Which Are Better, ESOL or Non-ESOL Classes?


     ESOL means English for Speakers of Other Languages. Many high schools have special English classes for students who are learning English. Some foreign students need these classes and they enjoy staying in the ESOL program. But some think that the ESOL program is lower than their level, so they want to get an advantage by being in regular English classes.
     Resmy John Varghese is an 11th grader and a former ESOL student who prefers regular classes. Right now Resmy is taking four honors classes, pre calculus with analysis, biology, chemistry, and NSL government.
     Resmy likes being in regular classes more than ESOL classes. She thinks that regular classes are more interesting than ESOL classes because “"in regular classes [there] is more discipline. The students just really sit down and listen to the teacher,"” she said. But she thinks that in ESOL class the students are more disruptive and the teacher has to stay up there and explain things to them. “"It doesn't happen in honors classes,"” she said.
     Resmy believes she didn't really learn anything in ESOL. “"Most of them are like old stuff that I know, and it was actually below my level,"” she said.
     Resmy felt so happy when she knew that she was out of ESOL “"because most of my friends are not in ESOL, so I had a feeling that I could be with my friends more,"” she said.
     Speaking in non-ESOL classes is easy for her. “"I am adjusting in the environment right now," she said. She has a lot of confidence because of last year when she got straight As. She has the feeling that probably she could do that this year as well.
     Also finding classmates to talk to is easy for her, too, because she is friendly and people are kind of curious and interested in the place that she is from, India. Resmy is completely comfortable in regular classes:
     For my part, I was and still am in ESOL. From my experience, I think non-ESOL classes are mostly the same as ESOL classes. We learn English and make friends with other classmates. Basically there aren’t many differences from those two types of classes. However, there are some major issues which are fairly common for all of the ESOL students and for me as well.
     I always feel more comfortable and more confident in my ESOL class than in my regular classes because I feel like my classmates are more sensitive and more sociable than those who are native English speakers. Also, they would pay more attention to me while I'm participating in the conversation during the class time. Also we learn from each other things that we never knew or noticed such as cultural experiences and things about our personal lives.
     Most of my regular classes aren't hard for me at all. But there is one subject, my SAT Prep class, where I am always afraid to speak out every time I go to the class. It's because of my classmates, actually. They don't do anything wrong to me, but the way they speak English is just so perfect. Comparing that to me, I feel like I'm nothing. They don't mean to speak to make me feel bad because they actually don't know I'm in the ESOL program.
     Also, preparing for the SAT Prep class is no picnic for students, whether they are non-ESOL or ESOL students. However, it is harder and more challenging for ESOL students than non-ESOL students. I have to spend most of my time to complete the SAT Prep's homework, at least two hours translating with my bilingual dictionary. I really do try to fulfill the assignments as much as I can but I always receive bad grades for it.
     To non-ESOL students I think that they actually do their homework in 30 minutes because it seems so easy for them. They are native speakers. There is no need for them to use a bilingual dictionary to translate words. They save a lot of time from not doing that.
     We ESOL students should learn to get that confidence in ourselves somehow. We should not let that little feeling of fear hold us down. We've got to step up and believe in ourselves to speak out during the conversation in class.ESOL means English for Speakers of Other Languages. Many high schools have special English classes for students who are learning English. Some foreign students need these classes and they enjoy staying in the ESOL program. But some think that the ESOL program is lower than their level, so they want to get an advantage by being in regular English classes.

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2005 (This page was created by Divin)