Learning a new language is an exciting and challenging undertaking. There are so many ways for people to learn English as a second language. From structured ESL classes to utilizing music and TV shows, mastering English is an achievable dream!
In education, it’s especially important to know English as many of the best programs are taught in English. Additionally, as the most spoken language in the world, it’s a useful skill to have when entering the workforce.
This is why so many students enroll in ESL (english as a second language) courses! Let’s dive into everything you need to know about ESL, ESL classes, and how they are structured to help students learn English.
What Is ESL?
ESL stands for English as a second language. It’s a term that has been used to talk about students who are not native English speakers and are studying English in a native English speaking country.
What Is An ESL Class?
An ESL program consists of classes that teach students English as their second (or sometimes third, fourth, etc.) language. They are taught by teachers who are at least bilingual. ESL classes help students learn how to write, read, speak, and listen in English.
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How Hard Is It To Learn English?
Learning any language can be challenging. For some, it’s easier than for others. Translating words and grammar rules could be tough in English. Additionally, there are some words that have silent letters or sound like other words, so spelling may also be difficult at times.
However, there are so many tools, resources, and successful ESL programs to choose from to help non-native speakers learn English.
How ESL Programs Help Students Learn English
ESL classes are taught by teachers who are specifically trained to work with students who do not speak English natively. Sometimes, ESL classes have students who speak various languages who are all trying to learn English at the same time, so this could be different from English speakers who take a Spanish or French class, for example.
Many ESL programs rely on a similar tool set of best practices to help students learn English, including:
- The use of pictures to teach vocabulary
- Computer software programs
- Repetition and demonstrations
Structure Of ESL Classes
Since ESL programs most often take place in native English speaking countries, their goal is to fully immerse non-native speakers into English learning environments. Not only do students learn English, but they also get to take classes in different subjects, like History, Math, and Science. All of the classes are taught in English to give students a robust educational experience and help them learn the language in a variety of settings.
Who Are ESL Classes For?
ESL classes are offered at all levels, from preschool to college. They are designed for any student who does not speak English at home or who are struggling with English. Often, international students also choose to enroll in ESL classes.
What Is The ESL Teaching Certification?
ESL teachers are certified to educate students in English. This special certification ensures that the teachers are prepared to teach non-native speakers. The certification requires that teachers pass tests on both content knowledge and teaching practices.
The process to earn an ESL teaching certification varies by state. However, they all generally include a test and a review of the teacher’s experience.
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8 Ways To Learn English At Home
Whether you choose to enroll in ESL classes or not, you can always enhance your fluency in English by studying at home. Here’s a look at some of the common ways that people learn the language in the comfort of their house:
1. Online Classes
You can enroll in online classes that teach English via video and/or conversational speaking lessons.
Watching TV in English with subtitles is a great way to learn how to read and listen to native speakers. It can also help to understand the tone and cadence of the language for speaking.
Try to keep a diary written in English. This is not only a creative and expressive way to document your thoughts, but it also is a good way to track how you are improving over time.
4. Host Events
There are many holidays that are unique to native English speaking countries. For example, in the U.S., you may want to host a Thanksgiving or 4th of July party. This way, you can better understand and participate in the culture.
5. Play Games
Multiplayer online video games are a great way to practice your English speaking skills and have fun while doing so!
Like watching TV, listening to the radio is another way to pick up on conversational English speaking. Since you have to focus solely on listening, it can help you pick up on the pronunciation of words.
Since the availability of books (online or print) is practically limitless, you can choose to read about any subject or genre you find interesting, while also honing in on comprehension and reading skills.
One of the best ways to learn any language is to practice talking! Talk to yourself or a friend in English. If you want, you can even record conversations and play them back to catch mistakes or ask questions about things you weren’t sure about at the time.
Finding Online ESL Classes And ESL Programs
There are so many opportunities for online learning these days. To help you find the right ESL class for you, consider using these resources:
- ESL directory allows you to select your location and then displays your local options
- Free online courses offered by edX
- YouTube channels for ESL
Knowing English Opens Doors
English is the official language of more than 50 countries worldwide. As the most widely spoken language, knowing English can help you get a good job and support your educational prospects.
For example, if you want to attend the University of the People’s online programs, you don’t need to fulfill many requirements. The only two admissions requirements include knowing English proficiently and having proof that you graduated high school. The same rings true of many of the top institutions around the world as curriculums are taught in English.
ESL classes are one of the best ways to master English speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills for a non-native speaker!