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Learning Strategies

From the classroom of Amy Vickers, Minneapolis ABE

English as a Second Language Podcast

English as a Second Language Podcast was developed to help students learn English by listening to short, engaging conversations about high interest topics. Use it with your ELL students to help them develop essential learning strategies such as making predictions, making use of background knowledge to understand new ideas and identifying main idea when reading and listening. The podcasts are organized by categories, such as travel, business, daily life, dining and entertainment. Each podcast conversation is approximately 1-2 minutes in length, and it is followed by an explanation of some of the key vocabulary and phrases.

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Growth Mindset Toolkit

Having a growth mindset helps learners to be more successful and persistent as they work towards their goals. This resource includes research about the benefits of fostering a growth mindset and videos and lesson plans that will help teachers talk about mindset with their students. There are ideas for giving praise, celebrating mistakes, and providing assessment and feedback that all work to build a growth mindset culture in the classroom. Using activities from the Transitions Integration Framework (TIF) is a great way to build your students' transition skills while also developing a growth mindset.

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In Their Own Words: Reading and Understanding through Paraphrasing

Metro Spring 2015 Regional - Vicki Estrem & Pam Ampferer

Effective paraphrasing builds students' reading and writing skills and boosts comprehension of complex texts. This valuable strategy can be used across all content areas with students of various reading levels. Summarized here are materials and techniques for teaching paraphrasing in various ABE contexts, including addressing paraphrasing for the GED 2014 Extended Response. (This session was geared toward teachers of intermediate to advanced readers and to both native and non-native speakers of English.)

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NYSED/CUNY CareerKit Project

The NYSED/CUNY CareerKit Project is a library of hundreds of contextualized high-quality lessons that instructors can pick and choose from to suit the needs of their learners and program. The kits were developed to introduce learners to careers in ten different sectors, while also building core reading, writing, research and math skills. According to the CareerKit Project website, “Each CareerKit activity fulfills a dual purpose – the acquisition of career information and the development of language, literacy and numeracy skills that support achievement on standardized tests.” The project includes a table of skills that allows users to find career-related activities that reinforce the basic skills (reading, writing and math) that they are already working on.

The ten career sectors are:

  • Healthcare
  • Technology 
  • Community and Social Services
  • Education and Childcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality, Recreation, and the Arts
  • Food Production
  • Retail
  • Construction
  • Transportation and Warehousing

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice is a learning strategy that focuses on getting information out of students’ heads, rather than getting it in. It is the idea that students need to practice recalling and using the information that they learn in class on a regular basis and not just when it’s time for a test or quiz. In other words, it requires teachers to create low-stakes opportunities for students to remember what they learned in previous lessons and units as a learning tool rather than an assessment tool. Research shows that retrieval practice is a very powerful learning strategy, and the good news is that most teachers are probably already using it. The Retrieval Practice website was created by a cognitive research scientist to be “a hub of research, resources, and teaching strategies based on the science of learning.”

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