English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are usually nothing like your experiences in high school or university. There is something unique about the ESL classroom and the methodologies that go into making it a success. More emphasis is placed on the student, finding out who they are, what they have done and where they want to go in the future. Lessons are planned around keeping students engaged and having students use the content they are being taught as much as possible and as soon as possible. Feedback is constant and immediate and collaboration with other students is a hallmark of almost every single class.
ESL classes seem to have a way of bringing out the kid in you again. Having fun while learning and taking chances in front of others is encouraged. The role of the teacher as a supportive and facilitating figure is paramount. The teacher is, of course, there to make sure things run smoothly, but mostly they are there to make sure that an atmosphere is created in which you feel comfortable using your new language. The ESL classroom brings together students with a wide range of goals and strengths and the teacher is there to make sure the expectations of each student are met. It is for these reasons that class sizes are usually kept small. Classes of 30 students are unheard of with 10 to 15 being the norm. Students in ESL classrooms are not students in the traditional sense. They are more like important clients and they are treated as such.