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The overlap between adult literacy and ESOL. Anne McKeown 29 March 2011. Convergence. UK context, reflected in other countries How and in what ways have literacy and ESOL come together? Why? What is distinct to literacy or ESOL? What does it mean for practice?. Historical context.

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convergence
Convergence
  • UK context, reflected in other countries
  • How and in what ways have literacy and ESOL come together?
  • Why?
  • What is distinct to literacy or ESOL?
  • What does it mean for practice?
historical context
Historical context
  • Different literacy and ESOL (ESL) student groups
  • Taught separately and by different teachers
  • Different aims / focus of provision
  • Of little interest to policy makers
over simplified views
Over-simplified views
  • Reality more complex
  • Shared principles – language and literacy practice in relevant and meaningful contexts
  • Mediated by teacher beliefs, experience, education
  • Regional variation - urban/rural settings
skills for life strategy 2001
Skills for Life strategy 2001
  • Response to Moser report (1999) on low levels of basic skills (literacy and numeracy)
  • ESOL included in 2000
  • Investment in literacy, numeracy and ESOL provision
  • New standards and qualifications for learners
  • New standards and qualifications for teachers
skills for life 2001 2010
Skills for Life 2001- 2010
  • Expansion of provision and providers
  • FE, adult education, workplace, offender learning, community settings
  • Free tuition
  • ESOL classes over-subscribed
  • From 2007 removal of free tuition for ESOL, except for those receiving identified benefits
  • Increased emphasis on skills for employment
post skills for life 2010
Post-Skills for Life 2010 -
  • Literacy and numeracy still a government priority – economic imperative
  • Proposed removal of free tuition for ESOL in 2011 for all but a few on “active job-seeking benefits”
  • ESOL in the workplace not funded - employers expected to cover full cost
  • About 70% current ESOL students not eligible, 75% women http://hackneypost.co.uk/?p=4727
  • ESOL linked negatively with integration, social inclusion (or lack of inclusion)
invisible esol and literacy
Invisible ESOL and literacy?
  • ESOL students taking literacy qualifications
  • Introduction of new Functional English qualifications, more rigorous assessment at L1 and L2, could be either literacy or ESOL, measure competence on skills
  • ESOL students on numeracy courses
  • ESOL and literacy learners on employability and other vocationally-focused courses
literacy and esol learners
Literacy and ESOL learners
  • Traditional distinctions challenged for quite some time
  • Bilingual learners with both literacy and general language needs
  • Placement in literacy or ESOL not a comfortable fit
  • Linguistic factors – oral fluency
  • Non-linguistic – cultural and contextual knowledge, education background
ismail s story
Ismail’s story
  • Ismail is from Somalia and has been in the UK for 12 years, since his early teens. His spoken English is fluent, and he speaks with a Somali-London accent... He mixes in a multicultural multilingual group of young people, using English as a lingua franca.
  • Ismail had an interrupted education in Somalia due to the civil war. He arrived in England speaking hardly any English and writing none. However, within a year he was fluent and he left school with 4 GCSEs, although the teachers had not been optimistic about his chances:

Simpson and Cooke (2008)

ismail
Ismail
  • Some of the teachers …were predicting me like I’m not going to leave with no grades. My head of year. For the first of all they were saying this guy is going to leave with no grades. And he was shocked. Four GCSEs. (Laughs)
placement in literacy or esol
Placement in literacy or ESOL?

On leaving school, Ismail eventually got voluntary work which required him to write a report, so he decided to go back to study. He was eventually enrolled in an Entry 3 ESOL Literacy class in the ESOL department of a further education college.

multilingual britain
Multilingual Britain

Learner Profile – ESOL landscape in London 2009

170 languages spoken

610,000 Londoners with no qualifications

1 in 5 Londoners literacy levels below that expected of 11 year old

(employment rate 45%)

Refugee employment rate 33%

Heterogeneous group with complex needs and

barriers to progression

Huge need at pre-entry level – generally

From London Development Agency data 2009

research study of learners attending adult literacy classes
Research study of learners attending adult literacy classes

Classes across England

  • 341 learners participated
  • 30% did not have English as a first language
  • 85 learners reported 44 different first languages between them
  • Found many learners in literacy classes who might have been better placed in ESOL

Grief, S., Meyer, B., Burgess, A. (2007) Effective Teaching and Learning: Writing. London: NRDC

placement challenges
Placement challenges
  • Geographical location or time availability
  • Self-identified literacy or ESOL
  • Progression from ESOL to literacy?
  • Teacher and learner attitudes to literacy and ESOL
  • Literacy is more “mainstream”
  • Funding issues - need for vertical progression through the SfLlevels, ESOL not free
esol learners with low levels of literacy in their first language
ESOL learners with low levels of literacy in their first language
  • Very diverse backgrounds and learning needs of people in ESOL provision
  • ESOL Effective Practice Project – data from 40 ESOL classes and 509 learners countries
  • More than 10% reported they could not read or write in their first language

Baynham et al 2007 Effective Teaching and Learning ESOL, London: NRDC

esol basic literacy
ESOL basic literacy
  • Generally placed in low level ESOL classes
  • ESOL teachers may / may not have trained in supporting basic literacy
  • Learners may have specific needs

“…learners of basic literacy in ESOL face different challenges to those of English born or schooled adult literacy learners, Though they may speak some English, they will not have the instinctive knowledge of English syntax, vocabulary or idiom that people reading their mothertongue would have and will not always have the cultural awareness needed to understand texts.”

Spiegel and Sunderland p.17

pedagogical approaches in literacy and esol
Pedagogical approaches in literacy and ESOL

From the curriculum documents:

Relevant learning contexts

Integrate text, sentence and word level

Practice varies.

professional development
Professional development

Guidance on application of the teaching standards to literacy and ESOL, produced by Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), Sector skills council for lifelong learning

Understand how language varies and changes and how this influences language and literacy use.

Analyse the phonological features of language

understand how language varies and changes and how this influences language and literacy use
Understand how language varies and changes and how this influences language and literacy use
references
References

DfES (1999) A Fresh Start: The Moser report. DfES

  • DfES (2001) Adult Literacy Core Curriculum. DfES
  • DfES (2001) Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. DfES
  • Simpson, J., Cooke, M., Baynham, M. (2008) The Right Course London NRDC
  • Grief, S., Meyer, B., Burgess, A. (2007) Effective Teaching and Learning Writing London NRDC
  • Baynham,M., Roberts, C., Cooke, M., Simpson, J., Ananiadou, K., Callaghan, J., McGoldrick, J., Wallace, C. (2007) Effective Teaching and Learning ESOL London NRDC
  • Spiegel,M. and Sunderland, H. (2006) Teaching basic literacy to ESOL learners LLU+
  • LLUK (2009) Literacy and ESOL: shared and distinctive knowledge, understanding and professional practice London LLUK
questions
Questions
  • How far is there overlap between literacy and ESOL?
  • What are the issues for learners’ placement / funding
  • What are the issues for teacher education?