Featured Adult Education Innovations for May 2018
Interactive English Curriculum
Intercambio Uniting Communities
The immigrant experience is difficult and complex. Both recent arrivals and long-term residents are often isolated by language and cultural barriers. By learning English, understanding cultural norms, and forming personal connections immigrants can change their lives—and the lives of their families— for years to come. Learning English is essential, but immigrants also need the confidence to use their English and create personal connections.
Intercambio’s “Interactive English” curriculum meets specific needs of adult immigrants for increased confidence speaking English in real-life situations. Our curriculum promotes personal connections by making English teaching accessible to all community members, regardless of experience. Real-life topics such as employment, transportation, finances, health, and schools are integrated into lessons. We share materials and resources with adult ELL programs in hundreds of cities.
Intercambio has supported 10,000 adult immigrants in Colorado and 100,000 nationally. In a 2016 survey of students, half were earning more money after attending classes, and the average was $3 more per hour (median family income is $25,000). 81% of students increased confidence speaking English; 90% felt confident after classes. Almost two-thirds of those with children were very involved in their education. Parents reported higher high school graduation rates than the area averages for Latino students.
Adult Academic Program: Student Advisory Board
Robbinsdale Area Schools
The AAP identified a need to encourage student input into program operations and assist with new student integration to enhance persistence. Student Advisory Board (SAB) attendance was inconsistent, and the group had trouble focusing and making substantive input. Two new roles were identified to bring focus to their work: assisting with integration of new students and aiding students in the Resource Room. As a result, 8 lessons were developed for SAB members to teach necessary related content.
Two teachers, with support and input from the director and others, wrote and taught the eight lessons. Topics helpful to SAB members in enhancing their function as a body and in their work as new student mentors and Resource Room guides were chosen for the lessons. The lessons are as follows: What is Leadership, Communication Perception and Style: Active Listening, Trust and Confidentiality in Peer Relationships, Telephone and Internet skills, Resolution and Peer Mediation, and in process: Stress Management/Mental Health, and Self-Empowerment. SAB members attended meetings and participated in learning the content through a variety of means such as direct instruction, cooperative groups, discussions, and role play.
SAB participants have demonstrated leadership at both the school and district level. Two have become members of the Community Ed Advisory Council; one was hired to staff our Student Resource Room. Individual members increased their involvement in mentoring new students, and attendance of SAB members improved. Participants also seem more self-assured. These efforts are still at an early stage. As SAB members complete training and gain experience, more positive outcomes are expected.
Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara Inc.
Despite being one of the largest areas for Yemeni resettlement in the United States, many immigrants living in Lackawanna, NY are unable to access much-needed literacy and ESL services. Though many services are available in neighboring Buffalo, major transportation barriers exist in Lackawanna which prevent many residents from accessing these essential services. As a result, many residents struggle with English and reading, inhibiting their ability to assimilate or find gainful employment.
Since Lackawanna residents couldn’t access the literacy services in Buffalo because of transportation barriers, we brought the services directly to the residents by starting a Literacy Drop In Center at the Lackawanna Library. This is a site based tutoring program at a set time each week with on-site tutors available to work with residents that need literacy services. The program was placed at a central location along a major bus route to make it easily accessible to city residents. Volunteer tutors from the community were trained to address the different needs of residents including improving their reading or writing, learning English as a second language, or studying for citizenship.
Since launching at the end of January, the project has been incredibly well received. In the first four months, we have been able to provide 361 hours of literacy tutoring to 37 Lackawanna residents. As a result, Lackawanna residents who previously couldn’t access literacy services are now getting the essential tutoring services they need in reading, writing, and speaking that will open pathways to expanded opportunities for employment, naturalization, and long-term success.
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Adult Education Innovations
Educators across the country are developing new ways to manage the complexities of helping adult students elevate themselves through education. Learn how adult educators are getting creative!
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