Instructional Routines for Adult Education Classroom Interaction

April 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Posted in ESOL, Family Learning, Lesson Plans, Teaching | Leave a comment

As you may have previously read, I recently attended the National Conference on Family Literacy in San Antonio, TX. While I was at the conference, I attended a lecture on an adult education/family literacy program in a public school in Springdale, AR. The presenters shared many ESOL activities that have been success for learners and instructors in their program. The population of the school district is 90% ESOL, mostly Hispanic with a few immigrants from the Marshall Islands. The session focused on instructional techniques and resources that are appropriate for adult learners. Some of the techniques discussed were demonstrated using a video of the classes in action.

The techniques demonstrated included:

  • Think/Pair/Share: This is a group work activity. The presenters encouraged programs to ask teachers to track the amount of time spent on group work they assign in class in minutes or percentages. This would allow for teacher self-awareness and prevent too much lecturing.
  • Compound Words and Matching Words Egg Activity
    • The teacher wrote compound words onto plastic Easter eggs and placed the students in small groups for them to match the two halves of the eggs.
    • After matching the egg halves, each group was given an assignment with the words. The activity can be modified for any words that match together, not only compound words.
    • It’s a great multilevel activity because the eggs can be color-coded or sorted by level of difficulty.
    • Follow-up activities can also be tailored to skill level, with some groups writing the words down, others creating short sentences and more advanced students tackling paragraphs.
  • Student Interviews
  • Alphabet Ball: This activity is very similar to the ball of questions created by our former AmeriCorps; this ball had the alphabet written out on it, when tossed the students had to say a word that began with the letter their finger was touching.
  • Paper Plate Sequencing: After reading a children’s book, the students placed the events from the book in sequence using paper plates. The students practiced sequencing vocabulary, such as “before,” “after,” “first,” “next.”
  • Total Physical Response to Music: In the video the parents were responding to a children’s song: “stand up, sit down”, etc.
  • Getting to know people in the school: Since these were family literacy classes in public school settings, one teacher had the parents experience a class with the school’s art teacher. Another group went outside with the P.E teacher and learned how to play kickball.

Other resources they mentioned for adults:

  • Easy English News (a newspaper targeted for ESOL students).
  • News For You (a newspaper targeted toward Basic students).
  • Smart Boards (such as mimio). We will have access to one at the James Lee Community Center in the Fall, thanks to a partnership with Fairfax County Adult Classes. Many public schools have this technology available.

Overall, the conference was extremely helpful.  I came away with many great ideas to implement in our programs here at LCNV, and I’m not done sharing them. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

~Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Specialist

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