This semester, I ended up taking two English as a Second Language (ESL) education classes: ESL Methods and The Structure of English. I figured that they would be great courses to take since at previous field placements, I felt rather useless trying to help the English language Learners. I realized that this would be something that I would have to deal with as a teacher, and I might as well learn now.
We are not that far along in the ESL methods class, but we discussed many strategies to help teach students who are still learning English. Along the course of the semester, we will learn plenty more strategies to teach English.
In the class, I learned that ESL teachers have the number one certification that schools will be looking for in the future. Since this field of teachers is growing, I am considering pursuing this certification in the future. Either way, I am going to be a certified ESL teacher or I will be a general education teacher who has some students who are still learning English in his class.
In one class, we closely observed a video of a few ESL classes where the teachers found ways to incorporate elements from the original cultures of the students who are still learning English. For example, one language arts class read a story that featured elements of Chinese culture. This helped me learn that it is important to include elements from a students culture when teaching, whether they are born here or not. The students have to relate to at least some of the material that is being taught.
In the video, the teachers also found ways to allow students who are still learning English to use their native language in class. For example, one teacher asked a student to translate some history vocabulary words to his native language, and another teacher allowed students who are still learning English to read about the topic in their first language. If I become a general education teacher and have students who are learning English, I realize that I have some great tricks in my back pocket to use to help them learn the material.
In the Structure of English course, we are looking at how the English language is structured and how it is learned as a second language. Since beginning this class, I can say that I am more aware of how the English language is structured, which will definitely help me out as a language arts teacher. Since we are learning how English language learners learn English, I believe I can help a student who is still learning English improve their second language.
I do not know what my future exactly entails as an educator. I plan to have a theater degree and a middle level language arts certification after I graduate. However, I still may pursue my ESL certification and/or a secondary English certification. Either way, I believe the two ESL courses I am taking this semester will help me become a more effective educator.