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Working with Literacy-Level Adult English Language Learners. April 23 and 24, 2007 Abromson Center, University of Southern Maine Portland, Maine Lynda Terrill Technical Assistance and Web Coordinator CAELA, Washington, DC. Overview. Agenda Objectives Introductions Warm-up.

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working with literacy level adult english language learners

Working with Literacy-Level Adult English Language Learners

April 23 and 24, 2007

Abromson Center,

University of Southern Maine

Portland, Maine

Lynda Terrill

Technical Assistance and Web Coordinator

CAELA, Washington, DC

overview
Overview
  • Agenda
  • Objectives
  • Introductions
  • Warm-up

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

objectives
Objectives
  • Understand the importance of learner needs assessment for developing effective lessons for literacy-level adult English language learners.
  • Enhance knowledge of the diverse linguistic, cultural, social, and educational backgrounds of adults in literacy- and beginning- level adult ESL classes.
  • Identify and begin to develop activities that may promote communication, reading, and writing among literacy-level learners in their classes and programs.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

objectives cont
Objectives, cont.
  • Investigate project-based learning as a process that can integrate language learning and real-life needs, goals, and interests.
  • Develop or expand the practitioner network by sharing lessons, challenges, reflections and resources related to working with adult English language learners in Maine.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

who are the literacy level learners
Who are the literacy-level learners?

Literacy-level learners are generally those with

  • 6 or fewer years of education in native country
  • Need focused instruction on learning to read and write English
  • Diverse backgrounds
  • Wide range of oral skills
  • May have experienced trauma (which may affect the speed with which they learn English)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

learners in literacy classes
Learners in literacy classes
  • Preliterate
  • Nonliterate
  • Semiliterate
  • Nonalphabet literate
  • Non-Roman alphabet literate
  • Roman-alphabet literate

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

strengths of literacy level learners
Strengths of literacy-level learners

We need to be careful in looking at undereducated adults, however. They may be beginning learners, but they are not beginning thinkers. They have budgeted their time and resources, handled everyday survival needs for themselves and their families, and solved the myriad of problem which face any adult. We need to recognize their abilities as adults we while we provide opportunities for them to acquire basic English skills.”

What Non-Readers or Beginning Readers Need to Know: Performance-Based ESL Adult Literacy by Shirley Brod, Spring Institute for International Studies, 1999 (p. 5-6)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

what is culture
What is culture?

“…a system of beliefs, values, and assumptions about life that guide behavior and are shared by a group of people. It includes customs, language, and material artifacts. These are transmitted from generation to generation, rarely with explicit instructions.”

Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understandingby Paul Coverdell (n.d)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

advice
Advice
  • Give refugees and immigrants time to adjust to their new situations
  • Look for the individual qualities of each learner
  • Respect the knowledge, skills, and experiences of the refugees and immigrants you work with.
  • Learn about values outside your own culture
  • Investigate and find information you need
  • Remember that we are more alike than we are different

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

refugee and immigrant learners in maine
Refugee and immigrant learners in Maine
  • Somalis
  • Somali Bantu
  • Sudanese
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

Challenges, successes, and solutions

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

learner needs assessment
Learner Needs Assessment
  • Needs assessment is a continual process that takes place throughout the instructional program (Beginning, during, end, future planning)
  • Needs assessment influences
    • Placement
    • Materials selection
    • Curriculum design
    • Teaching approaches
    • Teacher training

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

learner needs assessment further purposes
Learner Needs Assessment: Further Purposes
  • Assures a flexible, responsive curriculum rather than a fixed, linear curriculum (solely) determined ahead of time by instructors or administrators
  • Provides information to the instructor and learner about what the learner brings to the course, want and needs from the course and for the future, and what the learner accomplishes in the course

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

needs assessment in the classroom
Needs Assessment in the Classroom

Information grid

Topic selection

Priority cards

Vote with your feet

Brainstorming: Learner-generated list; mind mapping

Questionnaires: Learners’ needs and goals

Timelines

Dialogue Journals

Inventories of language and literacy use

Other?

