B.C.’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programs from kindergarten to Grade 12 will soon be known as English Language Learning (ELL) programs.
Education Minister George Abbott announced the name change last week at a Youth Advisory Day at the Ministry of Education attended by immigrant and refugee youth.
Many youth enrolled in ESL programs already speak multiple languages. They feel that naming the course “ESL” suggests that English is their second
language, when it might be their third or fourth. As well, the name does not reflect or acknowledge their diverse backgrounds and personal circumstances.
The idea of the name change was raised by youth at the Representative for Children and Youth’s 2011 Summit, “Fresh Voices from Long Journeys: Insights of Immigrant and Refugee Youth”, held last month in Vancouver.
Senior Ministry of Education staff attended the two-day event, along with over 120 immigrant and refugee youth.
English Language Learning programs will continue to serve the same educational purpose and functions as the former ESL programs. The goal is to help students become proficient in English, develop as citizens and achieve the expected learning outcomes of the provincial curriculum.