OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Adult English Language Instruction

Research and Evaluation | Noteworthy Practices | Additional Links

Adult English Language programs are designed to help immigrants and others who have not yet developed proficiency in English to acquire the basic knowledge and skills they need to function effectively as parents, workers, and citizens. Adult English Language Instruction programs supported by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) serve those who have a limited ability in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language; whose native language is a language other than English; or who live in a family or community where a language other than English is the dominant language.

Research and Evaluation

Noteworthy Practices

  • The CAELA Network has created a framework that can be used to plan, implement, and evaluate professional development for practitioners working with adult English language learners at the state, regional, and program levels.
  • The CAELA Guide for Adult ESL Trainers contains materials that enable professional developers to train local and regional program staff on important topics for adult ESL instruction.
  • The Practitioner Toolkit: Working With Adult English Language Learners provides a variety of materials to help language and literacy instructors who are new to serving adults and families learning English. These materials include a first-day orientation guide, lesson plans, and research-to-practice papers on English language and literacy learning.
  • USA Learns was funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support immigrants who want to learn or improve their English language skills. The site consists of three free programs, including video-based beginner and intermediate-level courses, and intermediate-level stories and activities.
  • The LINCS Special Collection on English as a second language (ESL) promotes the development of high-quality ESL programs, provides guidelines for planning and supporting these programs, and supports ongoing communication and collaboration among all stakeholders, which include instructors, literacy practitioners, program administrators, researchers, adult learners, and state staff involved in some aspect of ESL instruction.

Additional Links

  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a professional association for English language educators, offers a variety of resources and networking opportunities for professionals involved in adult education settings.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. In collaboration with OCTAE, USCIS issued Welcome to the United States, A Guide for New Immigrants, to help new permanent residents become successful members of their community.
  • Language, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy is one program area of study at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The program promotes research in the areas of language development and psycholinguistics from infancy through early adulthood; bilingualism and second language acquisition; and reading in bilingual and English language learning children and youth.
  • National Institute for Literacy's discussion lists bring together literacy stakeholders—researchers, policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and students—to discuss critical issues in the latest research, promising policies and practices as well as to share resources and experience. To subscribe to the discussion list on Adult English Language Acquisition, go to http://www.nifl.gov/lincs/discussions/subscribe_all.html and put a check in the box marked Adult English Language Acquisition.
  • Each year, the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences solicits applications for scientific research on educational outcomes, including those for adult learners (e.g., ABE and adult English language learners). To be alerted when the next call for applications is released, sign up for IES’ newsflashes: http://ies.ed.gov/newsflash

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Last Modified: 06/18/2014