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:

Study Circles

Integrating Language & Numeracy Study Circle

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.

Pronunciation Study Circle

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.

Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle I

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.

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

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.

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

Emergent Readers

This website contains instructions for scaffolding reading texts and speaking activities for literacy level learners, resource lists, and videos of literacy level classroom instruction.

5 Minute English

Learners will find short lessons and explanations on a variety of topics, including reading, grammar, listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, and idioms. After each lesson, there is a short comprehension quiz for learners to test their understanding.

Learn English Free: EnglishClub

EnglishClub is a free website designed to help beginning to advanced English Language Learners develop their English skills. Learners can find activities and materials to learn about and practice listening, reading, pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Teachers can also find materials and lesson plans.
ESL

ESL Resource Library »

Newsletter Signup

Get MN ABE Connect—the official source for ABE events, activities, and resources!

Sign Up

Latest ESL Articles

MELEd 2019: Sharing What We Learned at the State ESL Conference – Part II

In late November 2019, ATLAS sponsored 18 ABE teachers to attend this state ESL gathering (MELEd) in St. Paul. MELEd draws over 1100 ESL educators from around the state, working in K-12, college, and adult learning contexts. In Part II of this article, we hear from several more of our ABE attendees of the state ESL conference, MELEd, and what they found particularly useful! Read More

2020 Language & Literacy Institute: Registration now open!

Mark your calendars for the 2020 Language & Literacy Institute on January 23-24! This is ATLAS’s largest event each year, a two-day conference that you will NOT want to miss! Registration is now OPEN, so register on the ATLAS website. Read More

Upcoming ABE Events

January 24, 2020 8:00 am–4:00 pm
ATLAS
Delta Marriott Minneapolis Northeast
1330 Industrial Blvd. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413 United States

STAR 20 Cohort – Meeting 2

Delta Marriott Minneapolis Northeast
1330 Industrial Blvd. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413 United States

A training by Marn Frank and Terrisa Fisher, ATLAS, for participants accepted through an application process. This training will be held in conjunction with the Language & Literacy Institute on Friday, January 24, 2020. Learn More

Delta Marriott Minneapolis Northeast
1330 Industrial Blvd. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413 United States
January 27, 2020 1:00 pm–2:15 pm
Burlington English
Online

Prepare for CASAS: Test Practice and Reporting with BurlingtonEnglish

Online

Registration Deadline: MON. 1/27/20 Do you want to help your students improve their performance on their NRS assessments? Join us and other teachers to learn how Test Practice and Progress Reporting within Prepare for CASAS can help your students improve their test-taking skills, achieve higher test scores, and… Learn More

Online
January 28, 2020 6:30 pm–8:30 pm
Minnesota Literacy Council
Minnesota Literacy Council – main office
700 Raymond Ave., Ste. 180
Saint Paul, MN 55114 United States

How Adult Brains Learn Languages

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

Registration Deadline: TUES. 1/28/20 Learn what research has to say about how adult brains learn a new language, and what how this influences the teaching practices that we use in the language classroom. Engage in discussions with fellow tutors on how we can apply these suggestions while… Learn More

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