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Student: Abir Aboutaha
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According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada Statistics (2006), about 1,500 newcomers came to Alberta per month. The majority of them do not speak Canada’s official language as their mother language. Hence, the number of ESL students has increased by an average of 14% annually (Howard Research & Management Consulting Inc., 2006). As a result, effective English as a second language literacy instruction has become an indispensable issue in Alberta’ board of education. Educators and policy makers have embarked their initiative steps to design a guide or handbook to provide information about ESL population, provincial funding policy, differentiated instruction and assessments. Furthermore, educators have suggested
a variety of teaching strategies for ESL students as well as the need for cultural awareness and sensitivity among ESL instructors. In this paper, I am going to review and analyze English as a Second Language Guide to Implementation: Kindergarten to Grade 9 (2007). The Guide consists of six chapters and appendices. It provides information about second language acquisition, ESL programs and learning environment, and proper strategies for effective teaching and learning process. Furthermore, educational practioners working with ESL learners provide lesson plans and miscellaneous activities for different levels of language proficiency. In my analysis of the Guide, I will draw on the hypothesis and perceptions of educational theorists such as Jim Cummins and James Crawford.
Chapter 1 of the ESL Guide to Implementation (k-9) discusses the definition of English as a second language. According to the Guide, ESL students “are students who first learned to speak, read and /or write a language other than English and whose level of English language proficiency precludes them from all participation in learning experiences provided in Alberta schools” (Alberta Education, 2007). ESL students are often people who came to live in an English- speaking country, and do not speak English very well. Ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity are the main features of Alberta’s schools and communities. The Guide aims to provide (a) a clear picture of second language acquisition, (b) suggestions for the placement of elementary and junior high school ESL students, (c) effective ESL learning environment, and (d) suggestive lesson plans and varying activities based on language proficiency levels. In addition, the Guide provides assessment and evaluation techniques for measuring ESL students’ achievement.
It is worthy to mention that language development is an integrated responsibility of ESL teachers, subject-area teachers, and English language arts teachers. All of them assist ESL learners to develop their linguistic and communicative competence. Furthermore, they assist students to apply different strategies to comprehend, analyze, and apply critical thinking to a variety of situations (Alberta Education, 2007). In spite of the teachers’...