ESL High School Syllabus Example

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

This lesson will provide a sample syllabus that high school English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers could distribute to students to provide them with essential course information.

The Syllabus

The syllabus is an important document for ESL high school students. It includes pertinent information about the course, giving a general overview of what will be learned and how students will be assessed.

The syllabus also provides parents and guardians with teacher and school contacts and other information they will need to help their children be successful during the academic year.

Let's look at some examples of common sections of a high school syllabus for ESL students.

Contact Information

Typically, the first thing found in a high school ESL syllabus is general information about the teacher and how to contact him or her. Some examples of common pieces of information in this section include:

  • The teacher's name, including any co-teachers
  • Name or title of the class (for example, 'ESL for Beginners')
  • Classroom number
  • E-mail address
  • Office phone number, if applicable
  • Any other contact information, such as a website or contact information for the school's bilingual facilitator, if applicable

Course Overview

The course overview introduces students and parents to the basic objectives of the course. Some questions you may want to answer in the course overview include:

  • What will students be learning this year?
  • How will students spend their time learning? Will you use project-based learning, cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, lectures, or some other format?
  • What goals and standards will be met? For example, will students strive to gain proficiency in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking?
  • What are some of the resources and texts that will be utilized? Will they read classic literature, biographies, non-fiction, drama, and poetry?

Textbook and Supplies

It is a good idea to list the title and author of any textbooks that will be used during the course. If students are required to purchase their own books, include information about where to find a copy. Also provide any access codes to supplementary materials that students can access on the Internet.

You can also add a list of supplies that students are expected to bring with them to class, including:

  • Writing utensils
  • Notebook paper
  • Notebooks, folders, or binders for each class
  • Bilingual dictionaries

Some of these materials, such as the bilingual dictionary, are often provided to students during the first week of class. The note on the syllabus serves as a reminder to bring the items to each class.

Course Content and Standards

One of the most important aspects of the ESL high school syllabus is the section about what students will be learning and what content standards will be met throughout the course.

List the titles of the units of study students will engage in. If possible, also include the essential question or focus for each unit. For example:

  • Unit I: Nutrition - How can I help create healthier lunch options in the school cafeteria?
  • Unit II: Early Americans - How did early Americans survive?
  • Unit III: Entrepreneurship - What does it take to open a successful business in my community?
  • Unit IV: Engineering and Physics - How can I design a better bridge?

Also provide a list of content standards that will be met over the course of the year, depending on which standards are used for ESL students in your state and district.

Grading Guidelines

Students and parents will need to know how learners will be assessed in your class, so the grading section is an essential component of any high school syllabus. Some questions to answers in this section include:

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