ESL Resources
State Capacity Building

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Do you have a question?

CAELA Currents May 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.


May 2007 Articles


TESOL and COABE 2008

Upcoming on the Adult ESL Electronic Discussion List

New on the CAELA Web site

What's New From CAL? New Resources from the Cultural Orientation Resource Center

Teaching Reading to Adult English Language Learners: Workshops in Virginia

New Report on Citizenship Issues


Two conferences of importance to those working with adult English language learners were held in March, 2007. The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) convention was held March 20-24 in Seattle, Washington. The Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) was held March 25-28 in Philadelphia. Below are summaries of sessions of special interest to teachers and administrators who work with adult immigrants or refugees.

Transitions of adults learning English to further education or to work was an important topic at TESOL this year, with the following presentations:

Options in Transitioning Students from Adult ESL
An important new report on supporting transitions of adult ESL students to community college, Passing the Torch: Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL (Forrest P. Chisman & JoAnn Crandall, 2007), was published by the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy The co-author of the report, with representatives of the programs studied, described features of effective community college programs and how they have increased articulation and learner transitions among programs and encouraged adult English language learners to continue their education.
JoAnn Crandall, University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
Toni Borge, Bunker Hill Community College,
Pamela Ferguson, Yakima Valley Community College,
Suzanne Leibman, College of Lake County,
Sandy Ares, Seminole Community College,
Sharon Seymour, City College of San Francisco,
Elizabeth Zachary, Bunker Hill Community College,

Intensive English Programs: Facilitating Transitions for ESL Students
A panel of program representatives described what ESL and EFL educators can do to support students as they make transitions in secondary school, higher education, adult education, IEP, and EFL contexts.
Mary Ann Florez, DC Learns,
JoAnn Crandall, University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
Denis A. Hall, Southern New Hampshire University,
Martha Iancu, George Fox University,
Lois Wions, Montgomery County Public Schools,

Successfully Transitioning Adult ESL Learners to College
This session described effective program features and instructional strategies for transitioning ESL students into credit-bearing college programs.
Lijun Shen (Highline Community College,


Content Standards
Sessions about understanding and implementing adult ESL content standards in classroom instruction were well attended at both TESOL and COABE.

Aligning Content Standards with Instruction and Assessment
Presentations at TESOL and COABE focused on the background and research behind the development and use of content standards, a framework for classroom implementation of standards-based instruction and assessment, and the components of a standards-based adult ESL lesson plan.
Presenters were CAELA staff:
Julie Mathews-Aydinli,
Kirsten Schaeztel,
Sarah Young,

The National CASAS Standards Project
A presentation at COABE focused on the CASAS Reading and Listening Standards, used by adult ESL programs in conjunction with the CASAS competencies.
Jim Harrison, CASAS,
Dianne Glass, Kansas Board of Regents,

In addition to the CASAS standards, ten states have adult ESL content standards or frameworks, which are posted on the Adult Education Content Standards Warehouse. (

Online Professional Development
Online professional development is not the wave of the future, it’s the wave of the present. Several sessions at COABE addressed the topic of online professional development. Two of the sessions are described below.

Helping Teachers Change: A Model from Tennessee
This session presented a working model of face-to-face training with online follow-up in small groups. Participants in the training work together through email, and professional development points are given upon successful completion of the course.
Jackie Taylor, Professional Development Coordinator for the Center for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee,

New Technology-Based Ways to Deliver Professional Development
Presenters of this session introduced a variety of online materials and models for professional development, which include facilitating programs such as Freeze, WebEx, WebTrain, and CALPRO Online Courses. They also demonstrated blogs, wikis, video sharing, podcasting, social bookmarking, voiceover IP, online groups, and video conferencing. They described the convenience and ease of communication among practitioners over great distances as primary reasons for the rapid expansion of these platforms and programs.
Leslie Petty, Associate Director of Project Ideal,
Marian Thatcher, Director of OTAN,

TESOL and COABE 2008

Adult practitioners working with English language learners are encouraged to submit proposals for the 2008 Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and for the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) conferences. There is growing interest at both conferences in teaching adult English language learners, especially literacy-level students. This work needs to be shared. Sessions at TESOL that describe instructional practices often are filled to capacity.

TESOL 2008 will be in New York, New York, April 2 to April 5, 2008.
Abstracts are due June 1, 2007.
More information about submitting an abstract can be found at

COABE 2008 will be in St. Louis, Missouri, April 28 to May 1, 2008.
The deadline for abstracts has not yet been posted, but more information about the conference will be available at

Upcoming on the Adult ESL Electronic Discussion List

To subscribe to the Adult English Language Learners discussion list, go to

The purpose of the discussion list is to provide a forum for teachers, administrators, and researchers who work with adults learning English as a second language to discuss instructional practices, program design, research, and policy. The list is operated by the National Institute for Literacy, funded by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), U.S. Department of Education, and is moderated by Lynda Terrill of CAELA. Three special week-long discussions with content experts are taking place this spring:

Teaching Writing to Adult English Language Learners  
May 7-11, 2007
Facilitator: Sharon McKay

Content Standards in Adult ESL                                 
May 21-25, 2007
Facilitators: Kirsten Schaetzel and Sarah Young

