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CAELA State Team Summaries


In talking with CAELA state teams, we’ve found that states are very interested in hearing about other states’ plans for building professional development infrastructure for adult ESL. Teams have said that they don’t want to “reinvent the wheel.” They want to hear promising activities, challenges, and lessons learned so they don’t waste time and resources

Many state teams have given CAELA permission to write short summaries of important elements of their plans and to provide contact information so other states can ask directly for more information on topics of interest. Summaries for Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are online now. Other summaries will follow shortly.


One of Alabama's goals is to improve the teaching of multilevel classes as one of its goals for this year. In light of this, Alabama began the year with a pre-workshop training of trainers for the state’s five adult ESL outreach coordinators. At this pre-workshop meeting, the outreach coordinators were given instruction in training techniques and on the content of the multilevel classes training. The content of this training is adapted from the CAELA materials on lesson planning, which states received last spring in regional meetings with CAELA staff.

Throughout the fall, the outreach coordinators will deliver training in teaching multilevel classes at their individual sites throughout the state. They will help teachers plan and deliver lessons to multi-level classes, observing and conferencing with teachers as they do this.

On November 21, 2005, the outreach coordinators will attend a workshop on teaching multilevel classes at the Alabama College Association Professional Development Conference. This training will be given by a consultant and, in addition to being participants in the workshop, the outreach coordinators will have a follow-up meeting in which they discuss the training techniques that the consultant used during the workshop. They will also talk about what activities can be done as follow-up to this training. At this time, they will also share how their own training at their sites is going and consider adjustments that are needed. They will then return to their individual sites and finish their trainings on multi-level classes by the end of December.

For more information about Alabama’s adult ESL plan, please contact:

Paula Thompson
Adult Education/ESL Specialist
Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education
401 Adams Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104-4340
paula.thompson@acs.cc.al.us
1-334-353-5451

Resources

California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project, ESL new teacher resource guide.http://www.calpro-online.org/o_guides/esl_res_og/1.asp

Detzel, D. (2001). Teaching civics in a multi-level ESL class. Staff handbook. Pennsylvania Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education: Pennsylvania State Department of Education. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/download/pdf/PAeslcivics.pdf

National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy. (1997, September). Focus on Basics [Issue on Multilevel Classrooms], 1(c). http://www.ncsall.net/?id=168 

Shank, C. & Terrill, L. (1995). Teaching multilevel adult ESL classes. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/SHANK.html


The Arizona state team will focus on Professional Learning Communities in their professional development event for this year.

The goal of this initiative is to introduce local ESL program directors and their key supervisory personnel to the concept of Professional Learning Communities in order to encourage them to form their own program communities or participate in regional ones. As this event is part of a five-year state project for all adult educators, it commenced at a joint GED Examiners and Programs Directors Institute in September. Participants read research articles on professional learning communities, and examined data from a teacher needs’ survey and from the level performance of ESL students at local programs. They were given a list of resources on how to implement professional learning communities and a method for evaluating their first year of activities. It is hoped that ten Directors will set up professional learning communities this school year with five active by the end of December and five more active by the end of June.

For more information about Arizona’s adult ESL plan, please contact:

Wilda Theobald
Director, Program Improvement
Arizona Department of Education
Adult Education Division
1535 W. Jefferson Bin VIR
Phoenix, AZ 85007
wtheoba@ade.az.gov
1-602-258-2410

Resources

Hord, S. (1997) Professional learning communities: What are they and why are they important? Issues . . . about Change. 6:1 http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues61.html

National Staff Development Council. Learning Communities. http://www.nsdc.org/standards/learningcommunities.cfm

Smith, M. and A. Rose Using a learning organization approach to enhance ABE teachers’ professional development. Focus on Basics. http://www.ncsall.net/?id=231


 

The focus of the Arkansas team’s work is on helping adult ESL provider staff have the appropriate qualifications, responsibilities, support structures, and professional development opportunities so that they provide high-quality instruction for adults learning English. The team is focusing on the following goals:

