English as a Second Language (ESL), alternatively known as English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL), refers to an intensive English language learning program or course taken by speakers of other languages.
In other words, ESL is a course that is designed to teach English to individuals whose native language is not English or who are not proficient in this language or who cannot fluently speak, write, or read English. People across the globe take ESL courses for a plethora of reasons.
Sometimes, it may be for the successful completion of high school education or to enter a graduation course. In some instances, it may be to join an occupational or a professional course. Apart from these, people take this course to enhance their career. In short, the primary purpose of an ESL course is to make an individual proficient in the use of the English language.
An English as a second language course is primarily designed with a range of techniques and methodologies to develop listening, speaking, reading, writing, and vocabulary skills with regard to the English language. The topics covered in English as a Second Language courses include grammar, use of idioms and phrasal verbs, picture dictionaries, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation. Mostly, the course is inclusive of a multitude of activities, which among many others are:
-Imparting effective classes along with seminars and workshops for individuals and groups
-Preparing and developing useful notes and other materials on the English language
-Scheduling schemes of work
-Tracking records of students
-Tailoring programs according to the skills and requirements of candidates
-Implementation of most modern tools for training , such as, multimedia and videoconferencing facilities
However, the duration of ESL programs are based on different levels, and range from few weeks to few months or sometimes even several years.
Depending upon the skills and requirements of people, different types of English as a Second Language programs are available. For instance, there are ESL programs specifically designed for non-native English speaker business professionals, with topics focusing on enhancement of verbal comprehension, improved readability, proper usage of grammar and punctuation for successful business writing, and effective editing and proofreading.
Specialized programs are also available for those engaged in such professions as airline services, hotel management, and nursing. Likewise, there are special courses for students engaged in advanced research programs.
Some advanced level ESL courses include topics that emphasize on preparation of some kind of exams, like, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), and the Cambridge Exam. This type of ESL programs usually cover classes on the English grammar, vocabulary listening, and writing and speaking skills vital for university admission. In addition, for those who want to enhance their language skills in a particular area of professional study, then taking ESL programs such as English for Specific programs would be beneficial.
Most popular ESL programs also include one to one instruction, independent study with the help of sophisticated learning tools, and group instruction. Advanced General English courses and Conversational English Course are the other prominent ESL programs. Let it be any type of English as a second language program, the curriculum starts with training on basic skills in the language. Then, the training is switched over to the development of communication skills as well as the other modules of language training.
One of the prime benefits of ESL programs is that it serves as a great way to fill in the missing gap in your knowledge or skills, since they are mostly inclusive of innovative classes and educational events. Another prime benefit of this program is that it helps you attain success in much desirable courses, such as TOEFL exam, which is vital in order to enroll or work in a US school or firm.
However, the benefits of an ESL programs are far beyond the educational and employment opportunities it renders. An ESL program can help improve an individual's linguistic skills, thereby making them adept in comprehending complexities arising as a result of the language's grammar as well as meaning. Also, included in ESL programs' advantages are improved social interaction skills and ability to work in a creative environment.
Nowadays, endless options are available to take courses on English as a second language, with a large number of reputable teaching centers and programs to choose from. With the introduction of the internet, there are superb alternatives to take ESL programs online.