What is ESL?

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The acronym ESL is commonly used in educational circles to refer to English as a Second Language. It basically means tutoring English to someone whose first language is not English. In the US, laws relating to education oblige schools to teach ESL in the classroom to any enrolled student who does not speak English as their native language. The purpose of developing ESL programs is to help students attain the necessary standards of educational proficiency. This particularly important because, based on a census conducted in the year 2000, 1 in every 5 US residents speak a language that is not English within their homes. Though this does not mean that such persons cannot speak English, the census also revealed that an estimated 10% of US residents do not speak fluent English or do not speak it at all. Actually, most of these residents use Spanish as their first language. In secondary and elementary schools, ESL related programs are being utilized to address the needs of youth who need to study English in order to be successful in school across the US. These programs are required to comply with specific federal and state requirements. Programs targeting adults are also being rolled out though their pace and purpose is different.

Why ESL is Necessary

ESL programs are designed to provide skills in English language based on individual needs, abilities and interests. Skills such as grammar, listening comprehension, conversational English, vocabulary and writing are taught in all ESL program classes. Participants are encouraged to engage in social and cultural activities in communities and schools in their study locations. Most people take ESL programs to prepare for education in Universities or Colleges. Others do so in order to improve their English language for social or travel purposes. Since students are drawn from varied countries and cultures across the globe, students realize the importance of learning English to enable them pursue employment and educational opportunities.

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