  • Give inexperienced ESL teachers (adult education and literacy providers) the knowledge and skills they need to be effective with adult language learners
  • Link inexperienced teachers with experienced teachers, who will observe and mentor them
  • Raise the awareness of inexperienced teachers of issues related to instruction of adult English language learners and see growth and improvement in their knowledge and practice
  • Build the skills of a core group of approximately 40 experienced ESL teachers and develop the capacity of this cadre of teachers to serve as mentors for the inexperienced teachers

 

In order to accomplish these goals, Arkansas is instituting a 4-month process for inexperienced ESL teachers that includes training, being observed, being mentored, and engaging in learning and reflecting activities, including keeping reflective journals. The group will include inexperienced ESL teachers in adult education centers and volunteer tutors in literacy councils. The teachers must agree to be part of the entire process for 4 months (the semester).

The second component of the project is the Adult Education ESL Summer Institute. This intensive workshop brings in nationally known teacher trainers and focuses on providing up-to-date methods and materials for experienced ESL teachers. Not only do the participants improve their teaching skills but they also form bonds with each other that lead to a strong support network across the state. Teachers who attend the institute will be invited to participate in observing and mentoring the new and inexperienced ESL teachers.

Content to be covered in various events may include ESL teaching strategies (including strategies and materials for teaching zero level and low level ESL students), lesson planning, and citizenship preparation. To guide the planning of the content, the Arkansas team has developed an updated survey of teacher needs.

Expected outcomes are (1) that the inexperienced ESL teachers will gain the information, confidence, knowledge, tools, and strategies they need to become confident in lesson planning and ESL instruction, and (2) that the experienced ESL teachers will improve their support network and be available to monitor and coach the new and inexperienced teachers.

For more information about Arkansas’ adult ESOL plan contact:

Philip Less
ESL Program Advisor
Arkansas Department of Workforce Education
Adult Education Section
3 Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Philip.Less@arkansas.gov
501-682-1970

Resources:

Adult ESL Instructor Survey. (2005). Arkansas Department of Workforce Education, Adult Education Section. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/Arkansas survey.pdf

CAELA Resource Collection: What Beginning Teachers and Tutors of Adult English Language Learners Need to Know. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/beginning.html

Florez, M. & Burt, M. (2001). Beginning to work with adult English language learners: Some considerations. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/beginQA.html

Florez, M. & Terrill, L. (2003). Working with literacy-level adult English language learners. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/litQA.html

Pollard, L. & Hess, N. (1997). Zero Prep: Ready-to-Go Activities for the Language Classroom. San Francisco: Alta Book Center Publishers.

Teaching Adults: An ESL Resource Book. (1996). New York: New Readers Press.


There is an immediate need in Colorado to provide professional development about instruction and assessment to those teachers of ESL Student Performance Level (SPL) 6 (Bridge to Academics) and their directors. National Reporting System (NRS) data show that students at SPL 6 are not reaching targeted level gains. This is particularly problematic in Colorado because there is no funding available for students past SPL 7, which is when students are expected to bridge into ABE.

Professional development can be a challenge in Colorado due to barriers of geography, and because 48% of adult education teachers teach 12 or fewer hours a week. There is a long-term need for building the capacities of both novice and experienced ESL teachers in the areas of lesson planning, best practices, and using the Internet to find ESL resources. More experienced teachers will receive targeted PD focusing on teacher decision-making and reflection through the use of study circles and mentoring/coaching.

The Colorado state team is conducting trainings for teachers of ESL SPL 6 at four sites around the state. The team is supported in these PD efforts by local programs (pay, substitute teachers, release time), area Literacy Resource Centers (training sites, registration, meals), and the Colorado Department of Education (training materials, honorarium and travel, follow-up support).

Overall, Colorado’s goal is to increase the capacity of this large urban/rural state to provide appropriate and effective PD to ESL novice, experienced, and “bridge” (SPL 6) teachers.

