The absence of ESL students’ voices in education

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Yeonjung (Judy) Lee


Canada’s classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse with a fast-growing school population of students whose first language is not English. They are English as Second Language (ESL) students; each pupil is an English Language Learner (ELL). Since 1990, the number of students identified as needing ESL services in British Columbia has more than tripled. These students face challenges in keeping pace academically and learning a new language. The challenge is especially great when students are placed in mainstream English-language classrooms before they develop their language proficiency. With its focus on the development of academic skills, the ESL curriculum may not be providing enough support to help ELLs fully participate in mainstream English classes. The lack of support will result in unequal access to high-quality learning opportunities and cultural gaps within schools. English language learners (often referred to as ESL students) may become marginalized and may prematurely reach a plateau in their English acquisition.


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How to Cite
Lee, Y. (Judy). (2014). The absence of ESL students’ voices in education. SFU Educational Review, 5.