical, but should include written comments about any challenges or achievements on a daily basis.
Follow-up by professional ESL staff is crucial to the success of modern language immersion instruction. Classroom teachers need to communicate concerns and daily progress to the ESL teacher of record regularly. Without follow-up and discussion of pertinent issues, modern ESL approaches are no better than their outdated predecessors.
The new way of teaching ESL students is already delivering positive results. Compared to pupils in the older style classes, new ESL students are kept busy, engaged and active for the entire day. Language learning is just a part of what they do. Instead of being kept apart from the rest of the students, ESL learners are exposed to the typical classroom routine from day one of their lessons.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.