Immigration reform is being delayed by political differences on how it should be implemented. One area of agreement is that undocumented immigrants seeking legal status should learn English.
The Past State of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Classes
ESOL classes for adult learners were insufficient for the number of learners who wished to learn English. Government funding for ESOL education was predominately directed toward education for immigrant children. Adults who wished to attend ESOL classes faced many hurdles which included:
- Lack of available classes. There were not enough ESOL classes to meet the demand.
- Instructors not trained in ESOL instruction. Since there were few full-time job opportunities in teaching ESOL in adult education, graduates with ESOL training gravitated toward K-12 education, where job opportunities were more plentiful.
- Multi-level classes. The limited availability of classes forced adult education centers to teach learners with vastly different English skill levels in the same class.
- Class times and locations. Undocumented immigrants with limited or no English skills must often work long hours at low paying jobs to get by, leaving limited time to attend English classes. Travel to adult education centers that were not accessible by public transportation was difficult.
The Current Improvements In Adult ESOL Classes
As adult education centers struggle valiantly to meet the ever increasing demand for English instruction, funding must be increased to help them to achieve their goals. Even with limited funding, adult education centers have found ways to improve ESOL instruction for adult learners. These include:
- More classes with times and locations that are convenient for adult learners.
- More instructors trained in ESOL education. As the need grows, more potential teachers are majoring in ESOL instruction to teach an adult education center after graduation. .
- Classes that are specifically focused on beginning or advanced English learners, rather than mixed level classes.
- Bilingual classes that enable learners to bridge the gap between their native languages and English.
- Classes that are geared toward spoken English, which allow new immigrants to learn English as well as survival skills in a new country. Spoken English classes immerse the learners in the language through the use of practical words and phrases that they will encounter outside the classroom.
- Classes that focus on written English, for immigrants that wish to study other subjects.
Adult learners want to learn English in order to assimilate into mainstream society. They want to pursue the American dream of providing a better future for their children. Adult education centers assist them in becoming productive citizens, and English is the key to open the door to all the opportunities available in America.Read More