BOX 8-2
Practices to Apply and Study with English Language Learners

Engaging and differentiated instruction for adults who vary in

•  English language and literacy skills,

•  first language proficiency,

•  educational background, and

•  familiarity with U.S. culture.

Instruction that integrates explicit instruction with opportunities for the implicit learning of language and literacy, with a focus on

•  both linguistic form and meaning with feedback,

•  development of vocabulary and content knowledge for learning and reading comprehension,

•  extensive practice outside the classroom,

•  leveraging knowledge of the first language,

•  multimodal instruction,

•  attention to writing,

•  attention to the affective aspects of learning and instruction, and

•  sound assessment of literacy skill and affective and psychological outcomes of instruction.

into effective practices for adults with limited education or literacy facility in a first language, and (3) practitioner descriptions of practices used in adult education ESL classes and that warrant more systematic research attention. Box 8-2 shows practices to apply and study in future research. A particular challenge is the need to differentiate instruction for adults in a classroom who vary in first language proficiency, educational background, and familiarity with U.S. culture.

Box 8-3 summarizes directions for research. The overarching priorities for this research agenda are to (a) develop and evaluate effective instructional methods for diverse populations of English language learners; (b) develop adequate assessment methods; (c) identify or develop the technologies that can facilitate the learning of language and literacy skills for adult English language learners who differ in their knowledge of English language and literacy, first language literacy, and educational and linguistic backgrounds; and (d) specify the training and supports instructors need to implement the instructional approaches effectively. Standard terms and definitions for describing the subgroups of this diverse population of adults will need to be used in this research to produce more reliable, valid, and interpretable information about the approaches that generalize across subgroups and the specific approaches that meet a particular group’s literacy development needs.

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