Optimal conditions for ESL student academic success

This page describes the components of a school program that maximises the chances of academic success for ESL students.


Responsibility for the English language development and academic success of ESL students in secondary education is shared by five groups of people. The groups are listed below, together with their particular responsibilities

ESL teachers

ESL teachers are responsible for organizing a suitable programme of studies so that students are given i.) the direct assistance they need to be successful in their mainstream classes, and ii.) optimal instruction to facilitate the development of their English proficiency.

ESL teachers also are responsible for training other faculty in issues concerning the ESL students in their classes, and for advising parents on how they can most effectively support their children.

Mainstream teachers

As well as their responsibility for teaching the content and skills of their subject, mainstream teachers also have an essential role to play in the development of the language proficiency of the ESL students in their classes.

The teachers homepage has links to numerous pages of information and advice on this issue.


Administrators are responsible for ensuring that sufficient resources are made available for effective ESL programmes. They also have an essential role to play in hiring suitable faculty and enabling ESL training programmes for mainstream teachers.

Read what administrators should know.


Parents can provide an great amount of support and assistance to their children, particularly if they are knowledgeable about the most effective ways of facilitating language and subject learning at home.

Go to the parents homepage .


The four groups of people listed above can create the best possible circumstances for English language learning to take place, but the students themselves have to do the work. Good students know who and when to ask for help. Conscientious and attentive students usually learn more quickly.

Go to the learners homepage .


In an ideal school, the adult groups above are empathetic and competent. And the ESL students are given appropriately challenging work and the support they need to accomplish it, both in school and at home.