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What is ESL (English as a Second Language) and who is it for?


English as a Second Language (ESL) is a traditional term used to refer to the study of the English language by non-native speakers, which takes place in an established English-speaking country. The environment for teaching English should be in a country wherein the mother tongue is English, such as the U.S., UK, or Australia; or a country wherein English has long been used as a form of communication, such as the Philippines and India.

In the United States, being a melting pot of languages and varied cultures (as seen in huge cities like Los Angeles), it’s a common scenario wherein immigrants don’t speak English. Fortunately, ESL classes are an option for immigrants to learn to communicate well, as well as improve their competency as part of their long-term goals.

Learning English: How difficult is it?

English, albeit the universal language, isn’t exactly the easiest to learn. One challenge most non-English speakers face is the accent from their native tongue, which can affect how people understand them when trying to communicate in English. Translating words can also be extremely challenging, especially when stringing it into phrases or sentences.
If you are currently in this situation, it’s alright to feel frustrated at some point, but never give up. These roadblocks can be eliminated if you are willing to immerse yourself in this much-needed subject.

How to Learn English Quick and Easy

Take ESL Classes

Formal classes in English is one of the most effective ways in understanding the ins and outs of the English language. This traditional, classroom setting approach has served many people well over the years and is still the most preferable way to learn English.

In Los Angeles, one of the many institutes that offer an ESL program is Eagle Rock College, wherein six levels of proficiency are offered, from Beginner to High Advanced Academic Language.

Program Objectives

Beginner: International students who want to study ESL in Los Angeles but have no knowledge on the many aspects of English such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening would fit Eagle Rock College’s ESL for Beginners. Students enrolled under this category are often newcomers in the country and are critically in need of strong literacy skills.
High Beginner: Eagle Rock College’s high beginner level is for learners who are starting to speak English, but have a very limited vocabulary. A non-native English speaker may have already memorized commonly used phrases at this point, but may need more knowledge in how and when to use these words.

Intermediate: Intermediate learners at Eagle Rock College are starting to participate in most classroom activities and can follow directions in English, although he or she may misunderstand them now and then. However, the student’s vocabulary is growing exponentially despite a few grammatical errors. His or her academic work can be compared to that of a grade level, but support in writing and reading is still needed.

High Intermediate: ESL students at Eagle Rock College show a tremendous improvement in speaking English at this point, where confidence is increasing especially in using new vocabulary. His or her accent is still present, but grammatical errors are very few, and social activities are becoming easier in and out of the classroom.

Advanced: Students at the advanced proficiency can handle most personal, social, and academic language. Idioms and structure are frequently still problematic. Complicated literary and academic texts may require use of a dictionary when the language and context are unfamiliar. The ESL curricular focus is based on literacy skills necessary for success in a grade level classroom.

High Advanced: Students at the high advanced proficiency level have already gained a better understanding of complex grammar. The focus in this level is to assist student to work on troubleshooting problem areas. Students will be given various opportunities to practice their oral communication and writing skills to help develop analytical and critical thinking skills. Students will perfect their reading skills where they will be able to recognize different topics, understanding vocabulary in context, and making inferences.

Learning English Through Immersion

While learning how to speak English properly is ideally done in a classroom setting, there are other ways to get a good grasp of the language outside of school. If you’re already taking English as a Second Language at Eagle Rock College, you can spend after-school hours going around your neighborhood in Los Angeles and practice.

There are immersion programs offered at Eagle Rock College, or you can do it by yourself by talking to Los Angeles locals, or hearing them converse. This will help you hear different voice variations, tones, and inflections of a native English speaker.

It is also through immersion that students learn to tone down their accent, or totally get rid of it. Hearing English phrases and sentences in a variety of situations is an effective way of learning how to deliver the language accurately.

Admissions

To be admitted to Eagle Rock College’s English as a Second Language program, you need to adhere to the following admissions requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Submit a copy of a high school or college diploma (if in a foreign language, the transcript must be translated into English and notarized)
  • Complete an International Student Application
  • Provide financial statement
  • Submit copy of I-94 and passport
  • Pay initial fees
  • Take campus tour
  • Take written and oral English placement exams during the admissions process to determine which ESL level to be placed in corresponding to the scores achieved on the placement exams

Learning English comes with challenges, but it should be a fun experience for all. Once you decide you’re ready to learn English in Los Angeles, you already know where to go.

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