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CAELA Currents January 2007


About CAELA Currents


This quarterly newsletter is published by the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA) at the Center for Applied Linguistics and is offered free of charge. CAELA was created to help states build their capacity to promote English language learning and academic achievement of adults learning English. (See About CAELA)

If you have questions about topics presented or information that you would like us to consider including in the newsletter, please contact the editor at

To subscribe to CAELA Currents, send a message to In the subject line write “Subscribe CAELA Currents.”

CAELA Currents is prepared with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, under contract no. ED-04-C0-0031/0001. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education.


January Articles

Third Annual State Capacity Building Meetings to be Held Winter 2007 

LESLLA Forum on Research, Practice, and Policy held in Virginia, November 2006 

Latino National Survey

New from CAELA

Another Resource on Adult Literacy for Teachers of English Language Learners

Coming soon from CAELA....Brief on Using Adult ESL Content Standards

Third Annual State Capacity Building Meetings to be Held Winter 2007

The Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA) will hold its third annual state capacity building meetings this winter. The dates, locations, and participating states for the meetings are as follows.

Albuquerque, NM
January 21-23

Tucson, AZ

February 11-13

Mobile, AL

February 25-27




New Mexico

Rhode island






South Carolina



West Virginia








South Dakota




In 2006, the 24 states participating in the CAELA state capacity-building initiative worked on their plans to build stronger systems for providing ongoing, data-driven professional development for adult ESL practitioners. To see what activities each CAELA state has been working on, go to

During the 2007 meetings, the state teams will report on the progress of their professional development plans and the intended outcomes for adult ESL trainers, teachers, and systems. By continuing to examine how student and teacher data affect state level decision making, each team will prioritize the professional development activities that can have the most impact in their state. CAELA staff will help the teams identify appropriate and effective training resources that match their state professional development needs. The final goal of the meetings is for each team to develop a sustainability plan that extends beyond the CAELA project to provide quality state- specific professional development for teachers of adult English language learners.

LESLLA Forum on Research, Practice, and Policy held in Virginia, November 2006

On November 2-3, 2006, a group of over 60 researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and government officials convened the second annual conference of LESLLA (Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition–for Adults). The conference on Research, Practice, and Policy was held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and included participants from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom as well as from several states including California, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to share information, strategies, and challenges related to working with adult second language learners with limited literacy and education. Sessions included topics from research (e.g., The Impact of Alphabetic Print Literacy Level on Oral Second Language) and practice (e.g., Responding Programmatically to Low-Literacy Adult Language Learners, Needs Assessment and Literacy-Level Adult English Language Learners, Professional Development for Teachers of Literacy-Level Learners). The third annual LESLLA Forum will be held in Newcastle, UK, as part of the 17th European Second Language Association Conference (EuroSLA). Abstracts are due February 9, 2007.

For more information about LESLLA, go to

Latino National Survey

On December 7, 2006, the Division of United States Studies and the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Migration Policy Institute, and the Pew Hispanic Center presented Redefining America: Key Findings from the 2006 Latino National Survey. While the data from the survey will not be released until Spring 2007, the Power Point presentation from the session and Latino National Survey: Weighted Demographic Tables, Nationally and by State are available on the Wilson Center Web site (above). The survey questions, English Survey and Spanish Survey; the executive summary; and other information are available on the University of Washington Web site at

New from CAELA

Resource Collection on Working with Literacy-Level Adult English Language Learners

CAELA’s newest online resource collection is now available. To obtain background information about literacy-level adult English language learners; links to CAELA resources; links to articles, newsletters, and organizations; and descriptions of teacher reference books and learner textbooks, go to

Ask CAELA Interview on Workplace ESL Instruction

The newest Ask CAELA question is “What are factors to consider when planning for, setting up, and evaluating a workplace program for immigrant workers?” The answer to the question includes information about how to conduct a needs analysis, adapt curricula to specific learner and worksite needs, and develop a system for assessment and evaluation. This Ask CAELA includes an interview with CAELA Associate Director and workplace expert Miriam Burt. To find out more about issues to consider in workplace ESL, go to

Another Resource for Teachers of English Language Learners

Spiegel, M., & Sunderland, H. (2006). A Teachers’ guide: Teaching basic literacy to ESOL learners. London, England: LLU+ and London South Bank University. (Available in the United States from Peppercorn Books at

This teachers’ guide outlines models for teaching reading and writing to basic literacy learners. The guide has ideas for beginning and experienced instructors and traces several approaches to literacy from a historical perspective. A practitioner’s chart for working with students individually outlines lesson purpose, activities, and materials needed and provides sample curricula. The guide treats a broad range of topics including learning styles, dyslexia, assessment, materials, planning, and managing courses and classrooms. Resources for teachers include materials, a glossary, and an extensive bibliography. The authors recommend that the guide be used by ESL teachers who are new to working with students at basic literacy levels, working on their ESL certifications, teaching EFL, or changing to a career in ESL. The book evolved from a need for theoretical and practical ESL background. LLU+ (formerly the London Language and Literacy Unit) and the authors discovered the gap in materials when they were developing ESL teacher training courses to be used throughout the United Kingdom.

Coming Soon from CAELA....Brief on Using Adult ESL Content Standards

In the last CAELA Currents (October, 2006) we announced the publication of a brief on Understanding Adult ESL Content Standards, by Sarah Young and Cristine Smith, available at That brief defined different types of standards and described the instructional benefits of using adult ESL content standards. It also looked at uses of content standards in the adult ESL field and examined research about the implementation of content standards.

A second brief on this topic, Using Adult ESL Content Standards, will be available from CAELA this winter. This new brief begins with historical information about content standards and then describes the processes that adult ESL teachers and program administrators can follow to use content standards successfully to strengthen lesson planning, classroom activities, performance assessment, and professional development.

Look for this brief to be available online soon.