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Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Welcome to the Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language course. The purpose of this course is to introduce new ESL and EFL instructors to various aspects of teaching English as a second or foreign language. ESL and EFL What is English as a second language (ESL)? English as a Second Language (ESL) is the term used to describe English language instruction for non-native speakers of English. What is the difference between English as a Foreign Language and English as a Second Language? ESL stands for "English as a Second Language" and means "learning English in an English speaking country." EFL stands for "English as a Foreign Language" and means "learning English in a non-English speaking country." English Language Learning Learning English involves four basic skills: 1. Reading 2. Writing 3. Speaking 4. Listening Speaking and listening are often the most important skills that English language learners need to meet their immediate needs. Instructors should assess learners' proficiency in all four skills in order to understand their strengths and learning challenges. Many adult English language learners demonstrate proficiency in one or more of the four skills. Characteristics of Adult English Language Learners The population of adult English language learners is diverse, and characteristics of learners vary from location to location and program to program. English language learners differ in: Age Educational background Length of time in the country The native language they speak Their personal experiences Their socio-economic status Note that there are learners whose native language does not have a written system. There are also learners who had limited access to education and even literacy in their native countries due to social, ethnic, religious, and political issues. In addition, there are learners who are very-well educated, and even hold graduate degrees, but need to enroll in the ESL classes because they need to learn English. Moreover, adult English learners often enroll in ESL programs because they want to either pursue further educational opportunities, or better employment. Instructional Strategies That Support Language Development Here are some general strategies for instructors that support language development in adult learners: Learn about your learners and their needs Use lots of visual aids in the classroom Model tasks before asking learners to do them Bring authentic materials to the classroom How Long Does It Take to Learn English? The amount of time it takes an adult to learn English varies from person to person and depends on such factors as:

individual’s age, educational background, level of literacy in the native language, and opportunities to interact with native English speakers. The amount and type of work on pronunciation that is needed depends on the learner's native language and where he or she lives. Speaking with an accent in English does not necessarily mean that the learner will have difficulty communicating or being understood in English. ESL Learners and Literacy Levels It is not uncommon for many ESL learners to be completely illiterate. However, at the most basic level, literacy learners should understand that texts have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They should also understand that English is read from left to right and from up to down, and that written words can represent a story. Key Reading Skills ESL learners also need to be able to develop four key reading skills. These skills are: Phonological Processing Vocabulary Development Syntactical Processing Schema Activation Based on these four skills, learners need to be able to: Recognize and reproduce letters and other graphic symbols related to the language Develop a vocabulary bank Understand and apply grammar and usage conventions Identify and use structural and organizational features common to the English language Develop appropriate strategies for

reading comprehension Some of these strategies may include identifying a purpose for reading, using pictures and graphics, predicting and skimming. Remember that it will be hard for learners to understand what they read until they have solid word recognition skills. In order to gain such skills, students will first need to develop their oral vocabulary. Oral Vocabulary ESL learners may have difficulty learning English because they have never thought about language as a system that can be broken down and classified. This is why, it is important that the instructor takes a lot of time developing oral vocabulary before proceeding to reading and writing.