For more information about Colorado’s adult ESL plan, please contact:

Jane C. Miller
ESL Specialist/Professional Development Coordinator
Colorado Department of Education
CARE/AEFLA
201 E. Colfax Ave., Room 400
Denver, CO 80203
303-866-6611 (ph) 303-866-6599 (fax)
Miller_j@cde.state.co.us

Resources:

Rance-Roney, J. (1995). Transitioning Adult ESL Learners to Academic Programs. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/RANCE.html

Richards, J., & Farrell, T. (2005). Professional development for language teachers : Strategies for teacher learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J.C. & Lockhart, C. (1994). Reflective teaching in second language classrooms, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Kentucky faces professional development challenges that are common to states with large rural areas and limited funding. Kentucky’s current goal, and one which they are actively working on, is “to develop a data-driven professional development structure (process) that increases participation in and effectiveness of professional development for adult ESL instructors.” Adult education in Kentucky has a new Professional Development Unit (PDU) system for the 2005-2006 year, for which full-time staff (20 hours/week or more) need 8 PDUs per year and part-time staff need 2 PDUs per year. The goal of the system is to expand and enhance instructors’ professional development experiences by insuring implementation of promising practices.

PDUs are weighted by category in the following ways:

Investigate a new practice by attending a workshop, conference, pre-conference, or review professional literature (1 PDU)

Apply and Evaluate knowledge and skills in the classroom that lead to improved student outcomes (5 PDUs)

Disseminate and share with colleagues a new instruction practice OR presenting a session at a conference (3 PDUs)

Demonstrate expertise by presenting at a national conference or having work published (4 PDUs)

Since bringing geographically distant adult ESL teachers together for training and mentoring purposes is difficult, Kentucky offers a variety of online, face-to-face, and hybrid ESL courses, and allows for localized professional development, such as study circles. New adult ESL instructors are required to complete the following core content track courses within two years: “Orientation to ESL” (total of 11 hours, using online and face-to-face formats), “ESL Methodology I” (6 hours), and “ESL Lesson Planning I” (6 hours). More experienced instructors are offered elective options such as “Workplace ESL” (6 hours), “ESL Curriculum and Instruction” (6 hours), and continuations of the core methodology courses. A recently created option for experienced instructors to explore is the online ESL/Civics Link course, which is intended to cover core issues in teaching ESL and civics and to encourage active engagement through project-based learning, by integrating English literacy instruction and civics education.

For more information about Kentucky’s adult ESL plan, please contact

Joyce Bullock
Kentucky Adult Education
Council on Postsecondary Education
1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 250
Frankfort , KY 40601
Phone: 502-573-5114, ext. 118; 800-928-7323
joyce.bullock@ky.gov

Resources

Kentucky Adult Education. (2005). Professional development handbook: A new framework for learning. Retrieved October 18, 2005 from http://www.kyvae.org/educator/pd_opps/PDcatalog2005.pdf

Kentucky Virtual Adult Education website: www.kyvae.org


 The Nebraska state team has begun the school year with a training for ESL teachers of literacy level adults. The work done at this training will be more fully developed and followed up over the course of several months.

The goal of the training is to show teachers strategies they can implement in their classrooms to better instruct literacy level students. These strategies focus on teaching reading and writing skills and are accompanied by materials that teachers can take with them and use in their own classes. Teachers are

expected to try two or three of the strategies and materials presented at the training.

The training took place on September 19 and 20, 2005 and was given to 40 teachers, 20 of whom were ESL teachers. These represent one teacher from every program in the state. Between this training and a follow-up meeting on November 3, 2005, participants met to share the reading and writing strategies and materials they tried with their classes, how it was received, if it worked, and what they and students liked best.

Strategies tried were varied. The most popular strategy tried was RAP – a reading strategy R (Read) – Ask (about main idea and details) – P (Put into my words). One teacher commented that a student who is ADHD swears by it. Other reading strategies tried were: Drawing Pictures of Vocabulary; Using Higher Order Thinking discussion questions; Circle & Skip (circle words not sure of and come back to see if the context helps with comprehension and then use your own word/s for better understanding; KWL, a reading comprehension technique –K (assessing what the student knows) – W (deciding what the student wants to know) and – L (determining what the student learned from the text).

