English as a Second Language (ESL)
What does English as a Second Language (ESL) mean?
English as a Second Language or ESL is the teaching process which allows for primary and secondary students to receive instruction in a special curriculum that typically involves little or no use of the student's native language.
There are a variety of factors which affect the success of ESL programs. Students have varying rates, styles and patterns of acquiring a second language. Some students fair better if they are forced into an English only class which forces them to become more conversant in English more quickly. Other students continue to struggle with acquiring a new language even after months or years of exposure to English through bilingual educational programs.
The United States Department of State argues there are three factors which affect the acquisition of language development: learner characteristics or personal traits (including learning styles, attitudes, motivation and personality), situational or environmental factors (the teacher's teaching style and informal vs. formal nature of the classroom), and prior language development and competence. For example, it is generally accepted that adequate linguistic and cognitive development in the student's native language helps them learn English more efficiently.