Are You Ready for September? Resources And Tips to Help Teachers of Adult Learners Prepare For the School Year

Written by Paula Dincer, First Literacy Program Communications and Data Management

resources-and-tips-to-help-teachers-of-adult-learners-first-literacy-blog-postWhere did the summer go? Like most teachers, you’re probably looking toward September, thinking about what might invigorate your lesson planning, and even taking inspiration from wherever your summer took you. If you’re looking for ideas, we have resources that can help – our searchable Resources for Educators page and the First Literacy Lending Library.

Searchable Free Resources for ABE and ESOL Teachers

If you’re looking for new ways to launch your Adult Basic Education class or refresh familiar ESOL material, the First Literacy Resources for Educators page is now searchable by category, workshop title or keyword. It’s free and easy to access for both new and experienced teachers.

When you visit the page for the first time you’ll be asked to enter your email in order to complete the search, but you only have to do this once — all future searches will take you directly to your search results where you can download a variety of resources for free. Resources span a wide range of helpful tools for ABE and ESOL teachers, from tried-and-true to state-of-the-art.

Two resources from past workshops that may be helpful to prepare you for teaching this fall are Retro, Vintage, Time Tested Interactive Activities for the ESOL Class and Please Don’t Put Away Your Cell Phones: Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom.

Retro, Vintage, Time Tested Interactive Activities for the ESOL Class includes methods, materials, and activities for the ESOL class. The activities are the workshop presenters’ pre-pandemic, in-person favorites developed over their 30+ years in the field — all in the interest of helping adult learners improve their English skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. With students back in the physical classroom, these well-loved tools from the past are enjoying a revival.

Another area that is often a topic of discussion among ABE and ESOL teachers is how to leverage mobile technology in the classroom. Most of the students in today’s Adult Basic Education classes have access to a smart device, but little did we know that for two and a half years their phones would often be their only connection to class. If some of your classes are still hybrid, check out the lists of over a dozen apps and tools that can help you help your adult learners turn their smartphones into powerful portable devices to promote speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary skills.

To search for these resources simply visit the Resources for Educators page and search these titles using the category dropdown box or enter a search term from the title in the search box.

Lending Library

Sometimes there’s no better resource than a good book. Thanks to funding from the Nora Roberts Foundation, the First Literacy Lending Library has 150 titles including teacher resources, student workbooks, high-interest/low-level readers, biographies, classics and picture books for emerging English readers from GLE 1-10. Staff from non-profit Adult Basic Education and ESOL programs in Massachusetts may borrow up to 15 titles at a time for up to six weeks.

Teachers can browse the collection and borrow and return books before and after workshops, or by making an appointment. We are not able to mail books, but they can be returned to us by mail if necessary.

What The Experts Say

Ultimately, as you prepare to welcome new and returning students to your classrooms this fall, planning comes down to the basics, as described in these Effective Strategies for Teaching Adult Learners from Learning Revolution.

  1. Keep your lessons relevant.
  2. Focus on your learners’ life experience.
  3. Tell stories as you’re teaching.
  4. Break up information to avoid cognitive overload.
  5. Provide feedback in the moment of need.
  6. Make your material visually stimulating.
  7. Encourage questions and discussion.

 “Embrace circumstances rather than deny them. Recognizing students’ home situations and socioeconomic statuses validates those in need and promotes their success.”

– James Davis, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Coastal Carolina University Educational Leadership Department

Do you have a favorite tool from a First Literacy workshop, reliable resource, or proven advice that could benefit other teachers of adult learners?

We wish you a happy return to the classroom!

Other helpful resources

The Best Strategies and Practices for Teaching Adults 
The Best Teaching Methods for Adults
7 Principles of Adult Learning


August 4, 2022

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