by Raihan Eligihani
Language has been used as a form of communication for ages. Expressing our thoughts and emotions would be difficult without it as it is the backbone of societal practices. Although there are various forms of language, English tends to be one of the most imperative. Seeing that English is immensely prominent, a new yet effective form of learning the English language must be used.
The primal form of English derives from the fifth century. Historical references show how Germanic tribes and Normans helped shape the English language with their Latin and French influence. Fast forward a few years later, when printing became a process which made English more widely used. New and other information was spread quickly, which created a larger need for the English language. What also catalyzed the English language’s popularity was the Industrial Revolution, which “created a need for more words, and British colonization led to the adoption of many foreign words” (Lyons).
With the historical spread of the English language, it is estimated that out of the “7.5 billion people in the world, 1.5 billion of them speak English” (Lyons). Many of those 1.5 billion speak English as a second language. 1,140,000,000 of those who speak English learned it as a second language. This goes to show the importance and the immense impact of the English language not only in the United states but globally. With the large amount of individuals who utilize the English language, some do unfortunately struggle with not only learning the concepts of the language, but also retrieving the resources to do so in the first place.
Looking solely at the United States, English as a Second Language learners (ESL) are not given the proper education in order to succeed. These ESL programs that are run by the United States Board of Education “overwhelmingly failed to help the estimated 23 million adults in America designated as having Limited English Proficiency (LEP) — including 2.9 million born in the U.S” (Lexington Institute). Test scores are also unfortunately plummeting. According to the IRDA, ESL students have significantly lower test scores than their peers. They also stated that ESL students are twice as likely to drop out of school and to be retained a grade. High school ESL students especially are struggling. Not only are their scores plummeting but their college readiness is abominable. The IRDA also added that “only 8% of ELL students were considered ‘college-ready’ (in math & ELA).”
Taking into consideration the issues that lie within the system, I developed a solution. As a polyglot, language is an important factor of my life. Diversity and culture are also important, which explain my diversified friend group. I know many individuals who are either currently enrolled in an ESL program or have gone through one in the past. I noticed a pattern: their struggle. They felt that their curriculum was lacking in structure and support. They also felt that the system was not teaching them essentials to being successful especially in school in general. Many had a lack of time or lack of knowledge as to how to get additional English aid. I decided that there needed to be a source that can be accessed universally. I created a website that is both desktop and mobile friendly.
“ESL Friendly” joins a plethora of educational resources in one site. ESL Friendly was born out of a simple idea: bringing high quality, accessible and free educational aid to the entire community. Its unique approach to ESL learning makes it a useful resource to everyone. Its interface was designed to be clean and feasible to use for students of all sorts of ages. The resources used within the site go by the US curriculum and aid with learning in an engaging manner. Not only does “ ESL Friendly” help you learn English, but also aids students with vital skills needed in order to be successful in general. Those include aid on how to use Google docs, Microsoft Office, how to set goals, etc. The website also has a blog embedded which allows a community discussion to take place. This not only can enhance their English skills but also their confidence in utilizing English as well. The site helps with vocab, speech, memory, writing, typing, etc.
An engaging and dynamic way of learning has arisen with ESL Friendly. Students are now able to access these educational resources in their time frame of preference. Due to the resources being based on the curriculum, test scores will rise, as well as the usage of the English language. Students will no longer feel the pressure of acquiring a whole new language, but feel a refreshed gasp of air when doing so. The website has been tested by the high school ESL students as well as the Sinclair ESL students.
IRDA. “Education of English Language Learners.” Irda Intercultural Development Research Association, 2013, IRDA.org.
Hill, Alec. “GOV’T FAILING TO TEACH OVER 98 PERCENT OF PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SPEAK ENGLISH.” The Daily Caller, The Daily Caller, 2016, dailycaller.com/2013/07/03/government-esl-programs-ineffective-report-finds/.
Lyons, Dylan. “How Many People Speak English, And Where Is It Spoken?” The Babbel Magazine, 2017,www.babbel.com/en/magazine.