English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is an academic discipline that is designed to teach English language learners social and academic language skills as well as the cultural aspects of the English language necessary to succeed in an academic environment and contribute to society. It involves teaching listening, speaking, reading and writing at appropriate developmental and proficiency levels with little or no use of the native language. Courses of study must be carefully articulated K- 12 and must be correlated to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. ESL program models include departmentalized, sheltered, intensive, pull-out and push-in ESL.
Planned instruction in ESL includes listening, speaking, reading and writing at different levels of proficiency (beginning, intermediate and advanced). Standards must be addressed and objectives must be developed for ESL classes at all levels. Therefore, ESL replaces language arts/English instruction. At the secondary level, ESL replaces English classes required for graduation. Tutoring students in the content area or English language arts and reading is not the same as teaching them English as a second language. Placement in speech therapy classes does not constitute an ESL planned program.
The amount and type of standards-based ESL instruction provided to students will depend upon their level of language development and proficiency as determined by an appropriate English language proficiency instrument. The following are recommended amounts of daily instructional time: for non-English speaking student – 2 to 3 hours; beginner – 2 hours; intermediate – 1 to 1½ hours; advanced – 1 hour. Students who have exited the program should be carefully monitored for progress. They may require some support that can be provided two to three times per week.