ESOL, which means English for Speaker of Other Languages, is a program for students from other countries who are learning English as a new language. It includes English and other subjects to help build a student's ability with the kind of English students need in school.
ESOL classes are divided into 5 levels depending of the knowledge of English the students have. For example some students did not study English at all and some started learning English in their countries.
The program also has special classes in different subjects to help the students get high school credits but also to build a strong vocabulary in their English. There are special classes in social studies, science, mathematics, health, and technology.
A survey was given to the students so that they could express their opinion about their ESOL classes. According to the survey that ESOL students took from level one to five, 5% of the students said that their classes are hard, 68% said they're ok, and 27% of the students said that they're easy. Also 53 % of the students said that they are worried and don't feel ready for regular English and 47% said that they are not worried about regular English.
Even though the students are being helped in many of their classes, there are still some students who are encountering difficulties. 64% of the students who took the survey admit that they have difficulties in other classes like science. One class that many students wrote about is Matter and Energy. Felix Masaya is a level two ESOL student and he is one many students claiming that Matter and Energy is a difficult subject. "I have difficulties in writing my reports and expressing myself in class," said Felix.
In looking at the student's grade sheet it was clear that his progress wasn't that good at all. Felix thinks that the teachers should spend a good amount of time with them after school. "I suggest that the teachers should encourage us to come after school for extra help. Also they could talk slowly so that the students can understand."
Mr. Herrmann is a Matter and Energy teacher who has 60 ESOL students. Mr. Hermann knows that the class is hard for the students because, he says, "they are still learning English vocabulary and the [science] concepts." Mr. Herrmann suggests that the students get dictionaries that could help translate into their languages.
Mr. Herrman posts a list in his room of assignments that most students are missing. By looking at it, the majority of the students don't do their assignments. Mr. Herrmann says that the students make the same mistakes and are not learning from the process.
In his class, he also has vocabulary words on the walls of his classroom to help the students remember the new words. This year the students have new books especially made for them to help understand the things he is teaching.
Mr. Herrmann also suggests that the students shouldn't be afraid to ask questions and to interact more with the teachers and each other. "To help them interact with each other I give them group projects," Mr. Herrmann said. Mr. Herrmann hopes the students will be more responsible in doing their work.
Are you worried about going to regular English?
Do you have problems with English in other classes (not English classes).
Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2000 (This page was created by Aissata Soumah and Narema Alli)