Theory and practice of teaching esl essay

Theory and practice of teaching eslAbstractThis report deals with some theory and practice of teaching English as a SecondLanguage (ESL).  It looks at various issues such as bilingual vs. single language learning, the needs of the English Language Learner (ELL).  Everyone benefits when teachers and administrators are able to effectively troubleshoot problems that may come up from a language learning standpoint that must also involve the local community, students, and parents. IntroductionProviding bilingual education or ESL programs to multicultural students is an increasingly important issue, but there is some disagreement in research and scholarly sources as to how best to teach these students.

The basic argument of one side of this disagreement is that students in an English-speaking classroom should be encouraged to speak English through ESL programs or tutoring practices.  The other side of the debate is informed by the assumption that teaching language minority students who have limited English-speaking abilities in their native language, at least partially, is more conducive to ultimate multicultural learning goals.  Therefore, a resolution of the disagreement is sought by policymakers who are looking for the best approach to teaching these students.

There are various accepted methodologies for classroom application, including immersion programs, two-way programs, and transitional programs, which will be covered in the current report. Overall, it is the contention of the current report that in the ESL environment, teachers and other educational professionals should not be expected to follow a predetermined theoretical pattern that details everything that is to be covered from the beginning; instead, they work through an ongoing process of discovery.  Change is important to this process, because accepting change doesn’t mean doing the same thingover and over again.  Instead, for the organization or school, truly reaching ELL through effective ESL programs should be about focusing on the current status and building on it to explore a new approach or approaches to expand knowledge and lead by the theory of knowledge generation.  Creative decision-making can benefit an entire district in terms of the intent, effort, direction, and, ultimately, execution that make up the decision-making process. Literature reviewIn Beatty and Doyle’s article, qualitative data is collected by the authors in termsof structured interviews as well as theoretical positioning.

“ Faculty, students’ andpracticum supervisors’ perceptions were assessed, course content was evaluated, andstudents’ multicultural sensitivity was measured. Competencies were addressed at varyinglevels, and some courses had a greater multicultural focus” (Beatty and Doyle, 2000). Self-evaluation was the main method used.  The study did blend some quantitativemethods with other, qualitative methods.  The authors focused on their direct observations of previous studies regarding the effectiveness of ESL interventions in multicultural classroom settings from a theoretical angle.  Structured interviews withstudents was another method used to collect qualitative data.

This qualitative researchstudy defies a singular typified approach, since as mentioned, it contains both qualitativeand quantitative methods, and represents a mixed-type approach generally.  In terms ofqualitative analysis, the study shows elements of field study as well as of groundedtheory. In Genesee and Gandara’s study, the authors are interested in associating resultswith many different theories, with one theory being predominant.  “ The main hypothesisof contact theory holds that contact between members of different groups leads toincreased liking and respect for members of the outgroup, including presumablyreductions in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination” (Genesee and Gandara, 1999). This is a basically positive observation.  This qualitative research represents groundedtheory.  “ We consider four theoretical perspectives that link bilingual education tointergroup prejudice and discrimination: contact theory, status expectations theory, acculturation theory, and multicultural education” (Genesee and Gandara, 1999).  Thesetheories are then related to direct observations made by the authors about actual languageacquisition.

Thomas and Collier’s study shows how the issue of developing an appropriate proposal for multicultural ESL instruction is so important for today’s classrooms because, “ Students whose home language is other than English are projected by the U. S. Census Bureau to be 40 percent of the school-age population by the 2030s, and possibly sooner if present demographic trends continue” (Thomas and Collier, 2001, p. 228).

This source reviews extant journal literature concerning this issue while paying close attention to the ultimate goal of classroom application in terms of the provision of effective multicultural education for those students in need through ESL programs.  It is the intention of Thomas and Collier to advocate the position that ESL is a more effective way of reaching students than the bilingual program because it is less complicated for them to only speak one language in class, rather than compromising student attention with multiple languages, potentially affecting academic outcomes as a result because of interior cognitive language switching. In Mary Ann Zehr’s Education Week article, “ Poll:  Immigrants Value SpeakingEnglish,” the author presents a straightforward analysis of recent statistical pollingregarding the use of English in classrooms in the United States.  It remains for theeducation professional to take this information to heart in their own multiculturalmethodology and the administrator to take it to heart in terms of what it means for theadvocacy of this proposal.  An effective teacher can meet the needs of different studentswhile following the standardized goals of one of the more vital fields of study forlearning students:  successful English communication in all aspects of learning.  Bytailoring specific learning activities to engage the varied interests of the students who arestill developing their English skills and native speakers, the effective teacher would firstpresent and then determine the students’ mastery of the integral basics of presentation. Zehr has found that of the immigrants polled, “ Sixty-three percent said that all publicschool classes should be taught only in English” (Zehr, 2003).  These polling numbersmay make the importance of bilingual education seem less vital that providing anatmosphere to give ESL students what they want, and supports pure ESL rather than bilingual classroomsIn the existing literature, many scholars have reacted to the reports of Rossell andBaker, including Jay P.