Just Finished
Adult ESL in the Workplace                                 
April 16-20, 2007
Facilitators: Miriam Burt and Sharon McKay
Read the discussion summary at ESLworkdiscussion.html

Approximately one week before each session, the moderator provides a brief background for and context of the topic, as well as pre-discussion readings, and questions for reflection. During the week of the discussion, the facilitators respond to questions and comments from the list subscribers. After each session, a summary of the discussion is posted on the CAELA Web site. (

New on the CAELA Web site

Using Adult ESL Content Standards, CAELA’s newest brief, is now on the Web! (
Authors: CAELA staff members Kirsten Schaetzel and Sarah Young
This brief begins with historical information about content standards and then describes the processes that adult ESL teachers and program administrators can follow to align the lesson planning, classroom activities, performance assessment, and professional development with the content standards.

Helping Adult English Language Learners Transition from Adult ESL Programs into Other Adult Education Programs, Vocational Programs, and Postsecondary Education, an online resource collection - Coming Fall 2007


Other new portions of the CAELA Web site:

An interview with Kate Singleton, healthcare social worker, former adult ESL instructor, and author of Picture Stories for ESL Health Literacy. The interview addresses health literacy concerns for teachers and adult immigrant learners. ( Other topics on the Tools section have been updated and extended.

ESL Activities for African-American History Month. part of ESL Resouces section of the Web site was updated in Febuary in time for African-American History Month

What's New From CAL?

New Resources from the Cultural Orientation Resource Center

Stay up to date about publications, resources, and news of interest from CAL. The resources of the Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics address the challenges facing refugees new to the United States and offer guidance to service providers.

To sign up to receive periodic email announcements from CAL, visit and click on Join Our List.

Culture Profiles

Culture Profiles provide brief overviews of the language and cultural backgrounds of refugee populations. The newest culture profile is described here.

The Meskhetian Turks: An Introduction to their History, Culture, and Resettlement Experiences 
This profile provides general information about Meskhetian Turks and their history. Topics covered include the culture, language, and education of Meskhetian Turk communities around the world, resettlement in the United States, and recommended readings.
Download this culture profile at
Order print copies at CAL store at

Refugee Groups from Burma - Coming Soon
This profile will provide detailed information about refugee groups from Burma, including Burmans, the Chin, the Karen, and the Karenni. Topics covered include history, refugee experiences, language and education, and resettlement needs.

Refugee Backgrounders

In the tradition of the culture profiles, refugee backgrounders provide information about new refugee groups for U.S. resettlement workers but in a smaller digest format. Backgrounders include sections on the need for resettlement of the group in the United States, cultural attributes of the group, resettlement considerations, and a one-page statistical summary.

Banyamulenge Tutsi (Backgrounder Number 1)
In February 2007, the United States, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the U.S. Department of State, began resettling about 600 Banyamulenge Tutsi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To help U.S. resettlement agency staff better understand and assist these refugee newcomers, this backgrounder provides basic information about the Banyamulenge Tutsi in general and the Gatumba massacre survivors in particular.
Download the latest backgrounder at
Order print copies at CAL store at

1972 Burundians - Coming Soon –
To help U.S. refugee service providers better understand this new refugee group, this backgrounder will address the following questions: Who are the 1972 Burundians? Why are they being resettled in the United States? What are their cultural practices and background characteristics? What will their resettlement needs be?
Watch the COR Center Web site at for details.

Teaching Reading to Adult English Language Learners: Workshops in Virginia


The Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center ( and a cadre of expert trainers are presenting “Teaching Reading to Adult English Language Learners” (a module from the draft CAELA Guide for Adult ESL Trainers) to adult ESL practitioners throughout Virginia. This 7-hour module is adapted from a 15-hour training, Teaching Reading to Adult English Language Learners: A Reading Instruction Staff Development Program, available online. ( This training was prepared and piloted by the Center for Applied Linguistics for the Adult ESOL Program, Office of Adult and Community Education, Fairfax (VA) County Public Schools and published in 2005.

Participants in the training must complete a mini-course—an overview of the Virginia Content Standards—before attending. The training explicitly aligns adult ESL reading with Virginia’s Content Standards. 
For more information about the Virginia trainings or the Virginia Adult Resource Center, contact Nancy Faux at

For more information about the CAELA Guide for Adult ESL Trainers, go to or contact CAELA at


New Report on Citizenship Issues

A resource that may be of interest to adult ESL programs and organizations working with immigrants is the new report from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan. The report includes information, commentaries, and analysis related to immigrant learners, the naturalization process, and citizenship. For example, Chapter 7, “Preparing Immigrant Learners for Citizenship,” includes such topics as “Different Learners, Different Services” (p. 59), “ESL and Citizenship Models” (p. 68), and “In-Class Curricula Priorities for Integrated Citizenship Models” (p. 74). Other chapters include “Characteristics of a Successful Local Citizenship Program” (p. 85) and “Recent Naturalization and Citizenship Projects: Lessons Learned for A National Citizenship Program” (p. 101).
The report can be viewed and printed by going to CLINIC's Web site. (
To order a bound copy or to contact CLINIC.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
415 Michigan Avenue, NE, Ste. 150
Washington, DC 20017