McClure Neskoski Course Context | English As A Second Or Foreign Language | Adult Education

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Running head: ISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN 1 Issues in Adult Survival ESL Course Design Stephen McClure & Naum Neskoski LING 583 Curriculum and Materials Design for TESOL Prof. Xuehua Xiang ISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN Introduction 2 For immigrants to English-speaking countries, learning to communicate effectively in English is often crucial to their success and acceptance in their new communities. Everyday contacts with neighbors and vendors, as well as importa
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   Issues in Adult Survival ESL Course DesignStephen McClure & Naum NeskoskiLING 583 Curriculum and Materials Design for TESOLProf. Xuehua XiangRunning head: ISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN1  IntroductionFor immigrants to English-speaking countries, learning tocommunicate effectively in English is often crucial to theirsuccess and acceptance in their new communities. Everydaycontacts with neighbors and vendors, as well as importantinteractions with landlords, employers, customers, governmentagencies, physicians, etc. are all greatly facilitated by abasic competence in English which has been termed survival English (Auerbach & Burgess, 1985). When tasked withdeveloping a course to provide these skills to adult learners,course designers must first carefully assess the overallcontext in which the course will be taught. Understanding thecontext of a course is as crucial to curriculum designers asunderstanding the features of a building site is to thearchitects of a house. A thorough consideration of a varietyof contextual issues will provide the givens (the knowledgeof both constraints and resources) to make informed decisionsabout course objectives, structure, and content (Graves, 2000,ch. 2). In this paper, we will explore these contextual issuesfrom a broad perspective to a gradually more narrow one. Thenwe will discuss the implications these particular constraintspose for the design of a survival English course, and how wemight go about addressing them. We begin with the broadestviewpoint: the sociopolitical context.ISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN2  Sociopolitical ContextThe course will be taught at a Chicago community-basedorganization (CBO). The organization is not-for-profit,locally administered, and serves an ethnically diverse urbanneighborhood, providing programs in child and youthdevelopment, adult education, and community development. Itsfunding derives primarily from federal and state agencies, andsecondarily from corporate and private donations. Given itsfunding sources, its adult education curriculum must followfederal, state, and national teaching association standards(Rodriguez et al., 2009). If a CBO cannot document adherenceto these standards, it risks losing its primary sources offunding. A useful survey of the relevant standards is given inYoung & Smith (2006). The actual standards documentsapplicable in this context are Foster et al. (2007) and TESOL(2003). These standards contain considerable specificguidelines regarding goals and objectives, instructionallevels, content, materials, and instructional practices. CBOsare notoriously short of funding, and their directors andadministrators are acutely aware of the need to satisfy therequirements of their funders. Being well versed in the abovestandards is essential when discussing designing a new coursewith administrators and other stakeholders of the institutionas a whole.ISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN3  Institutional ContextA community-based organization is exactly that: based ina community. As such, its stakeholders are multifarious. Inaddition to the funding entities mentioned above, a CBO isusually overseen by a board of directors consisting ofprominent community leaders, donors, and political figures.Day-to-day administration is typically accomplished by a smallstaff under an executive director. The adult education programwill probably employ a director, a small number of full-timeteachers, several part-time teachers, and numerous volunteertutors. The community members served by a CBO will representdiverse ethnic groups, native languages and cultures, and willrange in age from infants to octogenarians. It will often bethe case that several family members are simultaneouslyserved, requiring scheduling coordination between, say, childservices (e.g., day care) and adult education. Adults in theESL program will often face scheduling problems due to workconflicts and family responsibilities. For information on atypical CBO, see the website of the Albany Park CommunityCenter (APCC, 2012).Resource Constraints of a Typical CBODue to limited budgets, the resources available in a CBOsetting are often rather limited. Classes may not be held inactual classrooms. There may or may not be black- orISSUES IN ADULT SURVIVAL ESL COURSE DESIGN4
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