Greene, who sums up their report on bilingual education in hismeta-analysis.  Rossell and Baker were advocates of the type of educational environmentthat does not facilitate the use of a minority student’s native language in the classroom asa way of facilitating learning and development, and their results suggested that teachingin other languages within an English-speaking system was counterproductive to cogntivegrowth and learning.  Therefore, according to these authors, the very framework of themulticultural education program for minority students was called into question.  It mustalso be kept in mind that according to the poll statistics mentioned above, many minoriystudents agree that English specificity in language presentation within the classroom is anexpected method.

But the effectiveness of this method is what is called into question bythose who react to Rossell and Baker’s research.  As Greene states in summary, showingthe division of the research community on the issue of bilingual education, “ ChristineRossell,… argued… that children learn English best when they are taught in English(Rossell ; Baker, 1996). Kenji Hakuta, on the other hand, argued that the review of theliterature he conducted as part of the National Research Council report on bilingualeducation, suggested that native language approaches are indeed beneficial for children”(Greene, 1997, p. 2).  The contradictory nature of these results has been pointed out as astumbling block for multicultural understanding of the issue, and it is the intention of this report to show with qualitative and quantitative secondary evidence that ESL is a moreeffective perspective for tackling issues of the bilingual student than the bilingualclassroom paradigm. Methods and proceduresMany perspectives are questionable in light of a reliance on multiculturaleducation as a successful rather than confusing paradigm, and therefore perhaps miss thesources of students’ difficulties entirely.  Recent polls, as mentioned above, have shownthat most immigrants would themselves like to be taught English in English-onlyclassrooms, and speaking English only in classrooms has been proven to be the mosteffective method of English language instruction.

On the other hand, as demonstrated in extant theory, there are also statistics that back the other side of the argument equally well.  From a common sense perspective, then, it seems that teachers who translate wouldbe likely to lose time and effort.  It only makes sense that, cognitive toolbox stocked ornot and multiculturalism respected in the lesson or not, a student is going to be confusedwhen learning two different systems of language learning skills, and will grow frustratedwhen asked to apply these different routes of learning in the paradoxical bilingualclassroom.  On the other hand, as mentioned, many children who are in a process of rapidcognitive growth are able to assimilate more than one language fairly easily.  From boththe teacher-centered and student-centered perspectives, then, the ESL approach can beadvocated. These issues are also put forth in terms of multicultural development in the real world classroom of application and individual teaching methodologies, which may evenclassify some minority or immigrant students as having speech delay because they arehaving difficulties in an English-speaking classroom.

The child with speech delay willshow a slower than normal rate in progressing through the categorized development ofspeech from infancy to early childhood.  The causes of this disruption could be anythingfrom mental retardation to a poor home environment that does not facilitate and stimulatethe child in terms of verbalizing.  The child also might have been brought up in abilingual household, and therefore is having trouble with trying to assimilate and learntwo languages once they enter school.

In cases like these, it is more a matter of theschool or educational system’s not seeing the full range of the child’s life and makingdecisions based on their time in school alone.  The procedure therefore must be one of careful checking. The target population for ESL teaching procedures involves non English speaking people and the population of the organization’s area which is demographically oriented towards a predominant language, so some areas would be Spanish speakers who want to learn English or expand the English they already have, and in others it would be Russian speakers, and in others Korean, etc.  Their needs despite differences include educationprofessionals to take this information to heart in their instructional methodology.  Aneffective teacher can meet the needs of different students while following the standardized goals of one of the more vital fields of study for learning students: successful and well integrated English communication in all aspects of learning.  By tailoring specific learning activities to engage the varied interests of the students who are still developing their English skills and native speakers, the effective teacher could first present and then determine the students’ mastery of the integral basics of presentation, and move on from there to employ the teaching methods and philosophy which are most amenable to them. Discussion/analysisQuestions revolve around the presences and effects which bias, discrimination, acculturation, expectations as regards to status, and multiculturalism, have on the bilingual educational process.  Questions also focus on the interrelationships and comparisons made between countries in terms of the bilingual education services offered.

