Lesson 3: Do you know any misconceptions of ENL/ESL Students?

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The participants will be able to clarify at least three common misconceptions and myths of those students which prevents understand the difficulties of ENL/ESL students.

Case Study

Mrs. Watts remembered a suggestion made by the school librarian in the lunchroom when they had been discussion Maria. The librarian had suggested putting Maria on the classroom's computer. The school had purchased a software package designed for ESL learners. Mrs. Watts was welcome to borrow this for Maria to use until she learned enough English to participate in regular class activities (Meskill, 2009).

  • Let's think
   Do you think that Mrs. Watts's decision was practical because Maria is not good enough to be included in their classroom activities?

You will define your answer to this question in "Reflection" below this page after reviewing "Introduction" and "Investigation".


It is a common misconception that ELL students come into school academically behind their English-speaking peers. They may know the material being taught, just not in English. In their native language, they may be at or above grade level, but it can be difficult to gauge their knowledge without adequate resources. Because of this, ELL students are often misplaced in an academic setting, placing them into a lower-level classroom, where they have already learned the material being taught ("5 Struggles for ELL Students, and How We Can Help – Little Sponges," 2017).

This is a typical scenario for ENL/ESL students who first came to the U.S.A. There are more myths and misconceptions of ENL/ESL students. Please click to know what they are.


It is important for you to understand and encourage YOUR ENL/ESL STUDENTS. We will have more detail about this in Lesson 4: How can I support my ENL/ESL students?


Thank you for your participation in Lesson 3! Here are some questions for you to self-assess your understanding.

  • Do you think most ENL/ESL students are born outside of the U.S.?
  • Do you think that ENL/ESL students should not use their native langue to make them learn English faster?
  • If you are asking ENL/ESL students who have low English skills to try regular homework, is it too much?


Go on to Lesson 4: How can I support my ENL/ESL students?

Return to Encouraging Young ESL Students in the USA