Writing strategies tried were: COPS - C – (Capitalization) – O (Organization) – P (Punctuation) – S (Spelling); Brainstorming

All who responded felt the Reading and Writing workshop was very helpful. Some had no preference for particular new strategies and others mentioned KWL and RAP. There was recognition that strategies can and sometimes need to be adapted to the ESL student’s needs to be successful. One comment was that by using the Oral BEST and additionally assessing reading/writing skills gave the teacher an excellent idea of what students already know and areas that need work and future instruction. The follow-up activity helped to see what the student had actually learned.

Students seemed to like the hands-on activities best, whether it was drawing pictures of vocabulary, tracing and looking for consonant blends, using color-coded cards to write a sentence, or practicing COPS.

This information will be presented to ESL teachers throughout the state.

For more information about Nebraska’s adult ESOL plan, please contact:

Vicki Bauer
State Director, Adult Education
Nebraska Department of Education
PO Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
vbauer@nde.state.ne.us
1-402-471-4807

Resources

Burt, M., Florez, M., Terrill, L., & Van Duzer, C. (2000). An annotated bibliography of reading and adult English language learning. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/bibliographies/Rdgbib.html

Florez, M. & Terrill, L. (2003) Working wth literacy-level adult English language learners. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/litQA.html

Holt, G. (1995) Teaching Low-Level Adult ESL Learners. Sacramento: Bilingual Education Office, California Department of Education. www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/HOLT.html


The goal of Nevada’s Year I CAELA event is to equip instructors to integrate EL/Civics into ESL instruction. A workshop was scheduled for November 4, 2005 in Las Vegas. The objectives of the training are:

  • Implement the key elements in the WIA Title II Civic Participation program
  • Help teachers apply civic objectives that correlate with their student needs assessment
  • Help programs and teachers create curriculum that reflects the chosen objective and additional assessment

After the training, participants will complete a follow-up activity to ensure that the training objectives were met. Activities will vary depending on needs, but may include observations, development and implementation of lesson plans, or development of an implementation plan.

For more information about Nevada’s adult ESL plan, please contact

Sharyn Yanoshak
Community College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas , NV
(702) 253-6280
saylv@cox.net

Resources

Activities for Integrating Civics in Adult English Language Learning www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/civicsact.html

CAELA Resource Collection:

Civics Education for Adult English Language Learners www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/civics.html


The Oklahoma state team has focused its professional development initiative on new teachers. The goal of Oklahoma’s Year I CAELA event is “to assist new ESL teachers to teach effectively in the classroom.” In October, the state team conducted a Training for New ESL Teachers in Oklahoma City. The objectives of the training were to:

  • Introduce new ESL teachers to adult theory
  • Help new teachers understand the ESL student
  • Explore research-based instructional strategies and curriculum for ESL students
  • Promote retention of ESL students
  • Instruct teachers in how to design lesson plans that include scope and sequence
  • Help teachers acquire strategies for managing multilevel classes

 

In addition, the state team led an initiative to train all ESL teachers in the state to become BEST Plus test administrators and to train a selected group of teachers to become state BEST Plus trainers. A training was held in August in Oklahoma City.

For more information about Oklahoma’s adult ESL plan, please contact

Pam Blundell, Coordinator
State Department of Education, Lifelong Learning Section
Oklahoma City, OK
Pam_Blundell@sde.state.ok.us
405-521-3321

Resources

CAELA Resource Collection:

What Beginning Teachers and Tutors of Adult English Language Learners Need to Know. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/beginning.html

Florez, M. & Burt, M. (2001). Beginning to work with adult English language learners: Some considerations. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/beginQA.html

National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy. (1997, September). Focus on Basics [Issue on Multilevel Classrooms], 1(c). http://www.ncsall.net/?id=168 


Rhode Island has a new state director of Adult Education. Johan Uvin, the new state director, began work in September, 2005. Dr. Uvin has extensive experience in ESOL, workplace and adult basic learning, program design, and data analysis.

