The number of students’ immigrants in the United States has increased over the years. Some of the students who join the educational facilities in United States; preparatory, high schools and college levels may have received instructions in their native languages from their countries of origin. These students sometimes are more informed than their peers in the same education level in United States the only challenge they have is the communication barrier. Therefore, the government and the agencies that are mandated in making policies in the United States saw it wise to introduce English in American schools systems as the foreign language to help those students who have migrated to United States to be in position to articulate issues in English language. This is one of the proposals the government and policy makers in United States have embarked on in ensuring that all the students receive quality education. Various proposals geared towards the improvements of quality education have being made to ensure that the reforms in the education systems in United States have being attained.
The reforms are aimed at ensuring the education of highest quality possible is given the students in United States and also ensure that education meets the aspirations of the students. The proponents of the reforms in the education sector argue that the education system in United States do not meet the aspirations of the students and therefore seen as less efficient in impacting knowledge that would be important in ensuring development of all spheres of lives of the student in United States. The education systems should be designed in such a way that they are relevant to the need of the society and also ensure that the people who pass through the system are in a position to handle the challenges that they come on their way especially in 21st century where knowledge is the source of competitive advantage to a country.
One of many reforms that are proposed in the American school system is use of English as a second language. The research therefore is aimed at establishing the effectiveness of the English as a second Language programs in the American school system. In ESL, the English language is taught in school as schools as foreign language. Some of the reasons that have necessitated the ESL are the use of slang in communication that has resulted to less use of correct English in day to day communication. This has led to the emergence of the generation that that cannot communicate properly in English in spite the English being their mother tongue or the first language. Another reason that inspired the ESL is that there are many immigrants in United States who can barely communicate in English. To ensure that the immigrants can communicate in proper English and thus ensure that their daily businesses are transacted, the ESL in American schools systems became a necessity.
Statement of the Research Questions
The problem of this study was to examine the impact of English as a second Language (ESL) programs in the American school system. To ensure that the research was carried out exhaustively, four research questions were frmulated to guide the study:
- In what ways is the ESL program in the American school system adding value to the quality of education?
- Do ESL programs in the American school system ensure that the aspirations of the individuals and the community in general are met?
- Is there enough progress being made in ESL programs to further continue their use?
- If the ESL programs do not make enough progress, should the system be altered or done away with completely?
Review of Literature
The literature reviewed for the sake of this study focused on the several key areas that formed the basis of the subheadings used in this section of the research paper. They include the importance of ESL programs in the American school system, the ESL program models, factors to be considered before ESL program-model is selected and factors that determines the effectiveness of ESL program.
The importance of the ESL programs in Americans school system
The students who have migrated to the United States to seek knowledge have increased in the recent past. A good number of the students who come to United States receive education in their native countries in other languages other than English language. When these students settle in United States, their families continue to communicate in their native language therefore making it even more difficult for the students to learn the English language fast. The Language-minority-students are found in many parts of the United States not just in large cities but also in remote places such as areas that borders United States and Mexico (Collier, 2005).
The issue of the language-minority-student has become rampant in United States therefore it is important for the government to introduce the ESL programs in the education systems in United States in order to ensure that all the students in the United States Compete effectively. The ESL program is not only important to students but also to other members of the society. The businessmen, for instance should be in position to communicate effectively with his customers in order to sell his products efficiently in the market without hitches. Therefore the ESL programs is also sorted by the senior members of the society who may have migrated to United States for businesses endeavors and their language of communication or the first language is not English (Collier, 2005).
ESL Program Models
The number of minority-language students is increasing rapidly due to the rise of the number of students who seek educational services in United States. The government and the policy makers in the educational sector have sought ways of leveling the playground for the students to compete effectively regardless of the fact that some of the students received previous instructions in school from their native country in a language which is not English. The authorities have realized that the students may be more informed than their peers who received education using English language as the sole form of communication (Pease-Alvarez, Garcia & Espinosa, 2008).
There are various models that have being designed tto ensure that ESL programs in the American school systems have become a success. According to Collier et al (2004), the success of various ESL models in ensuring that the language-minority-students are proficient in English language has remained a subject of controversy for a long period of time. However, some educationists claim that some models are more superior to others in certain conditions. There are various factors to consider in determining which model to adopt in ESL programs. These factors include the requirement of the individual student and the resources that are set aside to realize the goal. In some schools in the district, student fraternity is comprised of students from one language-background say all the students speak in English language. On the other hand, some districts school many have students who speak in more that 100 different language; small groups of student with each group speaking a different language. In such a situation the resources the model used in ESL program should be different to the one used where the largest group in the school uses same language in communication (Pease-Alvarez, Garcia & Espinosa, 2008).
Another factor that should be considered while choosing ESL program model is the student features. Some students migrate to United States having prepared better than their peers in United States in their native language. On the other hand, some students may have entered to the United States without any school experience. These two groups of students should not be subject to the same ESL program model. Lastly the resource available to a school should be considered while choosing the ESL program Model. The schools or the districts that have the history of receiving students from language minority group would be well prepared in terms of teachers and other facilities that are necessary for impacting knowledge in English language. On the other hand, school that have had few enrolments of language-minority-students in the past would be ill prepared in terms of teachers and therefore it would take time to find the volunteers or the instructors who are bilingual to ensure effectiveness of the ESL programs in school in United States (Pease-Alvarez, Garcia & Espinosa, 2008).
Determination of effectiveness of ESL Programs
Collier et al (2004) assert that the effectiveness of ESL programs remains a subject of controversies but different research have come with the features that should be used to determine the effectiveness of ESL programs. Collier et al (2004) assert that the eagerness on part of the language-minority-student helps to determine whether the ESL program is effective or not. The expectations or the eagerness of the student is partly fostered by the active-learning-environments. Another determinant of the effectiveness of ESL programs in the American schools is the preparedness of the school in offering ESL services to the language-minority-students. The schools show preparedness in handling ESL programs by training the teachers in other languages that are articulated by the Language-minority-students. This ensures that the school has the capacity in teaching English language as a foreign language.