Outside of the benefits of learning ESL, I sustained many challenges related to comprehension of literacy and writing. Upon reflection, many of these challenges included educator teaching style, my own personal learning styles, personal motivation, and frustration when communicating with native English speakers. In this narrative, I will illustrate many of the challenges that I experienced when learning English and compare this to the theoretical literature on ESL studies to determine whether my experiences were unique or aligned with the experiences of other ESL students. It is common for ESL students to have difficulty in the process of engaging with other native speakers in the educational environment. Many ESL students will actually avoid social interactions with those who speak English natively due to ongoing embarrassment related to their poor usage of English. Native speaking students in the classroom have high knowledge of popular culture related to the social environment and ESL students often do not have this knowledge which tends to restrict building social conversations. Therefore discourse is usually related to academic-related discussions that do not build a richness of knowledge related to domestic culture (Troyna, 1993). Therefore, ESL students will often not participate and prefer to work in isolation due to their poor writing and literacy skills. Poerksen (2004) iterated how power is built through the positive discourse that occurs between social actors in a society that builds shared meanings and norms that help one find a sense of identity in society. In my personal experiences, I had considerable trouble with writingEnglish and felt many of the same embarrassments and frustrations which reduced the level of positive interactions with native-speaking students.
The Benefits of Learning English