Among many educators cycles, debates arise on what is the sole purpose of educating, how students should be learning and how best should they be learning, all this is targeted towards achieving the best ideal of a learning environment. English as Second Language learners are usually individuals who are not inherently English speakers. Students learning English as their second language have a purpose at succeeding of it and achieving their academic objectives. In many cases, student learning English usually have challenges in understanding the language; this is attributed to the teaching techniques employed in many institutions of learning. It is clearly important to address the issues that are faced by many new learners of English; it is also important to understand that solutions are needed to absolve this issues.
Techniques of Teaching ESL
Teaching methods used in ESL have always been mundane as newer methods are not developed fast enough. In the 21st century, online communication through the use of email messaging, discussion forums and other online chatting platform have offered easier ways of reaching out to students and even getting them to learn about more of English (Chang & Sperling, 2014). All these platforms allow the student to get exposed other individuals communicating in English; they are additives to what is taught in ESL classroom settings.
Problems Encountered by ESL Students and Teachers
High Dependence on Teachers
A major issue in ESL teaching is the high dependence students have on teachers. Students always believe that the teacher should be handing them the right answers instead of them looking at the questions themselves. It is impossible to comprehend how it is tough to teach in such a class setting, in most cases, students have the notion of learning through right answers (Lu, 2012). The presumption is that they should be handed the right questions for them to understand much better.
Students persistently use their Fist Language
In an attempt by teachers to enable students to learn English, they end up having a trouble of students not embracing the use of their second language. Teachers usually find it hard to get students to strictly communicate in English, in most cases students revert to their native languages. This is highly detrimental to the teaching process.
Hijacking of Lessons
A common classroom situation is where students and teachers are intensely engaged in classroom discussions. In many cases this can be a great thing, it indicates the focus students have while in class. In other cases, this session can be stretched a bit too much leading to the end of the sessions and students having learned very little.
Fear of Asking Questions
In every classroom setting, there are individual who are fearful of asking questions lest they do a mistake in the process. Clearly, this occurs in many ESL classes; students are usually fearful that they would mispronounce words and fumble with their grammar (Zhou, Busch & Cumming, 2014).
Solutions to ESL Teaching Problems
ESL classroom problems are quite many; the fact is that there are many techniques that can be implemented to solve the challenges encountered by ESL tutors which include:
Get Students More in Classroom Activities
It is always vital to include students in class activities, while teaching, a teacher should look at the concentration levels of students. Create an environment where students can freely participate, ask questions, be friendly and always encourage students (Bogum, 2008).
Enable Cooperation in Class
It is important to encourage all students to communicate in class, pair students up in the handling of class tasks. Students will be much freer to communicate their issues to fellow students and in the process, it will get to the attention of the teacher. The students can be helped after that; this eases the teaching process.
Incorporation of Music and Arts in Class
This technique helps in giving ESL students a common point to start from, Musical aids in class helps students to learn the words and the placement of conjunctions and adjectives in sentences. Music helps to make words come out easily; it helps in memorization of the key verbs, nouns, conjunctions, pronouns and pronunciation of the English language.
Teaching and learning of ESL programs in the United States have not been a well-performing venture, in many cases, students and teachers have a difficult time in class. The students find it hard to learn a new language due to the archaic and mundane ways of teaching; it is important that these techniques are embellished and overhauled. There is a need to incorporate new teaching techniques like the use of music, graphical representation, change of teacher attitude, a teacher should assume they are in an ECD class teaching young kids. All these mentioned techniques will help students to adapt easily to the basics of learning English. ESL students usually encounter fear of making mistakes, lack of enough classroom content on mastery of the English language and lack of peer support from fellow students. There is a need for a change of this situation if the teaching of ESL has to be improved (Deborah & Jana, 2005) The above recommendations will help immensely in improving ESL teaching and solve all ESL students challenges in class and outside the classroom setting.
Chang, Y. C., & Sperling, M. (2014). Discourse and identity among ESL learners: A case study of a community college ESL classroom. Research in the Teaching of English, 49(1), 31.
Lu, X. (2012). The relationship of lexical richness to the quality of ESL learners oral narratives. The Modern Language Journal, 96(2), 190-208.
Zhou, A. A., Busch, M., & Cumming, A. (2014). Do adult ESL learners and their teachers goals for improving grammar in writing correspond? Language Awareness, 23(3), 234-254.
MARIA, S. CARLO, (2015). Closing the gap: Addressing the vocabulary needs of Englishlanguage learners in bilingual and mainstream classrooms
Bogum, Yoon, (2008). Uninvited Guests: The Influence of Teachers Roles and Pedagogies on the Positioning of English Language Learners in the Regular Classroom
Deborah, Short. & Jana, Echevarria. (2005). Teacher Skills to Support English Language Learners
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