The efficiency of different types of bilingual programs, such as immersion programs, is also a factor that can be argued.  Since this is mainly a theory-based type of topic that collates data with theoretical perspectives and seeks to ground the theory in legislation, this is not a mixed type topic that employs both quantitative and qualitative elements.  Most of the existing literature in supply seems to stress the notion that ESL teaching needs to stay within the target language rather than being bilingual, and that thus general education teachers can still facilitate English language learning even without being able to speak the student’s native language.

However, sometimes legislation seems contrary to this message, even though it is a significant step forward.  “ Funding was provided for planning, developing and operating bilingual education programs; preservice training; early childhood and adult education; student retention programs; vocational retraining programs; and developing courses dealing with the history and culture of the language minority group” (Bangura, 2001).  This legislation had a major flaw:  it didn’t really account for the assessment of the new bilingual programs.  “ A major shortcoming of the 1968 Act was its failure to systematize means of determining success in programs funded under the act.  Thus after the first five years, little was known about what comprised successful programs or what progress had been made to overcome obstacles” (Bangura, 2001).

Some of these drawbacks were solved in future legislation, which also tended towards provision of bilingual education.  Even if the execution was questionable, it is still important that this Act opened the door to new mandated opportunities for those for whom English is not the first language. The multicultural change paradigm is successfully integrated with actualexperience and the ability to verbalize expressions along proper syntactic paradigms.“ Teachers in bilingual/ESL programs are not simply second language teachers, nor arethey exclusively literacy teachers.  They are required to develop the full range oflanguage skills, plus reading, writing and content-area knowledge with language-minoritystudents… there is a high level of transfer of skills and strategies from the first to thesecond language in reading” (Mora, 2002).  This also involves literacy and writing skillsin the student.

“ A fundamental principal in the use of the primary language for initiatingreading instruction in bilingual education is the linguistic interdependence of languageacquisition and the transfer of literacy skills from the primary language into he second-language of the bilingual learner (sic)” (Mora, 2002).  Improving academic skills instudents is a process that is aided by many factors. On one side of the argument there was support of ESL programs in which English was the only language spoken in the classroom.  Many also point towards bilingual education programs as a reflection of multicultural education and a positive step forward.  On the other side of the argument, there are those who suggest that English as a Second Language programs are more appropriate and make more sense than bilingual classrooms.  This is a debate on which it is difficult not to fall on one side of the argument or another, since the sides are so different.

Procedurally methods of accommodating ESL students in general classrooms tend to focus on the procedure not just of grouping students, but also understanding where they are coming from and how frustrating the ESL experience can be to them, so that the teacher does not take it for granted and reprimand them too much for simple mistake.  The students are expected to play the role of the agile learner in this depiction.  As an aftermath, bilingual education programs became much more popular. ConclusionTeamwork among teachers and administrators in the educational setting reflects a willingness to share ideas that may effect the decision-making process in terms of the quantity and quality of information available.  This is founded in part on a conceptof partnership that is addressed in the case. “ Partnerships are expected to have a deepunderstanding of what is known about teaching and learning… and apply this knowledgeto the design and implementation of their partnership projects” (Deal and Peterson, 1999).

Therefore, teamwork and leadership are important to the organization’s future, aswell as creativity.  Green states that it is probable that “ the use of at least some native language in instruction for LEP students is more likely to help the average student’s achievement, as measured by standardized tests in English, than the use of only English in the instruction of those LEP students” (Greene, 1997, p. 3).  This system suggests a strategic method that is different from the method of transitional learning strategy.   Multicultural learning strategy is best summed up as a method that seeks to teachminority students exclusively in their native tongue in some subjects, in order to roundout their knowledge in these subjects while they learn English as well, so that they are notleft behind when it comes to specific academic standards that are expected at certainpoints in their academic career.  The efficiency of different types of programs, such asimmersion programs, has been addressed.  The impact of bilingual education programson the professional is basically an issue of diversity in several areas, including theprofessional’s ability to get materials out in other languages so that parents canunderstand.

Many also point towards bilingual education programs as a reflection ofmulticultural education and a positive step forward.  On the other side of the argument, there are those that suggest that ESL programs are more appropriate. REFERENCEBangura, A (2001).  United States Congress and Bilingual Education.

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