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This three-part workshop is based on what the research tells us about non-literate learners, why they learn differently, the basic skills they need, and how you can teach these skills.


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • ESOL teachers who have some experience working with English language learners (ELs) who lack literacy skills

Adult ELs with no print literacy present a special challenge to adult ESOL teachers and programs. Because they cannot be taught with the usual ESOL materials, it can be difficult to serve these learners effectively in a mixed-level class.  

Part 1: Friday, November 17, 2017, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

In the face-to-face session, you will learn what research teaches us about the following:

  • How non-literacy affects learning for adults
  • What non-literate adults lack in the way of learning skills and information-processing skills
  • What foundation skills (in particular, phonological processing skills) must be in place for non-literate learners to be able to move into literacy successfully

Before the follow-up online video sessions, you will:

  • Receive instruction on how to include foundation phonological skills in your teaching and how to avoid some pitfalls that make learning difficult for non-literate adults
  • Choose one or two teaching strategies to try in your own classes and then report on in the follow-up sessions

Follow-Up Video Sessions (connection information will be sent in advance of the follow-up sessions):

  • Part 2: December 8, 2017, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
  • Part 3: January 12, 2018, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

In the two follow-up online video sessions, you will:

  • Report on what you tried in your classroom 
  • Hear and learn from your colleagues’ experiences 
  • Clarify anything you are unsure about
  • Discover resources for learning more about this adult population and how best to teach them 
Learning Objectives: 

Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify three ways in which non-literate adult ELs differ from literate learners
  • Explain how teaching pre-literacy language skills creates a foundation for literacy
  • Evaluate at least four instructional materials as to their suitability for use with non-literate adult ELs
  • Identify two approaches to classroom management that will benefit non-literate adult ELs who are part of a mixed-level class

Preferred, but not absolutely necessary: Some experience teaching English as an additional or other language, and some experience teaching reading

11/17/2017 - 9:30am to 3:30pm
World Ed Room 6A/6B
44 Farnsworth St.
Boston, MA
PD Center: 
Topic Area: 
ESOL/English Language Learner
PDP Eligible: 
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