ERIC Number: ED482580
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001
What Is Wrong with ESL Programs in Schools?
This paper examines problems in U.S. English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) programs, focusing on the stories of three Chinese ESL learners from immigrant families. All three of these people had been long-term ESL students in New York City (they had been enrolled in ESL programs for 4-8 years but had not mastered the cognitive and academic skills in English needed to compete at grade level). In describing their ESL programs, the students reported such things as never having had any textbooks in their ESL classes, seldom being given any homework, never receiving help for math or other subjects, and not learning anything. One student had a good first-year ESL teacher who helped students with math and science and taught them English. However, she never tested out of the ESL classes and reported that the ESL class was called a "class for the retarded." The paper concludes that much of ESL education fails because the programs hold no standards or clearly defined expectations for their learners and because the urgent needs of ESL students are not well understood or adequately addressed. It also fails because many ESL classes are conducted by poorly trained teachers. (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Mid-America Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Lee's Summit, MO, October 19-20, 2001).