Survival English is a term used to talk about the essential English needed by someone in order to survive (live or work) in an English speaking environment.
Survival English should be something only utilized by those traveling on vacation, going to an event, ordering a meal, giving an address to a driver, asking where the bathroom is or simply introducing yourself. It is not enough to make a living and get by everyday life with in the US.
English is an essential for unlocking doors in the US. It is the key to jobs, citizenship, earnings, education, and so much more. It is also beneficial to the second generation that comes in the US. Children born to immigrants who speak English, are able to speak far better English then their parents.
While knowing English is important, demand for classes are very high compared to the amount available. Programs are underfunded, or have teachers with limited training . English language learning can be chaotic, and the field is simply put, neglected.
Today’s immigrants are tomorrow’s citizens, parents, and workers. Settling for Survival English is not enough as it is very limited and the mobility and opportunities that come with it are minimal. English proficiency leads to many things including promotions, college graduates, skilled jobs, and so much more.
As a nation we should have these classes and opportunities available to immigrants that are willing and seeking the benefits of mastering English, not just Survival English but everything beyond that. This also should be the “new norm” for immigrants seeking to come to the US.
It is proven that on average, 300 hours is needed to level up from beginner to intermediate. Since classes move slow, and only meet a few times a week, when people see themselves not making the progress they would like they stop coming. Once Survival English is learned other priorities take over like children, work, and home life.
Community colleges across the US are picking up an idea that was lead in Washington State – classes with 2 teachers and 2 part lesson plans to allow students to improve their English while they earn college licenses or certificates. These types of programs are allowing millions of adults back into the classroom, however, there is still more to be done.
Even some who speak English, and understand English cannot read or write in English. This is the truth in many cases. While some are fluent in what they speak and have learned to completely understand – when comes time to writing or reading they can comprehend what it is that is being asked of them.
While mastering English is not an opportunity everyone will take advantage when they come to the US, it is an opportunity everyone should be offered. In order to live out the American Dream – the English language is one advantage that everyone can have on their side if the resources were available.