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Designing Curriculum for Work-Based ESL Classes May 22, 2012 WEBS Albuquerque, New Mexico Miriam Burt Objectives. The participants will be able to… Use needs assessment information to inform instruction Identify linguistic and socio-cultural skills needed at the workplace

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Designing Curriculum for Work-Based ESL ClassesMay 22, 2012 WEBSAlbuquerque, New MexicoMiriam


The participants will be able to…

Use needs assessment information to inform instruction

Identify linguistic and socio-cultural skills needed at the workplace

Identify sources for evidence-based principles and strategies

Practice activities that address their instructional needs and contexts using authentic workplace materials

Articulate how they might integrate workforce preparation and language skills in their instructional setting


Objectives, Overview, & Warm Up

Review of Promising Practices

The Researcher’s View: Workplace Skills Needed

The Employer’s View: Workplace Skills Needed

The Learner View: Needs Assessment

Classroom Activities to Address Workplace and English Skills Using Work-based Materials

Reflection, Wrap-Up, & Exit via the three Ws

think pair share
Think- Pair-Share
  • Pair up with another teacher.
  • Introduce yourself to your partner.
  • Share ideas from the Think-Pair-Share handout. .
  • Introduce your partner to the group. Tell us:



One interesting success or challenge your

partner spoke about

promising practices p review
Promising Practices: P/review
  • For workplace, vocational, and ESL classes:
  • Building higher order skills from the beginning
  • Simulating the workplace environment in the classroom
  • Linking job and academic content to English instruction
skills for the workplace a perspective
Skills for the Workplace: A Perspective

Fastest Growing Jobs Between 2008 and 2018

•Health care



•Food service

Source: ―Tomorrow’s Jobs, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011

make a list
Make a list …

Make a list of five skills you think these jobs require. For example: Following directions

Compare your list to that of someone sitting next to you.

Debrief in full group

what the experts say critical skills
What the Experts Say: Critical Skills

1.3Rs: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

2. 7Cs:

 Critical thinking and problem solving

 Communication & media literacy

 Collaboration, teamwork & leadership

 Creativity & innovation

 Computing & ICT literacy

 Career & learning self-reliance

 Cross–cultural understanding

Trilling, B., Fadel, C. 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. (2009). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

what the experts say more from 21 st century
What the Experts Say: More from 21st Century

“What is certain is that two essential skill sets will remain at the top of the list of job requirements for 21st century work:

The ability to quickly acquire and apply new knowledge

The know-how to apply essential 21st century skills—problem solving, communication, teamwork, technology use, innovation, and the rest—to each and every project, the primary unit of 21st century work” (Trilling & Fadel, 2009, p.11).

what researchers say international studies
What Researchers Say - International Studies

“Recent studies highlight the importance of English for informal interaction and socializing in workforce context. English learners urgently need to be sensitized to communicative strategies for establishing relationship and maintaining rapport in the workplace. In meetings, the ability to take part in discussions is considered much more important than actually carrying our formal presentations. In addition, participation in teamwork is vital for success” (executive summary, pp 5-6).

From: Fitzpatrick, A., & O’Dowd, R. (2012). English at Work: An analysis of case reports about English language training for the 21st century workforce.

what employers say
What Employers Say

“ [Workers] problems rarely stemmed from a shortfall in technical or professional expertise, but rather from a shortcoming in the soft skills arena with their personal, social, communication, and self-management behaviors.”

from Klaus, P. (2008).The Hard Truth about Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They’d Learned Sooner. New York: Collins.


for evidence based learner centered resources go to
For Evidence-based Learner-Centered Resources, go to….


soft skill practice
Soft Skill Practice…
  • Teamwork/problem solving
  • Jobs in the classroom (Magy/Price work from– What I can do…

But we know that reading and other English skills are important as well…

review of the research
Review of the Research
  • What reading skills need to be developed?
    • Alphabetics & Word Analysis
    • Vocabulary
    • Fluency
    • Reading Comprehension
reading components 4 corners

Go to one of these!

Reading Components: 4 Corners
  • The four corners are Alphabetics & Word Analysis, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Reading Comprehension
  • Select the component you have the most knowledge about or interest in and go to that corner
  • Explain to the others in your corner why you choose that corner
  • Share your ideas with the whole group: Before speaking, paraphrase what the group before you has said
treasure hunt
Treasure Hunt!

In pairs or at your table, answer the questions about the brief. Raise your hand when you have finished.

Debrief as a group.

social bingo part 2
Social Bingo – Part 2

Stand up and walk around the room. Find someone who fits the description of one of the bingo squares. Have them write their name in the square.

Then – ask them a follow up question about the topic on the square.

Yell “bingo” when you complete a row

Debrief in full group


Alphabetics & Word Analysis

Sounds & Sense


Cups – for prefixes and suffixes

Workplace memo with final pronunciation of past tense morpheme



vocabulary activities
Vocabulary Activities

Stand up!

Edgar Dale Depth of Word Knowledge

2 1 talk to each other
2 – 1 – ½ : Talk to Each Other

Instructions: 1. Line up in two lines facing each other. Those with their backs to the wall are the speakers; those facing them are the listeners. The speakers will have two minutes to talk to their partners about this topic: My First Job

2. When the facilitator rings the bell, the listeners will become speakers and follow the directions above.

3. When the facilitator rings the bell, the listener line will move to the right so each speaker and listener has a new partner. Each speaker will now give the same talk to a new partner, but this time, speakers will only have one minute to do this. Continued….

2 1 continued
2 – 1 – ½ (continued)

4. Listeners become speakers and repeat #3

5. When the facilitator rings the bell, the listener line will move to the right one more time; each speaker and listener has a final new partner. Each speaker will now give the same talk to a new partner, but this time speakers will only have 30 seconds to do this.

6. Listeners become speakers and repeat #4

group debrief
Group Debrief

Discussion – Speakers: What did you notice about the language you used as you moved from two to one to ½ minute of speech?

Listeners: What did you notice about the content and quantity of information conveyed as time decreased?

How does this activity increase fluency?

How might you use this activity in your work-based class?

build background for comprehension
Build Background for Comprehension

Concepts explicitly linkedto student background & experiences

Links explicitly made between past learning and new concepts

Key vocabulary emphasized: but not more than about 8 new words per day


activity learner controlled reading lcr
Activity: Learner-Controlled Reading (LCR)

“Developing Effective Interpersonal Relationships”

Read the title and look at the picture above. Then do the following:

What do you think the article will be about? Share your ideas with a partner.

As you read the article, jot down (or circle) any vocabulary you would like to discuss.

lcr 2 group work round robin
LCR 2: Group Work (Round Robin)

Within each group, prepare 2-4 questions that can be answered from the text. Leave space for answers under each question.

Pass the paper with your questions to the next group (clockwise).

Answer the questions from the other group.

REPEAT passing Q&As until all (most) questions have been answered.

Write any vocabulary terms the students may have problems with on the flipchart.

Full group debrief on skills


Please take a moment to reflect on what you have heard in this session and how it might apply to your own educational setting.

Share your ideas with those sitting at the table with you.

Then use your Wow Wonder and What If handout to further reflect on the workshop and to provide feedback on the workshop to the facilitator.

wows wonders what if
Wows Wonders What If

Things that caught your eye and made you go WOW!

Questions you would like to raise and discuss with the facilitator

Suggestions that the facilitator may want to think about