Challenges and Obstacles New ESL Learners Should Expect to Face

If someone is a newly minted ESL learner, there are a lot of things that they are probably wondering about the process and the things that come with it.

adult esl students challenges and obstacles

For instance, there are different timeframes for when an ESL student / learner should expect to be able to gain command of verbal fluency, reading ability, and writing ability.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things that one can expect as they move forward in their journey as an ESL student and some of the hurdles and obstacles that one may face in their journey.

Challenge #1 – It will be a while before you’re anywhere close to fluent in the language.

This is probably the most defeating part of the entire process of learning English. If you’re an ESL learner or you know one, it is best to convey the understanding that it will take a significant amount of time before one even gains the semblance of fluency in the language.

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English is full of idiomatic expressions, weird grammatical rules and exceptions to those weird rules that make learning the language a difficult feat for most individuals attempting to learn the language. The most important thing to remember, however, is repetition. Like all things, the more one practices the English language, the better they will become at it over time.

Expect to take at least a few months before really being able to communicate coherently with other individuals.

#2 – Reading and writing are skills that must be developed in a mutually exclusive fashion.

While verbal communication, reading, and writing are all interconnected through the language of English, they each have their own nuances and play on different aspects of the English language. Thus, it is important for those that are ESL learners to understand that each facet of the English language requires one to dedicate a specific amount of time to learning and mastering.

english as a second language literacy

As stated in our other articles, we recommend that one get an understanding of verbal communication first before proceeding to any of the other categories of the English language.

#3 – There will be a lot of mess-ups in the beginning.

When an ESL student gets to the point that they finally feel comfortable enough attempting to communicate with others, it is more than likely that they are going to make a lot of mistakes in the beginning.

esl fluency problems

Unless the individual is a super genius of some sort, there will probably be verb tenses that don’t agree with the subject and a host of other grammatical errors. For any ESL learner that wishes to gain mastery of the language, it is absolutely essential that the individuals around them correct any and all grammatical mistakes that they end up making. This is important because most native-English speakers will be able to decipher what an ESL student is trying to convey to them, even if there are a host of errors in their speech.

Thus, an ESL student may be under the impression that they are doing a great job when they are in fact not doing well at all at communicating in the English language.

#4 – It’s a never-ending process.

Even for those that are native-English speaking people, the process of learning and mastering the English language is a process that continues throughout one’s life. There is almost always a way to improve one’s writing or reading techniques and their verbal communication.  

esl frustrations

Because of this fact, it is important that ESL learners gain the ability to set appropriate benchmarks for themselves in order to gauge their progress and determine when they have mastered the English language to the point that they no longer need to enroll in supplementary classes. If they fail to do so, then they may stay in these classes longer than necessary because they are still attempting to reach a goal that is ‘impossible’ for most to obtain.

#5 – Work ethic determines speed of acquisition.

It doesn’t matter how much money one pays for their resources or what places they decide to consult individually, if they do not make a concerted effort to learn the language, then the process will take exponentially longer than it should.

ways to improve at english

A big part of learning the English language is dependent upon one’s work ethic and the amount of dedication they are willing to put into its acquisition. Those that decide to make a concerted daily effort to learn the English language will reap the biggest rewards while those that fail to do will find themselves eternally struggling to gain a sufficient grasp of the language. That is not to say that it isn’t important for ESL learners to consult the appropriate resources as this also makes a substantial difference as well. However, the most important factor will be one’s individual work ethic.

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