local college/university employs ESL instructors however there is a problem with the manner in which ESL instructors teach the students. They follow a very linear and singular method of instruction that generates lack of interest in students and decreases student's linguistic ability during class. The literature reviewed will focus on the subject: teaching English as a second language, foundation strategies for teachers in Puerto Rico. The first literature to review is: Factors of Significant Impact on Proficiency Levels of Adult ESL Learners Within Post-Secondary Education in Puerto Rico by Perez. Perez performed a case study in where ESL learners within a four-year university in Puerto Rico were observed and identified as having higher or lower levels of second language proficiency. He determined that students with lower levels of second language proficiency fared worse academically overall. The identification of certain factors that may influence the development of second language proficiency can redefine how ESL is taught through America and Puerto Rico.
In the beginning of the article Perez discusses the difficulties ESL teachers are faced with in instructing ESL learners. "Educational administrators, instructors and curricula specialists are currently faced with a major challenge in addressing the unique needs of ESL learners." (Perez, 2011, p. 1) ESL learners, as discussed by Perez, need a variety of teaching methods in order to allow them room to grow as the language progression develops and opportunities to understand vocabulary in various ways. After all language is made up of vocabulary, grammar, spelling, pronunciation and communication. If one person fails to link a word to a meaning, then the rest of the work becomes more difficult.
The case study shows the need of academic instructors to focus on modifying the ESL program to help students better their academic standing overall. He says the task of developing such a program is complicated. "The process of second language learning requires the development of effective ESL programs, which is a highly challenging task for educators at every academic level." (Perez, 2011, p. 3) But as he later states, the need for improvement is clear. With a majority of 66% attending beginner ESL classes vs. advanced in Puerto Rican universities he demonstrates the vast majority of adult ESL learners exhibit low proficiency levels before enrolling in post secondary institutions in Puerto Rico. Students come into an academic institution with the need for greater assistance in ESL learning than anticipated.
Perez states clearly through various references such as the Matthews-Aydinli study, just how grave the problem is among-st ESL learners. The high rate of drop outs in ESL learners and low rate of academic achievement is also an indicator of how serious the problem is. To help solve the issue, the case study is introduced The purpose of the case study is to begin identifying factors that create low level second language proficiency. "One particular issue that educational researchers have not fully addressed is the impact of extrinsic factors on proficiency levels of second language learners. One extrinsic factor that needs to be examined is the amount of meaningful second language exposure that ESL learners have outside of the learning environment." (Perez, 2011, p. 10) With the results of the case study and the factors determined, ESL programs can begin to modify their curriculum to suit the needs of the ESL learners.
The second literature review is that of Eliseo Alejandro Ortiz, titled: Exemplary English Teachers in Puerto Rico. His paper focuses on a mutli-case study. He uses information from various journals and interviews to determine what it takes to be an exemplary English teachers. In the beginning of the paper Ortiz established the need for Puerto Ricans to learn English in order to obtain success academically and financially. "English and Spanish are recognized official languages of Puerto Rico, and although Spanish is used as the primary language, most Puerto Ricans would agree that in today's global economy, learning English is essential to obtaining academic and financial success." (Ortiz, 2010, p. 1)
Through the data he collected he revealed the nine characteristics and tendencies that make an English teacher exemplary. "The analysis of the data revealed specific characteristics and nine tendencies that distinguish exemplary ESL teachers in Puerto Rico."(Ortiz, 2010, p. 9) These nine characteristics are: Characteristic #1: Adherence to convictions based on a pragmatic-progressive theoretical orientation. This in general means a person whose integrity especially towards education is based on a foundation centered on progressive and constructive thinking. Characteristic #2 is conforming to a social constructiveness orientation toward learning and teaching. Basically a teacher should be aware of a students individual needs when teaching and refrain from generating an informal, uncomfortable atmosphere. Characteristic #3 is participants credit their commitment to their profession and their continuous pursuit of professional development as the main reason for their advancement as exemplary teachers. Exemplary teachers in Ortiz's perspective are teachers who are exemplary for their desire to continually better themselves and achieve high standards.
Characteristic #4 is participants demonstrate l a clear choice for personal and social models of teaching. Characteristic #5 is participants rely first hand experience both personally and professionally as well as practice a varied and different approach to ESL teaching. This as Ortiz shows, yields higher rates of learning among ESL learners. Characteristic #6 is participants' teacher-role and teaching-style can be described as that of facilitator of learning or someone who encourages learning. Characteristic #7 is ability to recognize motivation as a main goal and a key element of successful ESL teaching and learning.
Characteristic #8 is the display of convictions and practices that affirm the importance of effective variables in teaching ESL. A teacher must continually use methods that reinforce the need for improvement and ethical standards. Finally, the last one is characteristic #9. This is mainly about self sufficiency and having an independent spirit.
The third literature is Simultaneous Listening and Reading in ESL: Helping Second Language Learners Read (and Enjoy Reading) More Efficiently by Billy Woodall. This paper is another study investigating the effects of simultaneously reading and listening to the same text on comprehension and fluency gains for basic-level English language learners at a university in Puerto Rico. The students who both read and listened to Charlotte's Web out performed children who simply read the same book. Their quiz scores were marginally better, but still proves various techniques in teaching can be effective.
The beginning of the paper focuses on the lack of research for the premise of the study, reading and listening curriculum at the same time. "From a pedagogical perspective, the question of whether listening might support reading development has been confined mostly to the research on emergent reading in children" (WOODALL, 2010, p. 187) Most of the research, as Woodall states, is limited to an age group or academic level. Woodall uses various sources to reinforce the positive outcome of simultaneous reading and listening. Such examples are Shany and Beimiller's research on students and their doubled capacity in reading from simultaneous reading and listening.
Another way he does this is by introducing an example from Puerto Rico. "Three years ago, the ESL faculty of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, decided to use audio-books to fulfill a listening skills component of the basic ESL track curriculum." (WOODALL, 2010, p. 189) Here he shows marked improvement in the ESL learners through simultaneous reading and listening. The use of pronunciation aids along with discussion of themes and story helped students comprehend better overall not only the language of the book, but also the story itself. This was his basis for the case study.
The case study used the method of filtering out the students based on performance to position them in the appropriate class. One was a control group, the other an experimental group. In order for them to determine success they measured fluency rates. "To measure fluency rates, students completed weekly charts indicating how far they read in 5 minutes; the results were tabulated in number of words per 5 minutes." (WOODALL, 2010, p. 191) From there they determined how well the students performed.
Towards the end of the paper the results showed the benefits of simultaneous reading and listening. "According to these findings, listening while reading appears to have a beneficial effect on comprehension for basic-level L2 learners of English." (WOODALL, 2010, p. 196) For a teacher or a program to create better curriculum they need effective teaching methods. This is proven to be an effective teaching method that engages students and generates increased interest.
The fourth literature is Science content, language, strategy, and technology learning in a university-level ESL classroom by Rosita L. Rivera and Catherine Mazak. Here the authors attempt to generate new and interesting ways for students to retain English in an ESL classroom through the use of technology. "The authors of this paper attempted to solve the problem of remedial or pre-basic English by implementing a content-based, technology-enhanced English curriculum for thirty incoming agriculture students at UPRM. The goal was to investigate how teaching English in this…