chapter  26
5 Pages

ESOL Revisited

Friday Focus! February 18 [Academic language is] the phonology, vocabulary, grammar, se-

mantics, pragmatics, and discourse (formal thought patterns) of Eng-

lish across all four language skills-listening, speaking, reading, and

writing-increasing in cognitive complexity across each subject area

with each succeeding grade level. Developing proficiency in aca-

demic language thus means catching up and keeping up with native

speakers for eventual successful academic performance at second-

ary and university levels of instruction-a monumental achievement.

(Collier, 1995) I feel that this quote from Virginia Collier (1995) a decade ago still helps explain how it can take between 7 and 10 years to acquire academic English. As ESOL teachers, Mary Ann and I are required by the state to present an annual presentation to teachers for professional development. Each year, our presentation includes the fact that it takes a minimum of years to acquire the language needed to succeed in school. Each year, I wonder how many teachers may be rolling their eyes at this piece of data. It seems a little long, don’t ya think?!? It certainly seems that a student learns enough language to understand what is going on around him or her within a couple of years if that student really wants to. I understand. Then I remember