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bGracie bGracie is online now
 
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How would you respond?
Old 08-03-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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To anyone who has taught or considered teaching ESL, why would you? I have considered taking some courses to become ESL certified, and I mentioned this one day to an acquaintance. She told me that when she was a child, her family moved here from overseas. She said when her sister began school, she did not know any English, but she picked it up at school. Then she pretty much asked me what's the point of ESL teachers if students can learn without them. What would your answer be?

I've known some students who were adopted from Russia, and they entered school here and learned English without the assistance of an ESL teacher, so I've asked myself this question as well. I've always been interested in teaching ESL, but why are ESL teachers needed if they're not always necessary in order for the students to learn? (I would still like to pursue this certification, by the way.)

Thanks for your responses.


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Iluvtoteach2 Iluvtoteach2 is offline
 
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Why do we need ESL teachers??
Old 08-04-2009, 07:49 AM
 
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Sometimes I am amazed at the questions one is asked when one is an ESL teacher! I was once asked if I was certified to teach regular education!!! What??? Although, I didn't take this question wrong since it came from a very nice colleague (who was just showing her ignorance about this area), it did make me feel sad since some people might think that an ESL teacher is less than a regular ed, teacher!! I am an ELL student myself and once you are an ELL, you will for ever be an ELL! When I was in elementary school, I experienced different ELL programs and none at all. How easy can one forget the struggles of second language learning! Learning a second language is a LOOOOOOOOOONG process. ELL students may pick up BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communications Skills) very quickly just through everyday school interaction with teachers and peers. This is what usually fools everyone into thinking that students can become proficient in English in record-breaking time and perhaps without any ESL support. WRONG! Although, students' listening and speaking English proficiency may be "easily" acquired, often times they may struggle developing CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency), which in turn makes it difficult to be successful in school. ELL students do double the work of a native English speaker because while ELL students are working on developing proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, they are also working on mastering academic concepts. The native speaker only needs to concentrate on learning academic concepts. Therefore, ESL teachers are needed!! An effective ELL teacher will scaffold English proficiency in all areas through academic content instruction. The language support offered by ELL teachers is essential for the success of ELL students. I could go into more detail about how to respond, but I think this message is already long enough. I encourage you to continue your interest in teaching ESL. I love it!!!
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Thank you for answering the question Luvtoteach2! I was too tired to explain what you said so very succinctly. I am an ELL teacher and a second language learner also. There is a lot of misunderstanding about learning another language I think because it is not really encouraged in the US. Experiencing things first hand really opens up your eyes.
bGracie
If you read through the other ESL posts you can get an idea of what is going on. The Russian child has support from home in that the parents may be fluent English speakers and can help the child make more progress than a child whose parents may also be learning English.
I would suggest you taking a class in English Language Learning in order to see first hand what is behind ELL instruction.
Good luck
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Thanks!
Old 08-07-2009, 02:54 PM
 
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Thank you for your responses. You gave me great information and a good reason to go forward with my plans which I have decided to do. I'm also going to bookmark this!
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from a legal standpoint...
Old 08-13-2009, 07:48 AM
 
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It is true that SOME ells in the past have mastered English in a sink-or-swim situation throughout their entire school careers. But others have not. Some people have more of a knack for acquiring (picking up) a second language.

From a legal standpoint, school entities have to provide for ELLs using a systematic approach. It is against the law not to provide ell students with language assistance as part of curricula. In the Lau vs. Nichols case of 1974, it was decided that schools must take "affirmative steps" to help ells overcome the language barriers that impede them from accessing curricula. School entities that do not provide ESL programs based on sound theory, do not employ resources to implement those programs, or who do not periodically evaluate and modify those programs can be cited by the Office of Civil rights. My ESL instructor told us that the Office of Civil rights has visited her school to do some "checking", so this is a reality.


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Old 08-13-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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I should add to my previous post that the program implemented by the school entity does not have to be an ESL program. It can be a transitional or static bilingual program, or a two-way bilingual or dual language program among other types of programs.
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