Guiding Principles of ESL
Guiding Principles in ESL
Today the emphasis is on developing speaking more than the other tools of language learning that used to be in more abundance, although those skills are still stressed in ESL language learning. This is a change from language books, which had larger sections devoted to reading and/or translating texts into English in other words today many see writing and reading as mere supports for the ability to communicate effectively and in a sense those are necessary tools that should not be neglected especially if one is more visual than oral in his ability to assimilate the new language.
To get there language learning has gone from a process of wanting students to be expert in the new language to being communicative without having an exact knowledge of it. Many ESL teachers have probably experienced the student who wants to bypass those auxiliary skills in the learning process. They just want to speak and nothing else. But when those skills are voluntarily excluded the mind has to work with when validating and assimilating new material. In short, it may be a handicap for the person rather than a short cut to exclude writing down as a means to seeing his own errors and avoiding them in speech.
Effective language learning is a measure of the person’s interest but also of his job or social needs, Does he want a promotion where English is required? Is he interested well enough to communicate in the same language as his English-speaking spouse? These are valid questions to understanding the person’s language learning goals. If the person wants to be fully functional in the new language, it takes persistence in learning and new habits such as resisting talking in the other language that cuts your language practice out. Communicability is best mastered when one is young however older people have been shown to master ESL given the opportunity and the space in which he can express himself, listen and be heard.
Of the guiding principles in ESL one should develop all four skills and not just the speaking. The ability to understand in English should be stressed and the continued flow of discussion with native speakers encouraged. Written English should become creative and purposeful and listening is a valuable tool too in acquiring speaking habits, intonation and proper stress points. The new language should be practiced as new expressions and phrasal verbs are gradually introduced. Cultural references and understanding is important and for the learning could be balanced through input and output exercises. Current word usages should be encouraged and the student should always have an outlook to further his learning as the language evolves. The new language should be seen as a means of self-expression and not merely something to be repeated or imitated as one does as a child when learning new habits. English should add to the person’s cultural base and should nit be seen as something detrimental or conflicting and when re-entering the English language mode, consolidation of what one has said is a natural process that ESL learners can appreciate.