Cary Sawatsky, Marketing and Image, St. Jude’s Academy
Do ESL Classes Really Work?
“Students universally complain because ESL does not teach them to speak English. It can’t. ESL principally teaches two things (language memory and visual memory) and only one of these is required in speech. At its very best, ESL partially teaches only one of the three essential elements required in spoken language” (Free English Now).
Despite this claim, English as a Second Language (ESL) is taught in schools around the world without any serious challengers to its status as the default method for training those whose native tongue is not English to reach proficiency in English in the shortest period of time possible. Part of the reason why ESL is the undisputed method leader is because there is no standardized ESL curriculum. All ESL classes are different as teachers often edit their curriculum to deal with the specific language needs of their students.
Does the claim that ESL doesn’t teach students to speak English hold any weight, and if it does, does it matter? In my professional opinion, as a former private school principal, the claim is legitimate, but the purpose of ESL is not to train students to speak the language in the first place. Learning a language is hard work. There is just so much more to speaking a language than knowing the vocabulary, as the source Free English Now is quick to point out.
St. Jude’s Academy (JK-Grade 12) is the leading private university preparatory and IB School (PYP, MYP, DP) in Mississauga. Our faculty are world leaders in IB education, providing fundamental skills. Phys. Ed, Arts, and language specialists nurture the whole student which ensures 100% of our graduates are accepted into their chosen university. Supported by faculty and parents, our students are inspired to confidently make their mark in the world.