Immigration reform is inspiring educators to put more emphasis on helping immigrant children to learn English in the classroom. It has been shown by a number of studies that the children of immigrants who do not speak English are a crucial demographic to be spotlighted by educators as their level of understanding of the language will have a huge impact on their grades as well as their options for future careers and their comprehension of socio-cultural expectations.
Different methods are being used by English language teachers in order to fulfill the needs of these students. The learning environment is only strengthened by cultural expression, and enabling students to express and explore their own ethnic identities makes the classroom into a community, helping children to be more comfortable when asking a teacher for guidance. Including the heritage and culture of immigrant students into the classroom strengthens their language skills and helps to create a culture of exploration and acceptance.
ESL (English as a Second Language) classes are starting to put more emphasis on teaching the language that will support the other academic classes being taken by students. Rather than maintaining focus on traditional English, the more effective ESL classes of today are including new curricula designed to assist immigrants who do not speak English to succeed in other areas of school.
ESL teachers are being encouraged to be aware of the academic demands in addition to the linguistic requirements that students will need in order to develop the skills that they require in other academic fields, such as computer science and biology.