Lesson 1: Do you know the challenges of ENL/ESL Students?



The participants will be able to identify at least three major common problems of ENL/ESL students

Case Study

“She has no book, Mrs. Watts remembers. Maria had just come to this class the week before and, because no one was quite sure what to do with her, had been assigned a classroom and a seat, but no materials. A district specialist had tested Maria. She apparently spoke no English. No one seemed to know quite what to do with her” (Meskill, 2009, p.113).

This is a typical scenario for ENL/ESL students who first came to the U.S.A.

  • Let's think
   If you were in the same situation, what do you feel? What kind of challenges will you face?


As not so many teachers have the experience of living in abroad nor being in the community with the second language, it is not so easy for teachers to understand the problems and difficult situations of ESL/ENL students. ESL/ENL students struggle academically for a variety of reasons and this frustration can lead to a lack of motivation.

These are some of the typical challenges that young ESL/ENL students in the U.S.A.


Therefore, it is important for ESL/ENL students to have someone who understands their problems and feeling to encourage their motivations during their difficult situation. Not only the educator but also their parents/guardians’ supports are crucial (we will have more detail about this in Lesson 2: How important for ENL/ESL Students to have someone who understands them?)to motivate ESL/ENL students.


Now it is time for you to think about it…. If you were in Japan as a new English teacher and no one around you would understand your native language.

Can you come up with any struggles that you will face?

  • Let’s see 4 minutes video with a teacher who had this situation.




Go on to Lesson 2: How important for ENL/ESL Students to have someone who understands them?

Return to Encouraging Young ESL Students in the USA