What is the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program?


I speak Urdu, Spanish,
French, and English. I speak Chinese, Cantonese. I only understand Tamil.
I’m still learning Sinhalese. Languages I know
are Arabic and English. I speak Marathi at my home,
English at school, French in French class
and also Hindi. ESL is a benefit.
It means that you have two languages: one that has a solid foundation,
your first language, and one that you’re going
to build upon as you grow. We’re fortunate in Peel
to have such great diversity, with families coming from various parts
of the world with various experiences. Society itself
benefits from diversity. It’s important for me
to learn both languages, because it’s okay
to learn more languages. It’ll help you in your learning. We learn about
all the various cultures that we have, and we invite those cultures
to come in through the students. It’s very beneficial for students
to have a multilingual ability, because proficiency in language one really helps to develop
proficiency in language two. A lot of our students are
Canadian-born language learners, and we have students
from other countries that are coming, newcomers to Canada as well. They do speak English socially. Very often they do require support
for the academic part of the language. I can speak to my own experience with
that because I wasn’t born in Canada. When I came
I didn’t need the support, but my brother did
because he was older than I was. So he spoke a different dialect
of patois, so sometimes
it was difficult for his teachers to understand
what he was communicating, or for him to understand
some words in English or the academic English
that’s needed for school. ESL support is based
on the needs of the students. So when a student has reached a level
where they’re proficient in the language, then ESL support
will not be provided. A lot of our support is also done
through monitoring the students’ progress. It’s looking at the observations,
conversations and products of the student and what’s already happening
in the classroom, and then sharing that
between the teachers. What I like about the teachers is that
they’re kind and nice, and they help us learn. When you’re learning
another language, the initial part of that learning
is everyday language, which you would see being developed
through things like recess time, through social interaction… Alongside that, the academic language,
which is the language of the curriculum, is also being developed. But for that to happen
we need to remember that it takes close to 5 to 7 years
to build that language.

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