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

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

Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle II is 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.

Like our other language instruction study circles, it involves reading a selection of relevant research and completing various classroom-based reflection tasks. During the 3 meetings of 3 hours each, participants discuss the readings and tasks and explore together how research can inform classroom practice.


The objectives of the study circle are to:

  1. Identify the varied roles teachers play in order to cover the wide range of content taught in Low-Literacy Adult ESL classrooms.
  2. Become familiar with frameworks and strategies for building balanced instruction into big picture planning and daily lessons.
  3. Through various resources and discussions, prepare to implement organizational and structural improvements to your  low-literacy adult ESL classroom to benefit students’ wide range of abilities and needs.

Topics include:

  • Using the CCRS at low levels of ESL instruction
  • Balancing language vs. literacy content
  • Designing “blocks” of instruction
  • Creating a classroom environment that is optimized for low-literacy adult ESL

Benefits of participation

Participants earn 15 CEUs plus a $100 stipend for completing all the requirements for a study circle, including attendance at all 3 meetings. (No partial stipends will be awarded.) Priority for slots is given to current paid staff of MN ABE programs.

Here is what some of our participants have said about their experience:

  • “Really thought the research literature was relevant and interesting to discuss with others. Great to have the research organized in a way that is easy to get to and can be very useful beyond the study circle.”
  • “I liked hearing what other people are doing in their classrooms and what is working for them. It was informative and also inspiring!”
  • “I felt this was one of the most valuable professional development activities I have ever had. There have been a lot of them, but this is and will remain a high point going forward.”

Interested in participating in a study circle?

Contact your program manager, who can connect with ATLAS to see if we can offer it in your locale!

You are also welcome to make use of our Low-Literacy Adult ESL Study Circle II Facilitator Guide, which provides step-by-step suggestions for conducting study circles no matter where your program is based.