Teaching Speakers of English as a Second Language

Silvia Martinez, Ed.D.

February 15, 2007

Video Segments

  1. What are the characteristics of ESL students?
  2. What is bilingualism?
  3. What is language proficiency?
  4. What are the language demands of college courses?
  5. How can teachers help ESL students?
  6. How should teachers assess ESL students work?


While University courses challenge most students, such courses are a daunting challenge for international students who have not mastered English as a second language (ESL). Because standardized admissions tests measure a limited range of communication skills, these students often enter the university with limited proficiency in the communication skills that their courses will demand. As a result, they may struggle to understand lectures, hesitate to speak up in class, labor to keep up with the reading, or submit papers that are riddled with errors. How can faculty assist these students without sacrificing academic standards or devoting too much time to remediation? In this video, Dr. Silvia Martinez, explains how. First, she identifies what experiences ESL students bring to the classroom and what proficiencies the classroom demands. Then she offers strategies for facilitating ESL students’ learning and assessing their performance.