English as a Second Language

A discussion of the effectiveness of traditional bilingual English as a second language (ESL) education systems.

This paper evaluates the issue of bilingual English as a second language (ESL) versus immersion styles for teaching English to non-native speakers. It has become an issue that seems to be one debated more often by uniformed politicians than real teachers in real classrooms serving real students with real personalities and histories. It discusses the difficulties in finding realistic measurement tools to assess effectiveness and evaluates what is currently available. It proposes different theories for a positive ESL learning environment through literature reviews which examine such issues as goals and quality of outcomes testing, instructional organization and curriculum and provides a summary table of components and indicators for an ideal instructional delivery system.
“As any educator must be aware the theory of standardized evaluation looks good but the actual results are often difficult to evaluate. Sometimes this difficulty is due to demographics of changing student bodies and other times changing test tactics or report tactics in the same test year. Furthermore another possible hurdle is that changes of report or test type from year to year make all those that came before it invalid as tools for comparison, because they are no longer measuring the same things, good intentions not ignored, the outcomes sometimes make a set of statistics nearly worthless for long term determination of the effectiveness of any program. (Kunnan, 1998, p. iii)”

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