Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Teaching English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Dr. Sedique Popal

Abstract

Immigrants who enter the United States come with varying degrees of education. Some immigrants come with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and some come with very limited schooling or no schooling at all. Yet many immigrants or refugees that come to the United States with low literacy in their native language, and limited English proficiency never enroll in an ESL class. There are many causes attributed to this lack of enrollment: learners’ embarrassment and anxiety to admitting their lack of literacy, class scheduling conflicts, long waiting lists, and the English-only approach taken by most ESL classes in the United States.

This handbook includes a series of lessons for instructors and volunteers who are working with this target group of learners, possibly for the first time. In the beginning, it may be hard for new instructors and volunteers to find shared interests and themes to use with learners from different cultural backgrounds, so the five lessons in the handbook work as an effective starting off point. It provides lessons that instructors can use from the outset, and they do not have to create themselves.

The lessons employ the Language Experience Approach (LEA), which centers on learner-generated content that the learner themselves create by drawing on their lived experiences, their cultures, and their oral traditions. Using LEA will help the instructor to begin to build a relationship immediately with the learner, and the learner could immediately begin communicating in English about things with which they are already familiar. This approach will also develop the learners’ reading, listening, and writing skills.

Comments

Immigrants who enter the United States come with varying degrees of education. Some immigrants come with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and some come with very limited schooling or no schooling at all. Yet many immigrants or refugees that come to the United States with low literacy in their native language, and limited English proficiency never enroll in an ESL class. There are many causes attributed to this lack of enrollment: learners’ embarrassment and anxiety to admitting their lack of literacy, class scheduling conflicts, long waiting lists, and the English-only approach taken by most ESL classes in the United States.

This handbook includes a series of lessons for instructors and volunteers who are working with this target group of learners, possibly for the first time. In the beginning, it may be hard for new instructors and volunteers to find shared interests and themes to use with learners from different cultural backgrounds, so the five lessons in the handbook work as an effective starting off point. It provides lessons that instructors can use from the outset, and they do not have to create themselves.

The lessons employ the Language Experience Approach (LEA), which centers on learner-generated content that the learner themselves create by drawing on their lived experiences, their cultures, and their oral traditions. Using LEA will help the instructor to begin to build a relationship immediately with the learner, and the learner could immediately begin communicating in English about things with which they are already familiar. This approach will also develop the learners’ reading, listening, and writing skills.

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