About Monica Wiesmann-Hirchert

Monica has been teaching ESOL/EFL for 16 years - both in Brazil and in the United States. She taught EFL to adults and business executives in Brazil as well as trained other EFL professionals. Monica has been working with international students in the United States for 8 years; she prepares this student population to enol in academic programs at English speaking colleges and universities. While in Brazil, Monica was the pedagogical coordinator of a large language institute and responsible for selecting and training new EFL instructors, designing business English courses, & administering the University of London proficiency exams. Currently, Monica is coordinating an IEP (Intensive English Program) at a 2-year college in Florida. She is responsible for designing and implementing curriculum, selecting and training ESOL faculty, administering the Institutional TOEFL test, and student counseling and advising.

Curriculum Standards

The number of non-native English speaking students in the United States has increased drastically in the past years. According to the 1998/1999 Florida Department of Education ESOL report, there were limited English proficiency students (LEP) from 53 countries and 49 different languages in this writer’s county. Despite of the ever-growing ESOL population, national ESOL standards are still quite unclear for parents and some educators.

The NCTE – National Council of Teachers of English – Website clearly states the national standards for the English language arts. Nevertheless, standards for K-12 ESOL are not specifically addressed. Students whose first language is not English are mentioned in item number 10 of the standards’ list, which states that non-English speaking students make use of their first language to develop competency in the English language arts and to develop understanding of content across the curriculum. The vision guiding these standards is that all students must have the opportunities and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life’s goals and to participate fully as informed, productive members of society.
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Developmental Trends

This writer teaches English to speakers of other languages and therefore has decided to critique articles discussing the linguistic development of non-English speaking students and studies of second language acquisition.

Much research has been conducted on linguistic development and second language acquisition. Nevertheless, the ever-present conclusion of this research seems to be the fact that complexity is a determining factor.

The range of beliefs and definitions of second language acquisition is as diversified as the population researched. As the number of children entering early childhood education programs with limited English proficiency increases, the need to know how to access these children’s language development also increases. Understanding children’s language development can be a daunting task due to the fact that second language learners come from different cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds.
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