Gardening as a Theme for Teaching ESOL

Adult educators practicing planting vegetable and herb seeds.

Using themes can be a fun and effective way to design curriculum for English language learners. Organizing instruction in this way allows teachers to integrate all four language skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – in a coherent manner that increases students’ comprehension. Common themes in ESOL curricula include health, work, and family. When themes get more technical and require specialized knowledge, teachers often reach out to content area experts in the community to help provide accurate content for their lessons.

Planting Seeds Of Learning

That’s what Riva Person and Brian Jordan of ABCD Mattapan did when they designed and implemented their First Literacy Grant Teaching ESOL through Community Gardening. Many of the students in the class immigrated from Haiti and wanted to know more about gardening in the U.S. They collaborated with City Growers and together they shaped a curriculum to meet the students’ needs.

This is just one example of how teachers are meeting the needs of adult learners in a creative way. For more creative examples and teaching materials visit our Resources for Educators page

May 9, 2017

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