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Heide Spruck Wrigley Aguirre International W hat Works in ESL Literacy?

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Presentation on theme: "Heide Spruck Wrigley Aguirre International W hat Works in ESL Literacy?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Heide Spruck Wrigley Aguirre International W hat Works in ESL Literacy?

2 Immigrants and Refugees  90s higher than any other decade in 20 th C.  Over 30 million foreign-born  8 m. don’t speak English well or not at all  43% from Spanish speaking countries  30 % from Mexico  2/3 of immigrants from Mexico don’t have a high school education  26% percent – Asian Pacific Islanders  Of those 43% - report limited proficiency

3 Who Are ESL Literacy Learners?  Immigrants from Mexico (and Haiti)  Refugees  Hmong ( in the U.S.)  Somali Bantu (10 000)  Sudanese (death and displacement; “lost boys”)

4 Characteristics of Adult ESL Literacy Students  Able to navigate systems without relying on print (are able to build conceptual maps)  Have store of sight words and “language gambits” that they depend on  Use compensation strategies to make up for lack of experience with print (knowledge of how the world works allows for “informed guessing”)

5 ESL Literacy Students  Six years or fewer of schooling  Pulled out or pushed out of school in the early grades  Schooling interrupted by war or civil strive  Low levels of native language literacy  Difficulty succeeding in a regular ESL class as teacher moves from oral language to print

6 Barriers to Language and Literacy Learning  Print is seen as a secret code, not accessible – takes time to “break the code”  Low levels of confidence in their own ability to learn and remember  Acquiring English language skills while trying to master the print system is cognitively very challenging

7 Learners’ Views  Reading means reading aloud fluently and accurately  Writing means copying and having nice hand-writing  Reasons for wanting to acquire literacy differ (Tenants’ rights, Catalogue)  Want to know every word before they attempt to make meaning

8 Students in the Study  500 Literacy students defined as having fewer than six years of formal education and little or no literacy in any language (verified with a writing sample)  Over 20 languages represented but most students were:  Spanish speaking from Mexico (58%)  Spanish speaking from other countries (10%)  Hmong (7%)  Somali (8%)  Average age 41, most students female (74%)  Average formal education of 3.1 years, but Hmong and Somali had almost no education (0-1 year)

9 Things We Know For Sure

10 Literacy is Multidimensional  Emergent literacy (for non-literates, print is like wallpaper)  literacy for self-expression (refrigerator poetry)  functional literacy (create functional print)  literacy for “self-defense” (legal issues)  “I lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks” (critical literacy)  literacy as a tool for social change (civics)  literacy for “new times” (technology)

11 Language, Literacy & Learning  The brain is not pre-wired for reading and writing  Reading and writing are school-based skills  You need to learn to read just once  Learning takes  Engagement  Focus  Practice

12 What it takes to read & write  Bottom-Up Skills  associated with decoding  Top down Skills  Associated with meaning making and comprehension  The mind recreates (or constructs) a message or text – it does not remember “as is” Bottom-up and top down skills work together. Both are necessary. Neither is sufficient.

13 Thingamajigs They are all over my house! Most are little, but some are huge. The baby loves them. I hate them and wish I could get rid of them. But it’s not that easy!

14 Components of Reading & Writing  Alphabetics  Phonemic Awareness  Fluency  Accuracy  Rate  Rhythm and expression  Vocabulary  Comprehension

15 Capturing the Teaching/Learning Experience Learning opportunities  Do students get a chance to  express their own ideas  solve problems  practice new skills  see patterns and understand “how things work” Instructional strategies  Does the teacher  link classroom learning to students’ lives  give clear instructions and provide feedback  Offer multiple opportunities to “get it”

16 English Language Development ESL Focus, including  Controlled practice and open-ended communication  Vocabulary development and idioms  “How English works”  Connecting oral and written English  Language functions  Socio-cultural knowledge  Learning the language of math

17 Elements of L2 Reading  Initial or emergent literacy (focus on “enabling” skills, related to phonemic awareness or fluenc)  Literacy for school (structured school-based tasks)  Literacy for self-expression (personal stories; poetry)  Functional literacy  Critical literacy (to question; to challenge)  Literacy for “new times” (technology-mediated)

18 Learn German in Five Minutes

19 Mein Bruder heisst Harald. Er wohnt in Heidelberg. Er hat drei Kinder, Judith, Simon und Gabriel. Seine Frau heisst Gisela. Jedes Jahr, im Herbst, gehen sie auf’s Octoberfest. Sie essen Wurst und Sauerkraut und Rotkraut und trinking viel Bier. Dann tanzen sie. Alle freuen sich! My Brother Harald

20 Methods to Capture Literacy

21 Observation Guide  Class is described  Observer keeps running record  Observer codes, using glossary and examples as guide  Monitor double checks  Background variables and codes become part of the analysis

22 Findings

23 Key Findings – Attendance  Students attend about 2/3 of the time (average), even if class is mandatory  If class meets more often per week– associated with positive growth  Students who enrolled during the first three weeks of class attended more hours per week and attended longer  In terms of outcomes, rate of attendance (% of time) makes a difference – rather than total number of hours

24 Findings: Basic Reading Skills Growth in reading basic skills (WJR-BRSC)  “Connection to the outside” strategy  Younger students have higher growth  Years of formal education (proxy for native language literacy), but fades over time  Initial English oral proficiency (BEST score)

25 Findings: Reading Comprehension Growth in reading comprehension skills (WJR- RCC)  Use of students’ native language in instruction.  Rate of attendance (proportion of hours student attends weekly by hours offered weekly).  Initial basic reading skills (BRSC score) – effect emerges slowly over time (quadratic effect).

26 Findings: Oral English Skills Growth in Oral English Skills (BEST)  Use of students’ native language in instruction  Oral communication instructional emphasis  Varied practice and interaction strategy  Higher rate of attendance  Student age (younger students have higher growth)  Initial basic reading skills (BRSC score)

27 Summary: Instructional Findings  Bringing in the Outside – growth in basic reading skills.  Direct connection to students’ lives makes instruction meaningful.  Use of Native Language – growth in reading comprehension and oral English skills.  Removes comprehension barriers.  Comfortable learning environment.  Allows critical thinking skills.

28 Implications for Practice

29 Bringing in the Outside  Connect the classroom to the community  Highlight links between learning and living  Provide a context (using visuals to set the stage)

30 Bringing in the Outside  Use of realia (real foods; household items)  “Environmental print” (flyers; inserts; labels; signs)  Mailbox items (bills; notes from school; letters from the INS)  Tasks for neighborhood contexts (visit to store; laundromat; fast food place)

31 Varied Practice and Interaction  Don’t try to do too much – but vary modality; layer instruction  Give students a chance to try out English in different ways – help them gain confidence and competence  Use (some) direct teaching – draw students’ attention to patterns and rules (discovery grammar)  Allow sufficient opportunities for practice, particularly for those new to literacy

32 Use of the Native Language  Preview/review  Short explanations  Focused tasks in English or L1  Extended opportunities to ‘think in English and use English  Opportunities to discuss a topic in L1  Opportunity to ask questions in L1

33 Implications for Programs  Provide staff development on ESL literacy  Find ways to assess for levels of native language literacy, not just English proficiency  Offer shorter, more intensive classes and consider managed enrollment

34 What About the Men?

35 Finally “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats Finally

36 GOTTAGO See You Next Time


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