Saturday, 5 March 2016

#LINCchat Summary "Supporting Literacy Students"

On February 16,  ESL/EAL/LINC educators across Canada exchanged their ideas and practices to support Adult ESL Literacy learners and teachers. For one hour, we collaboratively explored the challenges and brainstormed solutions specific to adult ESL Literacy context. I have summarized the ideas shared during #LINCchat dedicated to "Supporting Literacy Students" for you to peruse. I hope that this summary will ignite your interest in future #LINCchats and you will be joining us next time! 


Participants: 

Good evening from Toronto, Ontario! ~ Svetlana 
 I'll let you know up front that I've never taught a Literacy class. I'm here to learn tonight :-) ~ Nathan 
Hi everyone! I teach LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton. I have little to no expertise in literacy so I am here to lurk & learn.~ Bonnie 
Hi. It's Dawn from Saskatoon ~ Dawn 
I'm a Resource Teacher in S'toon. Most of my students are literacy students, but I am by no means an expert! ~ Carol 
I'm Lina from Ajax, I also am here to learn ~ Lina 
 And many others! If you wish to add your name to this list, please let me know. 


Questions:



Q1: What are the differences between Literacy and CLB 1 learners?  
Q2: How do you differentiate instruction to support Literacy learnersDo you have any strategy in place?  
Q3: How do you assess Literacy learner progress in class? What works for you?   
Q4: Do you use peer tutoring/teaching in your classroom? How does it work?  
Q5: What non-language skills and strategies Literacy learners need to succeed in a mixed-level/ability classroom?  
Q6: What are some ways to support confidence and self-efficacy building in Literacy learners?  
Q7: Challenge time: Share one thing you might change/add to how you address Literacy students' needs in your classroom? 

Pre-chat discussion: 



Summary:

Q1: What are the differences between Literacy and CLB 1 learners? 

  • Literacy learners lack conventional literacy and basic skills in L1 ~ Svetlana 
  • Literacy students have had little or no formal education in their first language whereas CLB 1 students have. ~ Dawn 
  • Literacy learners have little formal learning experience and strategies & often aren't able to transfer/apply prior learning ~ Svetlana 
  • Ss at the foundation level learn to hold a pencil, which is something they've never done before. ~ Dawn 
  • My imperfect understanding of literacy is that these are learners who are lacking in basic literacy skills (RW) in their L1 ~ Bonnie 
  • I know that literacy learners are sometimes called LIFE (Learners with Interrupted Formal Education) learners. ~ Bonnie 
  • So many factors involved, too. They often can't concentrate for long, be unable to recall material from previous day ~ Dawn (@DawnTorvik) 
  • Do you have many Ss who have learning disabilities? This must make it really tricky at times ~ Nathan 
  • good question. Yes, some have specific issues but with L2 Ss it's not easy to diagnose. ~ Dawn 
  • Learning disabilities are very hard to recognize/diagnose at that level! ~ Carol (@Carold37) 
  • Nor should it be the responsibility of the T, although they are often ones to notice first ~ Nathan 
  • Learning disabilities are very hard to recognize at that level! Which reminds me of this resource: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3_Fb6oxZ_XuZnlsWjg4ZDdUYUk/view … ~ Svetlana 
  • Great resource about adult learners with learning disabilities ~ Nathan 
  • Yes, and literacy learners may be suffering from PTSD as well, depending on their background. ~ Bonnie 
  • I had several LL in my class once& I felt they need to believe in their ability to learn first & foremost ... ~ Lina 
  • Very true! Overcoming that barrier of not believing they can learn. ~ Nathan 
  • Agree! #LINCchat Sometimes I think that literacy Ts don't get the respect they deserve from outsiders.It's the hardest level to T ~ Bonnie 
  • I agree Bonnie, it's bound to be the hardest level ~ Lina 
  • Ss at the foundation level learn to hold a pencil, which is something they've never done before. ~ Dawn 
  • Classroom learning must be overwhelming for foundation sts. I have so much respect for Ts who teach at that level. ~ Bonnie 
  • It must be both scary and exciting ~ Nathan 
  • I can't even imagine what that feels like. It must be so rewarding for both T and S ~ Nathan

Q2: How do you differentiate instruction to support Literacy learnersDo you have any strategy in place? 

  • Depends on the level of literacy. Strategies can be from holding a pencil to decoding text~ Carol 
  • Design tasks around familiar & tangible concepts. Direct/immediate applicability to real life is essential to success ~ Svetlana 
  • Differentiate by breaking down tasks into small manageable pieces  ~ Svetlana 
  • Scaffolding. Break down the steps needed to complete tasks  ~ Dawn 
  • That connects well with what was said earlier about smaller chunks. ~ Nathan 
  • Differentiate by adapting learning materials to accommodate Literacy Sts ~ Svetlana 
  • Model tasks. Literacy Sts often learn vicariously. Ask more experienced learners to model tasks for their partners or class  ~ Svetlana 
  • Would this be with CLB 1/2 learners, or other Literacy Ss? ~ Nathan 
  • I'd say all of them including the instructor. However, best experiences happen in ZPD or student current level +1 ~ Svetlana 
  • That makes a lot of sense. Thanks. ~ Nathan 
  • More experienced Literacy students are best tutors for their less experienced classmates ~ Svetlana 
  • Tons of visuals and realia for starters. ~ Dawn 
  • Yes, I know our literacy teachers spend hours creating materials and planning carefully scaffolded lessons. ~ Bonnie 
  • Lots of repetition and finding creative ways to teach the same thing! It takes a special person to teach literacy. ~ Carol 

Q3: How do you assess Literacy learner progress in class? What works for you? 

