This paper discusses a listening initiative aimed at assisting newly arrived ESL adolescents to meet the sociolinguistic challenges they faced in an Australian school. Proponents of a mainstream approach to ESL learning maintain that immersing students into age appropriate classrooms with native speakers provides superior opportunities for ESL students to those of a language school. Listening to native speaking peers is viewed as a way to accelerate sociolinguistic learning. Yet the school where this study took place acknowledged that many of the ESL students were quickly marginalized rather than supported within the school environment, and their academic success was erratic. A listening based initiative was introduced to raise awareness of pragmatics, the knowledge of meaning in context. Observed instances of communication analysed in this paper typify those likely to isolate ESL adolescents in their early years of mainstream secondary school. Furthermore, the positive impact of the outlined peer listening intervention on social inclusion as a precursor of significant language development is demonstrated. This case study has curriculum and welfare implications relevant to schools offering ESL students mainstream education.
Field of Research
130207 LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl Maori)