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ESL Students and Curriculum

ESL Students and Curriculum research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

This is a research paper on ESL curriculum and ESL students. The essay will examine the various differences between the average student and ESL students. In recent years, two major trends have emerged in the educational literature. The first of these is multiculturalism, that is, designing a curriculum that reflects, respects and fosters the rich tradition of cultural diversity that exists in America. The second trend that will be discussed here is that of the increasing resistance to the traditional notion of the separate classroom for non-English speakers. Although these two topics may at first appear to be tangentially related at best, both of these ideas will come to play heavily in the ideas that will be explored in the context of the current paper.

The Fundamental Principles of ESL Students and Curriculum

The specific changes that have occurred in the context of the fundamental principles for ESL instruction have served as the impetus for the development of three pillars for ESL curriculum. As noted by Italiano and Rounds (1993) the three basic ideas of ESL curriculum are as follows:

  • Proficiency in a second language must occur “holistically and naturally through the use of functional language used for authentic purposes”.
  • "Second language is best learned when the content of instruction forms an important component language instruction."
  • There is no single method of instruction that has been proven to have the best outcomes for ESL learners.

Italiano and Rounds insist that each of these three issues serves to inform the development of ESL curriculum in most public schools.

ESL Students and Curriculum

The chief argument explored in this paper will be that the current system of bilingual/ESL education that is in place in the American public education system does not maximize educational democracy, and that specific changes should be made in order to ensure that bilingual/ESL students are guaranteed the widest range of equal opportunity possible.

Barriers for ESL Students

Diverse scholars and other observers contend that one of the greatest barriers to educational democracy for ESL students today is the segregation of English language learners in classrooms apart from native speakers. There is some evidence that segregation improves ESL students’ performance on standardized tests. However, many critics maintain that segregation robs young learners of valuable learning interactions with peers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Some educators convincingly argue that such interactions better prepares students for life in multicultural America than does prepping for standardized test. Ideally, integrated classes would promote mutually beneficial exchanges between students from different backgrounds, with ESL students being directly exposed through their peers to mainstream American language and culture even as mainstream learners in turn acquire knowledge of and openness to other cultural and linguistic traditions.
According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals concern is mounting that the practice of teaching ESL students in separate classes also intensifies the segregation of Latino students in particular. De facto school segregation is already a major problem as it is because most Latino and African American students today attend schools with predominantly minority student populations. The segregation of students according to language skill adds yet another level of segregation. Some schools with large proportions of immigrant students face troubling divisions because their student populations are confined to separate classrooms, have limited opportunities for interaction across linguistic and cultural barriers, and become split into mutually hostile factions.


Areas of Focus for ESL Curriculum Development

In an effort to clearly delineate the areas of focus for ESL curriculum development, you may want to delineate the specific areas of language development that must be emphasized in the ESL curriculum. Specifically, focus on the six skill areas of

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing
  5. Viewing
  6. Representing

By targeting these specific areas of development educators are able to develop the particular classroom practices and methods needed to ensure that students garner success in these areas. This process also serves as the basis for the instructor to create meaningful applications that will allow all students in the classroom to explore the subject material in a comprehensive manner and should be included in a well written research paper.

While the central focus of ESL curriculum appears to stem from an effort to provide ESL learners with a positive method for learning the English language, Ndura (2004) insists that the development of ESL curriculum is also focused on preserving and respecting diversity in culture. As reported by this author, “second languages play an important role in fostering cross-cultural communication and giving the learners an opportunity to explore and negotiate their new multicultural environment”. As such, the curriculum employed to improve outcomes for ESL learners must not only consider the specific methods that can be utilized to improve understanding and use of the English language, but also the curriculum must address cultural differences and utilize them to develop student participation in a multicultural learning environment.

Synthesizing all of the information that has been provided in this investigation, it is evident that the scope and context of ESL curriculum is extensive and complex. While the central goal of this process appears to focus on providing ESL students with academic instruction in mainstream classrooms, considerable emphasis in curriculum development is placed on respect and preservation of the multicultural environment. Further, while research demonstrates that mainstreaming processes and student-centered education are basic theoretical designs for curriculum, the specific teaching methods that work to improve outcomes for ESL learners have not been widely established in the literature. Thus, the complexity that remains in the field of ESL curriculum provides educators with considerable flexibility in developing classroom strategies for teaching ESL students.

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