Top Reasons for Immigrants and ESL Students to Fully Master the English Language

While the title of this article may seem obvious, it seems that one often neglected topic of ESL is ‘how important is English to the learner?’

Now, when we ask that question, we understand that the intuitive answer is ‘very important’. Otherwise, there would be no purpose for one to commit to the status of being an ESL student in the first place. However, there are different extents to which the English language can be learned. Thus, a better dissection of this question would be to ask, ‘How important is it to gain a mastery of the English language?’  This is personal question that we might ask the student – How important is to to you to learn to speak this language properly and fluently?  We are talking here about motivations behind the learning, as this is the real driving force.

learning english challenges

The Need to Surpass A Tertiary Understanding of English

By this question we are referring to the idea that some ESL learners elect to only gain a tertiary working base of knowledge when it comes to the English language. In other words, they know just enough to be able to communicate with native speakers, get to and from locations, and convey some of their thoughts and ideas, but they do not have a great mastery over the language and they still present many grammatical errors and incorrect sentence structure in their everyday speech.  Is it important that these individuals master the English language or can they just manage with the base of knowledge that they possess?

For those still wondering, the answer is, ‘English fluency or mastery should be very important to the ESL learner’.

english as a second language literacy

The West Favors Speech

In most English-speaking countries, communication defines a lot of relationships between individuals. While in East Asian cultures are more attuned toward nonverbal communication and body movements, most Western nations, which are predominantly English-speaking, tend to place a greater emphasis on the words that are said. Thus, if one wishes to maximize the amount of impact and influence that they have in such a culture, it is in their best interest that they gain a mastery of the English language.

Remove Cultural Bias

Another reason why it is important to master the English language is because it helps to remove a cultural bias. Unfortunately, as mentioned in one of our other articles, those that do not yet have a complete grasp of the English language are often perceived as having inferior intelligence. While this couldn’t be further from the truth in most situations, it doesn’t change the fact that the perception still exists and there are many palpable consequences that follow. Therefore, in order to avoid this unnecessary handicap, it is in the ESL learners best interest to device a way to continually work toward gaining a greater mastery of the English language.

adult esl students challenges and obstacles

Is it fair that such a bias exists in society toward these individuals? Absolutely not. However, as the phrase goes, ‘Life isn’t fair’. So, it’s important to ascertain the situation for what it is and adjust accordingly in order to give one’s self and their respective families the best opportunity possibility to advance.

Agreements and Binding Contracts

Another reason why mastery of the English language is important is because it offers additional protection. In the Western world, just about every agreement that is made between two parties is covered by a written statement of some form. As an ESL learner, if one is active in society in some way, it is inevitable that they will have to enter into one of these agreements. Thus, it is important to have enough of a mastery of the English language in order to be able to at least understand the content of the contract.

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Avoid Exploitation

Once again, the unfortunate reality is that there are many individuals that not only believe that ESL speakers that haven’t yet mastered the English language are of inferior intellect, many also deem them prime targets for exploitation. This means that certain individuals that are aware of the fact that someone does not have a complete command of the English language may take advantage of the opportunity to present a binding contract or agreement that is unfair or presents terms that are different from what was verbally arranged between the two parties.

While we wish that we could say that this is a rare occurrence, it truly isn’t. And as such, it is in the strong interest of any ESL learner to make sure that they have as clear and complete a grasp of the English language as possible before attempting to fully immerse into society.

Navigate Legal Proceedings 

Finally, another reason that is important to have a mastery of the English language is to ensure that one can adequately handle any legal situations if it comes to that. In other words, if an ESL learner finds themselves in a situation where law enforcement is called for a matter that involves the ESL learner directly, their ability to articulate and defend their position could mean the difference between incarceration and freedom.

Therefore, if an ESL learner is every in the unfortunate circumstance where they need to deal with law enforcement directly, they must make sure that they have a complete command of the English language in order to ensure that they receive a ‘fair shake’.

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