144. I am sorry I missed your class. I am the facilitator for the EAST program at a High School and here are my questions: How can we integrate the goals of EAST (self-directed learning, problem solving, communication, teamwork, using technology, self-confidence) with the goals of ESL?
As I try to categorize the EAST goals, I find many common objectives for EAST and ESL. Basically, ESL is a program especially designed to promote communication, in other words, English language acquisition and development. Thus, EAST and ESL share a major emphasis in promoting interaction through language, communication through language.
Knowledge of a language implies knowledge of the culture associated with that language. In ESL we emphasize cultural awareness and knowledge of the culture of the second language, English in this case. By emphasizing the culture of the second language --English-- we are helping ESL students develop self-confidence in their ability to appreciate, recognize and adapt to a new culture; and we are helping ESL students develop problem solving skills since we are teaching them the new cultural behaviors that will help them function successfully within a new country and a new culture.
As ESL students master English and new cultural patterns of behavior associated with the new culture they are experiencing by living in the USA, ESL students will find many similarities --and many differences-- between their own culture and the new culture they are learning. Teamwork is a very strong cultural behavior in many cultures, especially within the Hispanic culture where families and groups are emphasized. The use of technology tends to be a very strong feature of the culture in the USA. Many ESL students need to learn, in the ESL class, about the use of many technological devices which are standard features of many schools, homes, businesses, etc. Similarly, with self-direction, or self-directed learning. Many cultures tend to emphasize group direction, learning from the group and with the group. The Hispanic culture tends to value human interactions in groups as a means to learning. American culture values individual self-direction, especially in learning.
Thus, it should be very easy to integrate the goals of EAST with the ESL goals. Some goals are the same: communication, including the culture associated with the second language; self-confidence and problem solving skills, both resulting from mastery of the second language and the second culture. For Hispanic students, teamwork is a goal already mastered within their own culture. Some goals need to be taught: the use of technology and self-direction in learning.