How to Choose the Best ESL Program
ESL program or English as a Second Language program aims to teach English to non-native English speakers who want to become confident in using the language.
It can become very difficult to choose the best ESL program precisely because it has many features and is offered in so many places around the world.
Below are some tips for choosing the most suitable ESL program for each learner of English as a Second Language.
Researching for the High-Quality ESL Program
It is important to research thoroughly about an ESL program at least six months before the target start of ESL lessons.
An allowance of six months is just right as the ESL learner would need to thoroughly research about the following in an ESL program:
- course modules
- ESL school certifications and quality standards
- ESL school ownership and management
- ESL school policies
- instruction methods
- requirements for enrollment
The importance of researching about an ESL program cannot be overemphasized.
This is because research would let the ESL learner decide on the best ESL program for him or her.
It will also allow the ESL learner to get first-rate training, save money, reduce culture shock that typically comes when living in another country, and learn how to manage himself or herself upon arriving in the country where the ESL program is held.
Ask About the Teachers in the ESL Program
Teacher credentials are very important so ESL learners must ask about them thoroughly.
This is because the credentials of ESL teachers are an indication of the quality of teaching they can deliver.
If the credentials are not impressive, then it could be a warning signal that the teachers cannot impart quality education.
Some the questions to ask about the credentials of teachers in an ESL program are:
- What is the experience of the teachers in terms of teaching ESL?
- Do the teachers have TESL, TESOL, CELTA or other related ESL certifications?
- Have they earned their bachelor’s degrees?
- How do the teachers teach slow learners?
- How do they teach fast learners?
Ask About the School Offering the ESL Program
The quality of the school offering the ESL program can be another indication of the quality of training that an ESL learner would get from it.
Because of this, it is very important to ask about the school’s management, standards, and tuition.
Some of the questions that may be asked include:
- Who manages the school?
- Can the manager speak English and other languages?
- How does the manager ensure the quality of the ESL program?
- How much is the school tuition?
- What is covered in the tuition?
- What is not covered?
- How can the school tuition be paid?
- What are the grounds on which students can refund his or her payments for the school tuition?
- How much refund can be received and when?
Ask About the Classes in ESL Program
It is rather important to ask about the classes in an ESL program.
This is because the ESL learner is likely to receive all the English lessons he or she would get throughout the duration of the program inside the class.
For example, if a class is too big, then the teacher might be too short-handed to address the learning needs of each student.
If a class is small, then in it might mean that the teacher could have the time to spare for helping each student learn.
Some questions to ask about the class in an ESL program include:
- What is the maximum number of students allowed in each class?
- Do the students in each class belong to the same English proficiency level – beginner, intermediate, advance, and master?
- What are the policies inside the classroom?
- What would happen to students who break the rules?
- Do students need to speak only English in the class?
Ask About Homestay in an ESL Program
A learning center that has an ESL program usually provides for the homestay for its students.
Some of the questions to ask the school about homestay include:
- Where is the homestay located?
- How near is it to the school, hospital, police station, market, transportation terminals, and airport?
- How safe is the place where the homestay is located?
- Can I change the homestay should I find something undesirable in it?
- Do the people in the homestay speak English?
- Do I get to sleep alone in a room or will I share the room with other people?
- Are phones and internet connections available in the homestay?
- What types of foods are served?
This by no means a complete list of questions to ask about an ESL program.
ESL learners must ask other questions related to the program’s English tests, ESL books, course modules, insurance, ESL curriculum, student visas, and location of the school that offers ESL program.
Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista
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