Rethinking How We Offer ESL to Adults

woman and man studying at table

In the United States today, we are capable of meeting the needs of just four percent of the adult immigrants who need access to educational services.  This is distressingly low, but there’s action we can take to address this issue and far better serve this population.

Clearly, it’s time to dramatically rethink how we offer English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults.  The only way we will be able to go from helping 4% of the population to, say, 50% of the population, is by leveraging the resources we have in a more effective and efficient way.  We need to teach the right things, faster, to way more people.

The good news is that we know how to do that.  Used appropriately, technology can help us extend our reach and improve the quality of instruction, which will give immigrants the tools they need to take care of their families and establish themselves as U.S. residents.  We can build effective language programs for workplaces and adult education centers that are designed to meet the real-world needs of learners, offer personalized instruction, and demonstrate efficacy.

If you’d like to learn how, please come to my webinar on Monday, Nov. 5th, at 2pm EST.  It is hosted by COABE—the Coalition on Adult Basic Education—and it will walk teachers and program administrators through how to conduct a language needs analysis for their non-native English speakers, and then how to use the results to design innovative, forward-thinking programs that integrate language instruction with skills development in order to improve outcomes for English Language Learners (ELLs).  Ensuring that our educational programs are as helpful and far-reaching as possible is one powerful thing that we can do to help welcome new Americans.

Katie is Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, which means she leads the teams ensuring that learners are getting the most efficient and effective educational experience possible.  She has a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and years of experience teaching languages, building language courses, and evaluating the effectiveness of language training as a research scientist.  She lectures and writes about all things related to language learning and educational technology.