ESL Topics for a Research Paper

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As the English language grows and spreads to more parts of the world, the field of English as a Second Language (ESL) is expanding as well. Students studying ESL education can consider several different topics and angles that would serve as good subjects for a research paper.

English Immersion

  • Schools abroad promote immersion as they best way to teach a child to become fluent in English. This may involve employing an English-only rule in the classroom, sending the children to overnight English-only camps or sending them to study English in an English-speaking country. A comparison of these methods to more traditional teaching methods would make a strong topic for a research paper.

Cultural Impact

  • The increase of ESL teachers and classes in other countries has had varying levels of impact on their way of life, cost of living, and in some cases, their native language. Choose three to five countries, preferably from different continents, and write a research paper comparing the ways in which ESL has affected their culture over the last decade.

Home versus Abroad

  • Educators interested in entering the field of ESL have the option of teaching or studying in the United States or abroad. The experience of teaching ESL varies greatly from country to country. Write a research paper comparing the salary, hours, case studies and living aspects of ESL teachers from three to five different locations. Or, write a persuasive essay comparing the details of teaching or studying ESL in the United States to teaching or studying ESL overseas.

ESL Training

  • ESL teachers can earn a variety of degrees and certificates. Some earn degrees in English, linguistic studies or education, while others pursue their Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) certificates, as reflected on the TESOL and CELTA websites. Write a research paper comparing and contrasting these different programs and certificates, including costs, materials and international perceptions.

Specialty ESL

  • A variety of courses aim at teaching English only for a specific purpose, rather than aiming for fluency as a whole. Some professional adults, for example, enroll in Business English courses, which focus on learning appropriate phrases for interviews, emails and meetings. Several different angles would be appropriate for a research paper in this area. One option is to write about the effectiveness of these programs by researching how many students that chose this route were hired for a job as a result (using the Business English as an example). Another is to compare the benefits of a narrowly focused ESL program to a broad ESL program that promotes total fluency.

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