Rhode Island has completed a two-year task force-led and practitioner-driven process to reorganize the state system for adult education (including ESL). The process included designing a state-wide staff development system and structure to meet the needs of all practitioners in the state. One component will be the establishment of a new state Professional Development Center, which will focus on issues related to both ABE and ESL instruction.

The task force, CAELA team, and Professional Development Center (when funded) are focusing on the following:

  • New teacher orientation – What do new teachers need to know and be able to do, and what support do they need?
  • Teacher competencies – What knowledge and skills do adult education practitioners (teachers and administrators) in the state need to have?
  • Standards-based instruction – This includes professional development and support for standards-based learning in reading (including with adult English language learners), speaking, listening, writing, math, and ESL instruction. Three-day trainings on reading and math have been conducted and are underway, and training on ESL instruction will take place in January 2006.
  • ESOL Share – Led by members of the CAELA team, this once-a-month meeting is conducted by and for ESOL practitioners, with themes and topics determined by participants. The session serves as a means for peer learning, informal research, and dissemination of information.
  • Resources for practitioners – Literacy Resources/RI maintains online resources and works with groups and individuals to support professional development in the state.
  • Annual state conference in the spring 2006. A strand will be added on EL/Civics instruction.

 

Goals: By the spring 2006, Rhode Island plans to have in place a new teacher orientation process, a final set of teacher competencies, a draft set of content standards for the state (including ESL standards), and the Professional Development Center.  

For more information about Rhode Island’s adult ESOL plan, please contact:

Janet Isserlis
Project Director, Literacy Resources/RI
Box 1974, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 Janet_Isserlis@brown.edu
phone: (401) 863-2839

Resources:

Literacy Resources/RI online resources collection http://www.brown.edu/lrri/

Program for Rhode Island’s annual state conference (2005 conference) http://www.brown.edu/lrri/conference05.html

Rhode Island ’s staff development plan http://www.brown.edu/lrri/RIPDModel.pdf


South Dakota's increasing adult ESL population has created new challenges for adult ESL programs in the state. These programs are decentralized, geographically distant, vary widely in size, and, in general, lack the adult ESL experience and know-how that many programs in other states already have. Until recently, adult ESL education was administered through the K-12 system. Lutheran Social Services, Southeast Technical Institute and Volunteers of America, all located in Sioux Falls, are currently the biggest ESL providers in the state; there are approximately 50 adult ESL teachers spread out across the state. Most are part-time.

The South Dakota state team has received a $40,000 state grant over an 18-month period to design and implement a professional development plan that will train ESL teachers, teacher trainers, and researchers and will provide the appropriate technical assistance to develop an effective, coherent, statewide PD system. They have begun by gathering data on teacher and program needs and by working on strengthening the teacher networking system. In the long-term, they plan to explore the use of a weblog (“blog”), online ESL courses or other electronic modes of communication to provide support and PD to geographically distant ESL teachers.

In order to do this, the South Dakota team is very interested in contacting other states in similar situations and getting their recommendations based on what they have done. In particular, they are seeking information about initial/orientation training for new ESL teachers, strong ongoing support and follow-up training, peer review/observation, training manuals and materials, certification programs, peer coaching, peer presentations, and in general how much PD can and should be required of their teachers.

It is the South Dakota team’s wish that, through networking with other states and collaborating with each other, they will gather the necessary data that will help inform professional development in their state by determining what will work, and what the state can afford. At the end of the three years with CAELA, the SD team hopes to have a system of rigorous ongoing training and support, teacher connections and collaboration, knowledge of resources, and quality options for ongoing training in place.

