Looking for Answers

I’ve had the good fortune of being an ESL (and sometimes bilingual) teacher across K-12 since I began teaching in 1996. This has led to many rewarding moments with language learners from all over the world. A little over a year ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and get my masters degree in ELL. While I initially thought it might not be a challenging enough program since I’ve spent the last 15 years in the field, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The field of English language learning has grown incredibly since 1996! While I was on the front lines implementing what I thought was “good ESL practice,” there was a plethora of second language learning research flooding the field that I knew very little about. I can say that I’ve learned more in the last year and a half about teaching ELL students than I ever knew in my previous 15 years of teaching them! What I’ve also learned is that while there is much research now, there are still many unanswered questions. I’m hoping to search for some answers to those questions and perhaps make my own contributions to the field in the process.

In future posts I hope to explore such things as what a good secondary ESL program for newcomers looks like; the difference between first and second generation ELL students and how to meet their unique needs; how we can use the RtI process to improve instruction and progress monitoring of ELL students; what tools and research are available to us for better identification of special needs ELL students; how to improve staff understanding of ELL students’ needs as well as create buy-in that ELL students are everyone’s responsibility, not just the ESL teacher’s. These are only a few of the many ideas and questions I hope to explore.

During my time as a TESOL blogger, I welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions. I don’t consider myself an expert in this field and look to the wealth of knowledge and experience our membership has to offer. Thanks for reading!

About Heidi Casper

Heidi Casper
Heidi Casper has been teaching in the ESL field for about 15 years. She’s had the privilege of teaching all ages of language learners, from kindergarten to seniors in high school. She speaks Spanish, which has been invaluable in building relationships with Spanish-speaking families between home and school. That skill also provided her with the opportunity to spend a short time teaching at a private school in Mexico, as well as to present at an early childhood conference in Costa Rica. What she loves about this field is the opportunity to meet so many fascinating students and families from around the world. She’s certain that she’s learned more from her students over the years than she could have possibly taught them. She is currently working on a master’s degree in ESL and looks forward to sharing her thoughts and experiences with others in the field.
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2 Responses to Looking for Answers

  1. Heidi Casper Heidi says:

    Thanks for the question, Maria! I don’t have a lot of experience in the grant writing field, but I’m pretty sure that foundations and government entities that give away grant money are looking to give it to organizations such as schools or non-profits. I think the chances of getting an individual grant for your idea would be slim without the association of a larger organization behind you. Depending on your area, maybe there is a family resource center nearby that you could partner with? These are non-profits that use grants to provided needed services in a community. If there truly is a need in your community for adult ESL classes, a family center might be interested in filling that gap. Also, you could check with local colleges and community colleges. Often they offer adult ESL classes (although for a price). In one community I lived in, there was a catholic church that had a large Latino population and they offered English classes once a week. That is another place you could check. Basically, if you see a need, find a larger organization to present your idea to that you could partner with. The grant money will be easier to come by then. Let me know if you move forward with your idea!

  2. Maria Miller says:

    Hi. I lived in Costa Rica for about 18 months and realized the difficulty of living in a country where people speak another language. English, I learned there, is the universal language and people are trying their hardest to learn it. I am now back in the United States and see many Mexicans in my neighborhood. I would like to open an ESL school to assist them with the tremendous challenge they decided to undertake. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English and have learned to speak with people who are learning English. I would like to open my own ESL school to assist the people in my neighborhood. There are quite a few, but they don’t have much money. Can I get a grant to open a school and teach people? I would really appreciate your reply!

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