Progress through the ESL Literacy Benchmarks is likely to be as varied as the learners and significantly affected by factors, such as age, effects of emotional trauma, motivation, experience with formal education, and similarity of the first language to English. However, because of the additional learning burden - ESL Literacy students are learning literacy skills and developing new physical skills in addition to learning English language skills - progress is often more slowly achieved.
Progress may not be steady and fixed. Interruptions in learning and extended periods of time between re-encountering newly-learned concepts and skills can require
a re-introduction and practice. Inconsistency in performance from day to day is not uncommon.
It is also not uncommon for students to move in and out of ESL Literacy and mainstream ESL classes from time to time. Beginning ESL Literacy students may develop sufficient literacy skills that they are able to move into a regular ESL class. However, if their oral skill development out-paces their literacy skill development, they may feel more comfortable moving into an ESL Literacy class again for a period of time.
Some Learner Profiles
The following profiles represent learners at different stages along the ESL Literacy _ ESL continuum
Learner Profile 1
Jorge is a 41 year old from El Salvador who has been in Canada five months. He worked as a farmer in his country. He went to school for six years as a child, although his attendance was irregular due to the school's distance from his village and his need to work on the family farm seasonally. As an adult, he never felt comfortable reading or writing and relied on others in the community to do it for him.
He has a basic vocabulary of sight words in Spanish, which he can read when they are in isolation. He is not comfortable writing much more than his name. He has basic numeracy skills of counting, adding and subtracting, all of which he does in his head.
Since his arrival in Canada, he has picked up some survival English words and phrases. His English is completely oral: he cannot read or write English.
Canadian Language Benchmarks www.language.ca
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