English is the window to a new set of opportunities that normally within the baseball world begins on the baseball field. Knowing that the primary goal is to play and become the next star, a road block to that dream can be the language barrier many young baseball players from Central and South America, as well the Caribbean face while trying hard to become great at the sport they love, which is baseball. On the other side of the globe players from South Korea and Japan are facing the same need when it comes to understanding, and having the ability to hold a conversation in English. As a teacher I am working to open the language window for these players to have the ability to learn English, communicate with teammates, coaches, media reporters, and other people in general. TESOL is that window that can have many different stage scenarios, such as online education setting, traditional classes, and small private lessons in the team clubhouse. There is a major need for players coming from all over the world to play baseball in United States that makes it critical for all involved to do something to teach these players to learn the language, or at least know enough to survive without major struggles. According to McCarter, (2011) No major American sport is as bilingual as baseball. Twenty-seven percent of the opening-day major league rosters were Hispanic, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
When looking at TESOL to be the window that brings people from other countries to speak a language that will for the most part impact their lives positively, the first scenario that comes to mind is the online version of teaching. With today’s technological advances, the home computer becomes a window to the world which enables the user to have the ability to reach people across the globe in search for information. In this particular case, that information is the language and training for many baseball players that lack skills in English. The computer allows the TESOL teacher to interact in many different ways with the student, and gives the instructor the opportunity to transmit the course throughout a period of time, in which both the student and instructor have the ability to use video camera, or pre-recorded video for assessment purposes, or course work interaction. On line education will enable teams and organization to have the ability to introduce the language to young players while they are still in their countries, and serve as a vehicle to teach them basic words that can be greatly beneficial as they integrate into into Western society.
The following scenario that works while teaching and helping baseball players with TESOL and leaning English is the traditional setting of the classroom group work. This brings instructors and students up close, and allows for better interaction. Many times these students are intimidated by the language, and have been afraid of saying things wrong that may set them back, and cause them to a withdraw. At this point it creates a great opportunity for the instructor to pair with the student, and show them the way and direction. The classroom setting offers the opportunity for the instructor to teach English to students, offering core language components which create the opportunity to see and hear the teacher, transforming into something that the student can later mimic and verbalize. It is of vital importance for the baseball players, or any student in particular, to have the presence of the ESL instructor physically present, or be immersed in the language, as they can work together as a team in the language learning process.
The last avenue I will be exploring while teaching TESOL is one to one lessons with individuals that require more time to work with different tasks, or perhaps the confidence level is not as strong as other members of the team, and there is a need to be alone with the instructor during the learning process. The one on one setting allows the instructor and the student to create a bond that can enhance the learning, and help the student advance at a faster pace.
In conclusion, TESOL is the window to unlock a countless number of opportunities for people from different parts of the world wanting to be number one, learn English, and have the ability to communicate effectively with people from English speaking countries. Learning English will also allow them to find not only the average job, but a better job. In this particular case, baseball players that for the most part come from Latin America, will have the opportunity to chose the setting that fits their needs, and more importantly their learning style. This will further enhance their chances to learn more effectively, and begin communicating first with the instructor, and later with teammates and coaches. TESOL is a great opportunity for ESL teachers and baseball leagues to implement ESL programs to strengthen team bonds.
TESOL Viewpoint brings alumni essays on teaching English as a second language. This viewpoint focuses on challenges faced by professional baseball players learning English.
Maxwell, L. A. (2013) ESL and Classroom Teachers Team Up to Teach Common Core. Education Week Journal.
McCarter, M. (2011) Language barrier still remains daunting challenge for Latin American baseball players. AL.COM