Diane Boothe (2000), in her article “Looking Beyond the ESL Label,” explores equal educational opportunities for children from various ethnic groups. The author considers the most common problems these children face when entering a new educational environment. She dwells on the cultural challenges of non-native speakers, the connection between health and academic success, as well as the need to find qualified ESL teachers. Moreover, Boothe comes up with strategies that help educators promote effective and equal language learning.
Many students who come to the U.S. have to leave their families and work part-time in addition to attending classes. Other groups of students are refugees fleeing conflict zones and trying to concentrate on learning a new language. Their educational experience tends to be interrupted because of civil wars or catastrophic events. Therefore, teachers need to develop cultural sensitivity and awareness to avoid misunderstanding. Learners can have problems when they try to fit in with the students of the same race that are more established in the school culture. The role of an educator is to prevent a confrontation between newcomers and the core group.
A well-balanced diet and secure living conditions allow dealing with school challenges successfully. However, immigrant children often do not have access to the healthcare system or do not receive proper nutrition. Teachers can reach out to agencies and governmental centers such as Migrant Child Services to help families cope with difficulties. Furthermore, not all ESL teachers obtain the necessary training to provide children with sufficient material. Educators need to acknowledge that the age of a student impacts the speed of learning English. Consequently, communication skills in a new language will develop in time with continuous practice.
Teachers that take care of ESL students can employ different strategies to foster the learning process. First of all, it is useful to support a child by engaging in a friendly conversation. Secondly, educators can encourage writing by asking students to reflect on their experience. Furthermore, literature and multicultural short stories should be available for everyone to improve reading comprehension. After reading the article, I have understood that teachers should be free from stereotypes, as every ESL child has unique abilities and cultural backgrounds. It is crucial to comprehend how to find links between cultures and learning styles. Moreover, the involvement of community members to serve as classroom volunteers is paramount. Finally, I support the idea of collaborating with governmental agencies to assist immigrant families.
Boothe, D. (2000). Looking beyond the ESL label. Principal Leadership, 1(4).