English as a Second Language
Students whose native language is other than English enter New York City’s public schools at every grade level throughout the school year. They come from all over the world and have a range of social, cultural, and academic experiences, assumptions, and expectations that may be substantially different from those of other students in New York City and the United States. These new students face many challenges and must overcome numerous barriers in order to succeed in their present and future endeavors.
The inclusion of perspectives on bilingual/ESL learners was an important part of the development of the New York City edition of the New Standards™ Performance Standards. English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual programs offer students the opportunity to acquire second language proficiency and to become educated bilingual/bicultural adults. Students, educators, parents, and the community are partners in the process.
In accord with the current national movement toward school reform and the adoption of rigorous, challenging standards for all students and the entire school community, ESL programs must aim for high standards that are developmentally appropriate and empower students to become productive, informed adults and life-long learners.
The ESL Curriculum Frameworks, published as a chapter of the New York City Curriculum Frameworks, are in alignment with the New Standards™ Performance Standards. The frameworks demonstrate that the expectations of English language learners, particularly at the advanced and transitional levels of ESL instruction, begin to parallel and eventually merge with English Language Arts.
What is English as a Second Language?
ESL is an academic discipline designed to allow students to acquire English language proficiencies across the major skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and critical thinking in a systematic and spiraling fashion. ESL services necessarily encompass academic areas other than language arts, such as science, mathematics, and social studies.
In addition, ESL instruction serves as a focal point for the introduction and reinforcement of the concepts of cross-cultural/multicultural understanding and social responsibility. Thus, ESL instruction plays a major role in affording bilingual/ESL students the opportunity to acquire the English proficiency and academic, cognitive, and cultural knowledge they need to become active participants in the larger society.
Teachers at all grade levels should use appropriate ESL methodologies including the integration of the visual and performing arts and technology. In this way, teachers will make their instruction more comprehensible while contributing to the English language acquisition of their students.
Because students enter the school system at all grades with varying levels of English language proficiency, the ESL Curriculum Frameworks are organized by grade cluster: Pre-K - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, and by level of instruction: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and transitional. The transitional level refers to the stage of English language development that forms the bridge to Language Arts in English.
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