For more information about South Dakota’s adult ESL plan, please contact:

Susan Gunn
State Professional Development Facilitator
Shade Hill, SD
gunn@starband.net
(605) 374-5123

or

Missy Slaathaug
ESL Instructor/ESL Technical Assistance
The Right Turn
Pierre , SD
mslaathaug@midco.net
Phone number: 605-773-4755

Resources

CAELA Resource Collection:

What Beginning Teachers and Tutors of Adult English Language Learners Need to Know. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/beginning.html

Florida Online Adult ESL Instruction Training course http://www.ircc.edu/html/esol/index.html

Illinois Adult Education and Family Literacy Service Center Network. (July 2005). ESL Professional Development Planner. http://www.thecenterweb.org/alrc/pdfs/esl-planner.pdf

Kentucky Virtual Adult Education website: www.kyvae.orgIn particular, Professional Development Opportunities at http://www.kyvae.org/educator/pd_opps/index.asp

Mathews-Aydinli, J. & Taylor, K. (2005). Online Professional Development for Adult ESL Educators. Washington, DC: Center for Adult English Language Acquisition. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/briefs/onlinepd.html

Nevada's Adult Basic Educator's outcome-based Certificate of Performance teacher certification system; contact person Sharyn Yanoshak, sayov@cox.net, (702-253-6280) http://www.literacynet.org/nvabecp/what.html

Pennsylvania ABLE Training ESL course offerings

http://www.able.state.pa.us/able/cwp/view.asp?a=13&Q=39833

Pennsylvania New ESL Teacher Training Materials, contact person Carol Shefrin cshefrin@tui11.org

Professional Development Kit: Multimedia Resources for Adult Educators http://literacy.org/pdk/

Smith, C., Harris, K., & Reder, S. (2005). Applying Research Findings to Instruction for Adult English Language Students. Washington, DC: Center for Adult English Language Acquisition. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/briefs/research.html

 


The Tennessee state team has initiated a professional development plan to help teachers of adult ESL design and implement lesson plans that reflect the principles of second language acquisition and have clear measurable objectives.

The goal of Tennessee’s Year 1 state plan is to meet state performance measures. In order to meet this goal, the team decided that teachers needed more training in writing good lesson plans. With this in mind, they designed and held four Summer ESOL Regional Academies in July and August, and are following up the work teachers did in the Academies this fall and winter. The four Academies focused on helping teachers: 1) understand NRS/Consolidated Management and Activity Tracking System (CMATS)reporting; 2) learn when to administer which test and report scores in a timely manner; and 3) plan lessons that reflect the principles of second language acquisition and have clear measurable objectives.

After the Summer ESOL Regional Academies, during August and September, there were follow up discussions online about the content of the academies and how teachers could incorporate it into their lesson plans. Between September and December, teachers are designing their own lesson plans and teaching them. Their lead teachers are observing them and meeting with them to discuss their observations. Through a report or a journal, teachers are discussing the application of second language acquisition principles in their lessons. Teachers are also keeping track of student learning gains and are using this information to craft their assessments.

Tennessee is also in the beginning stages of its ESOL Curriculum and Competency revision. A task force has been formed and a draft needs assessment will be sent to the field this fall.

For more information about Tennessee’s adult ESOL plan, please contact:

Sandra Fugate
ESOL Program Coordinator
University of Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies
600 Henley Street, Suite 312
Knoxville , TN 37996-4135
Sfugate1@utk.edu
1-865-974-3857

Resources

Brown, H.D. (2000) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (4 th edition). White Plains, New York: Pearson Education.

CAELA Resource Collections:

Assessment and Evaluation in Adult ESL
http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/assessment.html

Second Language Acquisition
http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/SLA.html

Florez, M. & Terrill, L. (2003). Working with literacy-level adult English language learners. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/litQA.html

Johnson, D. (2001) An Annotated Bibliography of Second Language Acquisition in Adult English Language Learners. Washington, DC: National Center for Adult ESL Literacy Education. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/bibliographies/sla.html

 


The Virginia state team has initiated a professional development event that will help focus state adult ESOL programs for an important upcoming state initiative.

The goal of Virginia’s Year I CAELA event is “to review local programs, using the TESOL Program Standards, in preparation for the roll out of the Virginia Adult ESOL Content Standards the following year.” In October, a train the trainer workshop using the program standards module was conducted by CAELA staff for approximately 18 Virginia trainers. This program standards module was developed by TESOL and CAELA. This module will be available for pilot-testing by other CAELA states in 2006.

