English Language Learner (or ELL) is a common term used in English-speaking countries to describe a person learning English but having a different native language. People often confuse it with English as a Second Language (or ESL). However, there is a difference between the two. ESL is a term referred to as an education program for language learners. Therefore, you can call ELL a student and ESL a class in the simplest terms.
Challenges faced by English Language Learners
The road to reaching advanced skills or fluency by non-English speakers is never easy. They face several challenges; some are avoidable while others are not. Let’s see some main challenges in detail.
Allocation of less time
Generally, students learning on their own allocate lesser time to studies. It means they do not dedicate themselves fully to what they want. However, if you consistently devote 20 minutes daily to learning English, then by the end of, say, six months, you will be able to construct some meaningful sentences.
Lack of goals and objectives.
If you want to succeed in anything, the first step is sitting down and setting a realistic goal. The same is valid for learning a language. Setting an objective enables you to track your progress, stay motivated, and gives you a sense of direction. Without a goal, it is pretty normal for learners to quit their studies halfway because learning a language without a proper strategy keeps getting tedious and complex with time. Research by language academia shows that English is among the most complicated languages to master despite having English speakers almost everywhere. However, it does not mean you have to stop learning it; instead, you should put more effort.
More use of native language.
Most learners prefer using their native language to think & communicate instead of the new language they are learning. If practice makes perfect, the opposite takes away that perfection. Many people might throw stones at me and think that I am against speaking native languages. But what I am trying to put across is that you have to balance the two. As a parent, you can set a timetable like on Mondays the whole house will speak English then the next day, the native language. It will, in the end, boost fluency and change the overall attitude towards English.
Little interaction with English speakers.
For the learners to be more proficient, the best way is to interact with native English speakers. Some words and expressions are best when learned in real life rather than in a class. It is like a functional unit back in school-the more exposure to native English speakers, the better the fluency.
Methods of English language learning.
Today, you can find countless methods & techniques of learning the English language. The most common in schools is the Total Physical Response (or TPR). It is a method where a learner gets simple instructions like sit down, run, jump, etc. It is most efficient for starters as they can link their physical actions to the words attached. Another similar method is Task-Based Learning which involves bringing students to real-life activities and making sure they capture them to do it themselves.
Currently, technology has emerged gracefully and made everything easily accessible. As a result, students can perfect their English skills in the comfort of their homes. After the hit of Covid-19, the world encouraged online learning to minimize contact and limit the spread of the disease. As a result, English learning through online means grew by a higher percentage than the previous years.
Like learning any new language, learning English has its challenges. However, you can easily evade most of them with an intelligent strategy. Personal motivation can change everyone's perspective towards achieving the desired goal. In addition, you have to accept the challenge of lifestyle changes to achieve fluency. Persistence is also essential in learning a skill which means you have to do the same thing more than once to grab the idea behind it.