I am a certified K-12 teacher with an endorsement in ELL – English Language Learners (formerly ESL- English as a Second Language). For those of you who learned a second langue, Spanish, French, German or something else, I am the teacher of students who need to learn English.
The “Old School” method was traditionally classroom based and if you were lucky, you had a “Language Lab” where you’d put on a huge set of headphones and listen to tapes of the language you were learning. You were also usually taught reading and writing of the same language in the class. Depending on your age and location, as laws and language teaching theories varied state-by-state, you experienced emersion, translation or any other form of the new “it” way to learn, as dictated by the state or local school board.
My philosophy of teaching had always varied, depending upon the age, level of knowledge and reason for why the student was learning English. Due to my physical location, I have always been working with a native Spanish speaking population, sometimes children and sometimes adults. English always represented a tool, much like a carpenter needs to know how to use a speed square, drill and measuring tape in order to be successful in her trade. For a six-year-old, the learning of English was necessary in order to learn everything you needed to survive and succeed in school. For an adult, the working knowledge of English represented new and better employment opportunities and a path to a better future.
I’ve been an English teacher for over thirty years in a variety of settings. I’m personally excited about the advancements in technology and their applications in a language-learning environment. Many language courses are now taught online in an audio and visual context. The use of all new media tools can easily be adapted for language learning. Access to a computer is really the only roadblock to language learning, as well as residency in some states.