Understanding the Misunderstood: An Insight into the ESL Student

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture, Texas A & M University, USA

2 College of Education and Human Development, Texas A & M University, USA


English is now considered a global language used for communication in diverse settings and between interlocutors with different linguistic and cultural background (Eslami, 2013). As a result, there are increasingly more culturally and linguistically diverse students learning English for social, economic, and educational purposes. This diversity can be overwhelming to teachers, particularly those that have not had meaningful interactions with people different from themselves and for those ill prepared to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners (CLDLs) (Arias & Poyner, 2001). The lack of teacher preparation for second language student requires further investigation and examination if we are to create institutions of learning that are equitable and fair for all. This paper addresses the challenges that English as a Second Language (ESL) students face in English dominant countries such as the United States. We also provide research-based instructional suggestions for teachers to address the needs of CLDLs. To this end, the tenets of culturally responsive teaching are also discussed. The review has implications worldwide for teaching English to the culturally and linguistically diverse while validating the students’ first language and culture.