Professional Development Workshops

Championing the front line in Adult Basic Education.

At First Literacy we know that supporting the front line in Adult Basic Education (ABE) helps ensure that adult learners receive the high-quality education they need to reach their full potential.

First Literacy professional development workshops provide free, evidence-based training and materials for Adult Basic Education teachers, program administrators, and counselors of adult literacy programs across Massachusetts. We know that professional development isn’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why we tailor each workshop to the unique needs of our participants by soliciting educator input at registration. Because we don’t rely on federal funding, we are able to adapt our workshop topics based on educator requests, not public mandates.

In addition to our free workshops, we provide a library of online resources that can be accessed at any time. We offer ready-to-use lesson plans, worksheets, tools, and First Literacy Grant project presentations. All resources can be adapted and incorporated into your own classes.

To be notified of upcoming workshops, be sure to sign up for our mailing list! For more information about our workshops or resources feel free to contact Bryan McCormick at

Register for Workshops

Workshops are listed below — all will be remote via Zoom.
When registration is open, titles will be active links in blue — click, learn more and register!


Know Your Students’ Workplace Rights

Presenter: Richard Rabin
Friday, January 14, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


The workshop will cover the principal workplace issues encountered by low-income and immigrant workers: health and safety, discrimination, wage and hour violations and workers’ compensation. All workers are entitled to the same rights on the job; however, many employees in precarious situations are subject to abusive conditions and/or do not know where to turn for help. The workshop will present, in an interactive format, what are workers’ rights, the government agencies that enforce those rights, and actions workers can take to improve their working conditions.

Learning Objectives: Participants will

  • learn about many of the important workplace rights;
  • understand what are the principal obstacles to exerting those rights;
  • be able to refer their adult working students to the appropriate government and nonprofit organizations for assistance.

The Learner in Me: Understood and Self-Aware!

Presenter: Christine Johnson
Friday, January 21 and 28, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


Often adult learners feel a sense of inadequacy based on their early years of schooling. Part I of the workshop introduces an intervention that will help your adult learners redefine themselves as capable learners and help them grow in their confidence. Part II will equip you to introduce your students to the means by which they can develop personalized learning strategies gauged on how they learn best.
(Please note: The presenter will count on your attendance at both sessions.) 

Learning Objectives: Participants will

  • have a Personal Learning Profile that describes their Learning Processes;
  • have access to their Personal Learning Coach account as a resource;
  • have learned an intervention that builds their students’ self-awareness and confidence as learners.


Coaching Skills for Educators

Presenter: Emile “Mike” Boutin
Friday, February 4, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


Coaching skills are helpful in getting students to articulate their goals and obstacles. For educators, coaching can be helpful in clarifying our own goals and living up to our potential. This 2 hour workshop will introduce you to coaching skills, why they matter in adult learning, and provide an opportunity for practice.

Moving Beyond Student Persistence to Student Success

Presenter: Emile “Mike” Boutin
Friday, February 11 and
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


This two part workshop will review current research on persistence, retention, and student success, and explore issues of self-agency and motivation, and the obstacles that prevent students from succeeding. Practical classroom tips and approaches will assist educators in leading students towards success.

Integrating Math Across Your Curriculum

Presenter: Dorrie Nord
Friday, February 18 and March 4, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


Innovative Program Design, Outreach, and Recruitment

Presenter: Sarah Poole
Friday, March 11 and 25, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM

Assessment and Scaffolding: The Perfect Pair

Presenter: Bryan McCormick
Friday, March 18, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM


Immigrant Strengths, Contributions, and Narratives

Presenter: Denzil Mohammed
Friday, April 1 and
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM

Embedding Digital Literacy into the Classroom

Presenter: Mei Ngo
Friday, April 8 and 29, 2022
1:00 – 2:30 PM