English as a Second Language

ESL programs

How are English Language Learners supported in school?

The type of support a student will receive to promote their English language learning will depend on several factors, including the student’s English proficiency level.

There are two programs that support English language learners:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) for students with age-appropriate literacy skills in their first language.
  • English Literacy Development (ELD) for students who have significant gaps in schooling and first language needs along with their English language learning needs.

Students typically develop social language skills in English, within one to two years. Academic language however can take more than seven years. As a result, students will receive support in their learning for many years.

Students who are English Language Learners should receive ESL/ELD program support until they have the level of English required to learn effectively in English with no ESL/ELD support. The decision to discontinue ESL/ELD support is made by the principal, in consultation with the student, parents/guardians, and ESL/ELD and classroom teachers.

Elementary School

All teachers support the English language learning of a student, as well as their subject learning, in the classroom. Students may also receive the following additional supports:

  • Support from an ESL/ELD teacher in the subject classroom.
  • Tutors – provided several times a week to small groups by an ESL teacher.
  • Replacement language program provided by the ESL/ELD teacher.

In elementary school, a student’s English language level will not change what grade they are placed in.

Secondary School

Teachers can provide accommodations or modify curriculum expectations to support students. Additional supports may include:

  • ESL/ELD courses – Often combined with another course
  • Individual help on a tutorial/resource basis

Students should speak with guidance counsellors about course selection and pathways, postsecondary and career goals with the support of ESL consultant or ESL Itinerant teacher.

When looking at graduation requirements, students may substitute up to three ESL or ELD courses for compulsory English credit requirements. The remaining English credit shall be chosen from one of the compulsory English courses offered in Grade 12.

Adult Learning

Additional supports for English Language Learners are considered to students under the age of 21 through Continuing Education.

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