Teaching English as a Second Language - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/9/02

Teaching English as a Second Language

Switching schools is often challenging for kids, but imagine moving to a new country. Not only do you have to adjust to the changes in lifestyle but many students have to learn English for the first time. English as a second language, also known as ESL is a program offered across the nation where teachers help students of all ages learn to speak our language fluently.

Raney Edmiston, an ESL and Spanish teacher at Cavazos Jr High. Raney speaks Spanish as a second language but teaches students of many different languages how to speak English. "We try English to always use English first, and if I have to use Spanish as a back up to help them understand I do. With the students from countries where I don't speak their language we use a lot of visuals, we draw pictures if they don't have the language to tell me the answer of write the answer they can draw a picture to show me they understand," said Edmiston.

Raney says it doesn't help to talk louder and slower to the students, they still won't know what your saying. They key is to use smaller words, pictures and descriptions. "For example if they don't know what the word clown is we can say the man with the big shoes, the red hair and the funny makeup and they'll be able to understand what I'm talking about."

"Listening is very easy but speaking is hard. My step Dad is from here and he teach me how to say the words," says Ernesto Aguirre a transfer student from Laredo.

"It's very difficult for me because I never learned or speak English in my country before and when I come here I didn't know anything about English. I only know two words 'hello and good bye' and everybody like a stranger to me because they asked questions and I don't understand it. I feel sad and like by myself," says Ann Tran a transfer student from Vietnam.

Ann moved to Lubbock from Vietnam, her parents don't speak English either but she says she's making it thanks to the ESL program. "She help me a lot with my English and she help me with the other class work that I don't understand," said Ann.

"We learn our second language a lot like our first, we listen for almost two years before we start to speak then usually we read then learn to write. These students are thrown into a situation where they have to write on their first day. The speaking and the listening comes quite quickly its the reading and the writing that is the most difficult for them," Edmiston said.

Raney says the students learn quickly and it's only a matter of time before they pick up on all the jargon and slang in Texas. The government said transfer students have three years to learn English and be tested on it. However according to LISD, national studies prove it takes five to seven years to learn English.

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