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

examples information grid initial
Examples: Information Grid, initial

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

information grid throughout
Information Grid: Throughout

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

individual goal setting process
Individual Goal-Setting Process
  • Mirrors and enhances the benefits of class needs assessment
  • Uses what we know about how adults learn
  • Provides a way to addresses individual needs in large classes
  • May increase learner motivation and confidence
  • May increase learner input outside of class
  • Provides a holistic and real-life assessment of learner and program gains

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

goals definitions
Goals: Definitions

A goal is a wish that your heart makes. A goal is a dream with a deadline (Meta Potts, email correspondence 10/12/98)

The end toward which effort is directed. (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary)

Goals are expected learning outcomes given the needs and abilities of learners, the types of educational/tutoring services provided, and the designated time periods assigned for goal attainments (Goal Attainment Scaling)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

goals definitions19
Goals: Definitions

A goal is a short-term learning objective that can be realistically be accomplished within one instructional cycle, i.e. 4-15 hours per week over 12 weeks. (REEP)

Achievement, purpose, winning, career, being an expert, reaching, dreams and wishes (REEP learners, 10/98)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

activities to promote communication
Activities to promote communication
  • What the research suggests
  • What practical experience suggests
  • Strategies
  • Activities

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

activities to promote reading and writing
Activities to Promote Reading and Writing
  • What the research suggests
  • What practical experience suggests
  • Strategies
  • Activities

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

overview of day 2
Overview of Day 2

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

class description
Class Description
  • Proficiency level
  • Class hours weekly
  • Open or managed entry (length of course)
  • Number of learners in class
  • Setting
  • Access to computers/internet
  • Results of class needs assessment/learner goal-setting
  • Description of the class (age, culture, gender, religion, educational background and expectations; alphabet, years in the United States, special needs, etc.)
  • More

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

one literacy level class
One literacy-level class

Literacy Level #1

Most of the class has less than 6 years of education in native country. Several had attended schools where the focus was mainly on memorizing the Koran. The learners are mostly young, single men. All learners speak the same native language.

The needs assessment shows that most of the class wants to concentrate on speaking even though many in class have trouble with filling out even basic forms

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

one literacy level class cont
One literacy-level class, cont.

A few of the learners—undocumented, mostly migrant agricultural workers—may not stay in the area long. Some have questions about how to get a green card.

Approximately 12 enrolled in class, non-intensive (4 hours a week), and open enrollment

No access to computers/internet

Mixed setting (draws learners from rural and suburban areas)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

activities or project framework
Activities or Project Framework

Use the class description,

Add

  • Topic/Theme
  • Content Focus 
  • Language Focus (reading, writing, speaking,listening
  • Objectives
  • Activities
  • Resources
  • Evaluation

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

a framework for project work
A framework for project work
  • involves the learners in choosing the focus of the project and in the planning process.
  • engages learners in activities where they need to acquire new information that is important to them.
  • has clearly articulated outcomes.
  • incorporates self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and teacher evaluation.
  • enhances the development of real-life skills.

From: Project Based Learning and Assessment: A Resource Manual for Teachers, Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP),Arlington Public Schools, 1997(ERIC No. ED 442 306)

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

project framework cont
Project framework, cont.

A project:

  • builds on previous work.
  • integrates the four skill areas-speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • incorporates collaborative team work, problem-solving, negotiating and other interpersonal skills.
  • challenges learners to engage in independent work.
  • challenges learners to authentically use English in new and different contexts outside the class.
  • develops life-long learning strategies.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

what one learner said
What one learner said

One of the purposes of the education that schools provide is to enable students to live in their society. Schools can not ignore what is going on in real life. Today students are tomorrow workers and they must be ready to succeed in their lives. What does this have to do with the oral presentations we do at CEC? Let’s see. First of all, I’ll tell you that I like the idea of doing this kind of work. It’s difficult, I know, but it is also useful for every student. You have to make use of your English in a different way than fill a grammar exercise. You have to use your English in a real context: Giving information to other people. You will have to do this thousand of times in your life, so doing this at school is not a sad idea. But not only this, you have to learn how to with your partner. Live is not only competition, but also cooperation. Besides you can not stay all your life hidden behind a desk. One day, your opportunity arrives and you have to jump. I’ll be useful if you are ready to face your chances.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

rita cont
Rita, cont.

As to the students who will listen to us, this a way of telling then that they will be also to do the same in a not so distant future. Maybe they are going to fall asleep if our presentation is boring, but even thought

They will have learned a lesson: “This not the way to do this, when my turn arrives, I will do it better”.

I applaud to schools who are concerned about real life and, in this way, I applaud to the idea of doing this difficult, hard, make-you-nervous…but useful presentations.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

bring the parts together
Bring the parts together
  • Needs assessment
  • Literacy-level learners
  • Cultural considerations
  • Promoting communication and reading and writing
  • Project-based learning

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

finally
Finally,

Thank you for your participation in this workshop.

For further information, please go to

www.cal.org/caela

www.cal.org/caela/scb/maine.html

or contact me at lterrill@cal.org

Thanks, Lynda

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition