In the Minnesota adult basic education system, ESL learners (as defined by the National Reporting System) make up roughly half of our students statewide. Of course, there are English learners in non-ESL (ABE) levels as well! Language learners do not check their language issues at the door when they test out of ESL-specific offerings in programs.

In addition, learning academic language, the language of access in our society, is a second language for everyone. Offering strong language development is a key component of our work in ABE, across all proficiency levels and teaching contexts. In response, ATLAS offers a number of professional development (PD) activities to support language development.

Language & Literacy Institute

One of our primary activities for improving ESL instruction is hosting the Language & Literacy Institute, a two-day, intensive training that takes place in late January each year. The large event brings together reading, writing, and ESL educators in ABE to collaborate with and learn from one another. The Language & Literacy Institute is organized by the Language & Literacy Advisory Team, and we offer an array of  workshops on reading and literacy instruction topics that have emerged as priorities in the state.s In addition, we offer the CCR (College & Career Readiness) English Language Arts (ELA) Foundation workshop in conjunction with this event each year.

Language Instruction Study Circles

Study circles are small learning groups of practitioners who meet several times with a facilitator to learn together around a specific topic. Prior to each session, participants read a selection of relevant research on the study circle topic, and they may be assigned written or classroom-based reflection tasks to complete as well. ATLAS offers a number of language instruction study circles, which are described below.

Study Circle Facilitator Guides

Practitioners are also encouraged to make use of our Study Circle Facilitator Guides, which provide step-by-step suggestions for conducting study circles no matter where your program is based:

Study Circles

Integrating Language & Numeracy Study Circle

The purpose of this study circle is to advance Minnesota ABE teachers’ ability to effectively and confidently integrate numeracy instruction and English language instruction. It is appropriate for teachers of all levels of English and math within Minnesota ABE, as teachers adapt tasks for their own levels and classrooms. Study circle participants explore relevant research and its implications for best practices in the classroom, as well as engaging in both at-home reading and reflective classroom tasks that inform and deepen discussions and allow for maximum professional growth.

Pronunciation Study Circle

This study circle is a professional learning activity for adult ESL teachers who are interested in integrating effective pronunciation instruction into their regular teaching practice. Study circle participants analyze the pronunciation needs of learners with diverse cultural backgrounds and English ability levels, explore relevant research and its implications for targeted pronunciation instruction, and actively engage in pronunciation instruction within their own teaching practices. Participants engage in both at-home reading and reflective classroom tasks that inform and deepen discussions and allow for maximum professional growth.

Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle I

This study circle is a professional learning activity for teachers of low-literate adult ESL students – those learners with little or no first-language literacy. With a special focus on reading development for these learners, teachers explore relevant research and its implications for best practices in the classroom. Study circle participants engage in both at-home reading and reflective classroom tasks that inform and deepen discussions and allow for maximum professional growth.

Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle II: Next Steps in Designing Balanced Instruction

This study circle is a professional learning activity for teachers of low-literate adult ESL students – those learners with little or no first-language literacy. A follow-up to Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle I, this circle focuses on balancing oral and written skills instruction in the classroom, in addition to establishing strong instructional routines that guide students to more independent and effective learning. Study circle participants explore relevant research and its implications for best practices in the classroom, as well as engaging in both at-home reading and reflective classroom tasks that inform and deepen discussions and allow for maximum professional growth.

Advisory Teams

Language & Literacy Advisory Team

The Language & Literacy Advisory Team (LLATé) is an ATLAS-sponsored team designed to strengthen language, reading, and writing instruction in Minnesota through relevant, meaningful, and effective professional development for practitioners.

The Advisory Team is responsible for visioning and the creating a long-term strategic plan for language & literacy PD in Minnesota, as well as specific tasks yearly to support established PD efforts, such as the January Language & Literacy Institute.

New ESL Resources

Project-Based Learning Resources

In this resource library you can learn more about project-based learning (PBL) and see sample projects contributed by local MN ABE practitioners.

Teaching Academic Writing to Adult English Learners

This PowerPoint shares the importance of teaching academic writing in the 21st century; report on a 2014-2015 survey of adult ESL writing instruction; briefly describe ten approaches that are better aligned with academic writing skill development; and conclude with references for exploration by ABE/ESL writing teachers.

ESL Yes!

This website offers 1600 FREE stories intended for Beginning and Intermediate level ESL students. Most of the stories have accompanying audios, and some provide two audio speeds: normal and slow. Many of the stories have vocabulary, cloze, scrambled sentences, crosswords, and dictation exercises.
ESL

ESL Resource Library »

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Upcoming ABE Events

August 1, 2019 1:00 pm–12:00 pm
ATLAS
Northwest Technical College
905 Grant Ave SE
Bemidji, 56601

NW EBRI Training: Bridging Alphabetics and Fluency Across Levels

Northwest Technical College
905 Grant Ave SE
Bemidji, 56601

Registration Deadline: MON. 7/15/19 Presented by Marn Frank, ATLAS Literacy & STAR Coordinator: Thursday, August 1 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. AND Friday, August 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon This afternoon and morning training over two days is focused on alphabetics and fluency, also known… Learn More

Northwest Technical College
905 Grant Ave SE
Bemidji, 56601
August 1, 2019 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Minnesota Literacy Council
Minnesota Literacy Council – main office
700 Raymond Ave., Ste. 180
Saint Paul, MN 55114 United States

An Overview of Karen History, Culture and Language

Minnesota Literacy Council – main office
700 Raymond Ave., Ste. 180
Saint Paul, MN 55114 United States

Registration Deadline: THU. 8/1/19 The Karen are an ethnic group from the mountainous border regions of Burma and Thailand. They have long been subject to persecution and ethnic cleansing by the Burmese government, leading to their resettlement to Minnesota. There are approximately 17,000 Karen living in Minnesota, and… Learn More

Minnesota Literacy Council – main office
700 Raymond Ave., Ste. 180
Saint Paul, MN 55114 United States
August 14, 2019 12:00 am–11:59 pm
Literacy Action Network
St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center
10 - 4th Ave. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301 United States

2019 ABE Summer Institute

St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center
10 - 4th Ave. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301 United States

Registration Deadline: WED. 8/14/19 (NOTE: Registrations after July 19 will incur a $25 late fee. Cancellations will not be accepted after July 26; no refunds will be granted after this deadline.) ABE Summer Institute is Minnesota’s annual statewide Adult Basic Education conference. The Institute is co-sponsored by Literacy Action Network… Learn More

St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center
10 - 4th Ave. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301 United States