Literacy and Beginning Level ESL teachers are finding creative ways to continue to deliver high-quality instruction to their learners from a distance! On May 29, 2020, a trio of beginning level teachers ESL shared their approaches to distance education in an ATLAS webinar attended by participants from as far away as Australia! Read More
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. 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:
The purpose of this study circle is to advance Adult Basic Education 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.
This study circle is a professional learning activity for Adult Basic Education 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.
This study circle is a professional learning activity for teachers of low-literate Adult Basic Education 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.
This study circle is a professional learning activity for Adult Basic Education 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.
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
Do you teach non-native speakers of English? The MELEd (Minnesota English Learner Education) conference coming up on Nov. 20-21, 2020, is the state's premiere professional gathering for anyone who works with English language learners. Consider presenting; the deadline for proposals has been extended to June 12! Read More
Registration Deadline: TUES. 7/7/20 Whether you are teaching one learner on WhatsApp or large group on Zoom, lesson planning is a critical part of ensuring learner success with virtual instruction. During this webinar, you will learn how to design lessons so that both the teacher and the… Learn More
Registration Deadline: THU. 7/9/20 Join Literacy Minnesota Adult Basic Education and ESL trainers for a virtual workshop on how to be an effective tutor from a distance! Learn best practices for connecting and communicating one-on-one with adult learners on the phone or online, get suggestions for correcting… Learn More
Registration Deadline: THU. 7/9/20 At the last COVID-19 and ABE Updates webinar on June 25, participants expressed interest in an opportunity to connect and brainstorm more about planning for ABE programming in the fall. You are invited to join in this follow-up discussion on Thursday, July 9. This… Learn More