Across Virginia, now through Winter/Spring 2006, trainers (in pairs) will conduct several trainings for adult ESOL practitioners and program administrators in state-funded programs and in community-based literacy organizations (CBLOs). The objectives of the training are that participants will be able to:

 

  • Use the self-review instrument to analyze the level of implementation of standards in a program
  • Use the summary scores chart to identify areas for program improvement

This activity will

  • familiarize adult ESL professionals with types of standards,
  • help people in programs be able to analyze strengths, needs, and goals of their programs,
  • encourage program review in curriculum and instruction so program staff will recognize the role standards can play
  • conduct program reviews, and
  • prepare adult ESL practitioners to understand and use Virginia Adult ESOL Content Standards as they are inaugurated in 2007.

 

For more information about the Virginia’s adult ESOL plan, please contact

Nancy R. Faux
ESOL Specialist
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA
nfaux@vcu.edu
1-800-237-0178

Resources

Peyton, J.K. (2005). Using the ESL program standards to evaluate and improve adult ESL programs. Washington, DC: Center for Adult English Language Acquisition.

www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/briefs/eslprogstandards.html

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (2003). Standards for adult education ESL programs. Alexandria, VA: Author. (Available for purchase from www.tesol.org)

See the Adult Education Content Standards Warehouse, being developed to provide information about adult education content standards developed by states. (www.adultedcontentstandards.org)


West Virginia's goals include providing basic background information on the ESL learner to practitioners with limited training or experience teaching ESL and to develop a pool of potential trainers from seasoned teachers.

At the annual conference of the West Virginia Adult Education Association in September 2001, a workshop based on CAELA’s capacity building initiative was offered to adult educators and literacy volunteers. The 15 workshop participants included ESL instructors and ESL tutor volunteers ranging from little or no experience to over 20 years experience teaching adult ESL learners.

The workshop was divided into two components. The first half focused on how adults learn a new language, similarities between first and second language learning, and transfer and interference between first and second languages. The second half focused on cultural differences that impact teaching strategies as well as learner attitudes, interactions, and success in the learning environment.

Much of the workshop materials were provided by CAELA. These included the articles, Second Language Acquisition in Adults: From Research to Practice and Beginning to Work with Adult English Language Learners: Some Considerations. Activities included participants working in pairs to answer questions about the articles using the CAELA handout “What Adult ESL Teachers Need to Know about SLA.” The “cultural differences” component of the workshop opened with the CAELA “Cultural Awareness Activity I: Outside Visitors.” Participants also used “Cultural Considerations” in which participants rated statements about cultural issues on an agree/disagree continuum. The workshop was well received by both the experienced ESL instructors and volunteers and the participants who had little experience with teaching ESL.

At the same conference, Jennifer Fadden, volunteer coordinator from the Arlington (Virginia) Education and Employment Program (REEP) presented a workshop on “Planning Lessons” for teachers new to adult ESL.

West Virginia plans to offer similar or expanded trainings regionally. ESL and ABE instructors, as well as literacy volunteers, will be invited to attend. Other ESL trainers will also be encouraged to use the workshop material for their own trainings. An expanded version of the workshop will include “Strategies for Teaching ESL” and “Lesson Planning” and will be the state literacy organization’s recommended training for certifying literacy volunteers who work with adult ESL learners.

For more information about West Virginia’s adult ESL plan, please contact:

Cathy Shank
WVABE Professional Development Coordinator
Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) III
Dunbar, WV
cshank@access.k12.wv.us
phone: 304-766-7655 ext. 112 or 1-800-257-3723 ext. 112;
fax: 304-766-7915

Resources

Florez, M. & Burt, M. (2001). Beginning to work with adult English language learners: Some considerations. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy. Education http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/beginQA.html

Moss, D., & Ross-Feldman, L. (2003). Second Language Acquisition in Adults: From Research to Practice. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/SLA.html

The REEP Curriculum at http://www.arlington.k12.va.us/instruct/ctae/adult_ed/REEP/reepcurriculum/


This CAELA Web page is still being developed. If you have questions or comments about the CAELA state capacity building initiative or about the CAELA Web site, please email caela@cal.org