What is the JOURNEY of an ESL student?


(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/22hAxkx)

To understand the journey of a student that enters the world of English is to truly understand the courage it takes to step out of the comfort zone of their own culture and tradition and make something new for them and their world.

Let take a typical step by step view.

  1. Student learns ABC in primary school in their country
  2. Student learns simple grammar and some writing and speaking in secondary school in their country
  3. Student takes some after school English classes at a local English school in their town
  4. Student decides to listen to some English radio or television or film with a view to seeing if they can understand it
  5. Student finishes secondary school and wonders what career path to take. Depending on their confidence and success with English in their schooling so far, they make a decision on their preferred occupation.
  6. If they need to go to University, they consider their budget and make a decision to either go to university overseas or inside their country. In most cases going to university overseas means they must have a strong understanding of English as their course will be conducted by English speakers. If they decide to stay in their own country, they know that perhaps it will be in English or they may have local teacher to help them, but the readings will most likely be in English. So those who opt for the local universities will more likely have less confidence with their English.
  7. If they go overseas, the first thing they will need will be their English proficiency test, e.g. IELTS or TOEFL. The student will go to a university English course or language centre in their new country to test their proficiency level and gauge how far they are away from their IELTS/TOEFL destination.
  8. Student starts English course in Centre and f they have native English teachers, realize how little or much they actually know about English, and either lose confidence or are excited to see where they are at.
  9. Student performs well initially at the school and (even if it is a good school), have a big crash of understanding as they realise how complex it is to learn English for a University level understanding.
  10. Student picks themselves up and re-focusses their attitude to learning English and takes every opportunity to use and practice and understands English is a life long thing, not something just for their university course.
  11. Student finishes English course and pass their IELTS/TOEFL exam and enters university.
  12. Student appreciates their understanding much better now, but at the same time realizes that there is so much more new vocabulary to learn particular to their course.
  13. Student completes and passes course and continues to build on their English as a life long thing.

So there you have it, 13 steps to the journey of learning English.

Tell me about your journey if you are a student, or tell me about a student you know if you are a teacher.


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