  • I would think assessment in a Literacy class is a bit more fluid than in a higher level CLB class. ~ Nathan 
  • And anecdotal, narrative, formative, with a human touch! :) ~ Svetlana 
  • I would think this would be somewhat due to the more individual attention needed for each S ~ Nathan 
  • And also much smaller increments of progress that otherwise may be left out, hard to notice  ~ Svetlana 
  • I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our CATK material which @StanzaSL was instrumental in putting together http://www.listn.info/site/resources/linc-assessment/classroom-assessment-toolkit … ~ Nathan 
  • This is assessment material for a range of CLB levels that is free to download and use. Reading and Writing for FL Ss ~ Nathan 

Q4: Do you use peer tutoring/teaching in your classroom? How does it work?  

  • I really believe the reward is there in regards to peer-tutoring, but it does take a lot of work. I think it's worth it. ~ Nathan 
  • Yes but it depends on Ss. School is a new thing for most. Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires ~ Dawn 
  • Peer tutors need to be trained, but it is a worthy investment. Literacy learners are best tutors to each other ~ Svetlana 
  • I've had mixed results with peer tutoring at the CLB 5/6 level. Peer tutors need a lot of guidance. ~ Bonnie 
  • I know for higher levels it is also hit and miss. At that level, it requires training. Not sure for Literacy ~ Nathan 
  • for some this will work but not for all. Ss with no prev educ need to learn to learn. Hard for seniors  ~ Dawn 
  • Yes, we've had students who spend several terms at a level. ~ Bonnie 
  • Peer tutoring can happen & be successful at any stage. Lit students who became designated tutors in my class gained in confidence ~ Svetlana 
  • Yes, tutors need training. It takes time. ~ Svetlana 
  • Training, tolerance, allow time for Ss to adjust to diff way of interacting in the class ~ Dawn 
  • We've sometimes had a CLB 5/6 class meet a foundation class in the library and read with them every week. It's a win-win. ~ Bonnie 
  • Love this idea! ~ Nathan 
  • Yes the foundation sts are amazed at what is possible for them & the 5/6 sts are reminded of how far they've come. ~ Bonnie 
  • I think it is wonderful! A great way to motivate and build self-efficacy in Literacy students. ~ Svetlana 
  • Very true ~ Lina 
  • Seriously. I'm really learning a lot tonight. :-)  Nathan 
  • Me too! I would love the opportunity to teach literacy sometime - but team teach with someone with experience. ~ Bonnie

Q5: What non-language skills and strategies Literacy learners need to succeed in a mixed-level/ability classroom?  

  • Factors: psychomotor (short periods of time) and organizational skills (notebook and binder), attitudes to other learners ~ Dawn 
  • As with all levels, there must be the struggle of what the role of the T is  ~ Nathan 
  • Yup. Alphabetical order might be the long term goal after a year. Sr citizens w/ no educ make slow prog ~ Dawn 
  • Learning strategies, good learning habits, also handling learning resources/materials/books/documents ~ Svetlana 
  • Definitely ~ Dawn 
  • Self-esteem, self-efficacy, learner autonomy, self confidence, positive attitude towards self ~ Svetlana 
  • Metacognition, critical thinking, digital technology, math ~ Svetlana 
  • Our literacy teachers are doing some of this Essential Skills work with literacy students. Friday afternoon is numeracy. ~ Bonnie 
  • Sounds like you need to be ready to teach almost anything! ~ Nathan 

Q6: What are some ways to support confidence and self-efficacy building in Literacy learners?  

  • allowing a lot of success opportunities ~ Lina 
  • Yes! Giving space to succeed  ~ Nathan 
  • In my inexperience, I would suggest that everyone needs to celebrate successes, large and especially small.  ~ Bonnie 
  • Peer tutoring, vicarious learning, interclass activities, designing tasks outside the classroom ~ Svetlana 


Q7: Challenge time: Share one thing you might change/add to how you address Literacy students' needs in your classroom?  

Don't forget to let sts enjoy & experience their success. Recycle learning to give Lit Sts opportunities to feel successful #lincchat ~ Svetlana 

Other questions: 

  • I have a question. Do you think that, given the right supports, literacy students can be successful online learners? #LINCchat ~ Bonnie  
  • Absolutely!!! Successful, resourceful, and highly motivated online learners ~ Svetlana 
  • I would think this would need a lot of support. ~ Nathan 
  • It would take a lot of coaching and support! ~ Carol 
  • Some younger learners, yes. "On-line" pages often have ads and other distractions. ~ Dawn 
  • We avoid ads by using an LMS. I won't use a website if it has too many ads or is poorly designed. ~ Bonnie 
  • This would be good for Ss. Have them learn in a "walled garden" #LINCchat ~ Nathan 
  • Thanks for that metaphor, @nathanghall! I sometimes struggle to find positive ways to describe LMSs. ~ Bonnie 
  • right! Sr citizens and foundation Ss basically want to write their name & address. Computer literacy is another thing ~ Dawn 
  • Yes, that's what we're finding. Yet we don't want to exclude literacy students from learning opportunities. ~ Bonnie 
  • I started this blog for my Lit class in 2013. http://literacyesl.blogspot.ca/  It was successful with my learners.  ~ Svetlana 
  • this is fantastic for Literacy phase 1 and 2 students. What have you used for foundations Ss? ~Dawn 
  • Our foundation instruction (PB) uses a blog with her class as well. She's used wikis in the past. #LINCchat ~ Bonnie 
  • Do you use many digital tools in Literacy? I would think that would be tough. ~ Nathan 
  • We are lucky to have class sets of iPads. Outr literacy instructors use them often. ~ Bonnie 
  • Wish we had some. I've seen some good things ~ Dawn 

Conclusions 



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