EAL/ESL Programs

For one of my courses this semester I am required to go to a local High School and work with some of their EAL/ESL learners for one hour a week. I really appreciate this opportunity because I have no experience working with students who are learning English as an additional language. The High School that I am at has a large EAL/ESL student population so they have developed an EAL/ESL program at their school. This program not only teaches the students English, but it provides additional supports for those who have been put into mainstream classes. When the students first come to Canada all of their classes are EAL classes. Then, as their English and educational skills develop, they are introduced to mainstream classes one by one. Once these students are fully integrated into the mainstream classes, they are given an extra “tutorial” class so that they can have one-on-one support from a teacher on any homework that they may have.

I asked the teacher whose classroom I am working in what happens with those students who come to Canada during their teenage years. I was curious about whether or not they were able to “catch up” and graduate alongside their peers. I was very sad to hear that most of the EAL/ESL students who arrive at this school in their teenage years–especially those with no educational experience–will not graduate. She said that they can remain in the public school system until they are 20 years of age, but after that they are on their own. She said that there is an adult campus for students to go to school, but the only classes offered there are grade 12 classes, so if a student does not have enough credits from being in the public system they cannot attend the adult campus. I was shocked to find out that whether or not the students were ready or prepared to enter the world, they are forced out of the educational system and left to fend for themselves…

I guess what I am wondering is if there are any other programs out there to help these students become successful. Leaving school at the age of 20 with a vague understanding of the English language and a education equivalent to grade 6 does not create a very promising future. Are there programs in place to help these students, or is this as good as it gets? What could an educator do to help ensure the success of his/her EAL/ESL students? What should an educator do to help ensure their success?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to EAL/ESL Programs

  1. The ESL program at the university is a place where many beginning English learners can attend to move their skills. I think it is fairly expensive to attend but I know that it is a very good program. The student is put into a class based on a placement exam. They may start in the 005 class and it goes up to 050. The courses are 13 weeks long. This is one option for students.

  2. Our EAL system in New Zealand works the opposite way to yours. The learners are mainstreamed for all classes and but are given separate instruction for EAL so that their academic work doesn’t suffer due to language difficulties.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s