Linguistic diversity

Support for diversity in adult education should also include appreciation of and support for linguistic diversity.

Concretely that would lead to providing literacy classes in languages other than English.

In many elementary schools diverse groups of children are enrolled in Dual Immersion programs where all the kids learn each other’s languages, together, in tandem. The results are incredible.

In many community-based centers there are literacy classes for adults in their own languages. Research has shown that literacy in one’s own language is important in learning English as a foreign language.

Below is a reference on the Eurpean model that I hope will spark some discussion.

From the principles:

Note: I was not able to add the URL, so for more information go to  Google: adult education linguistic diversity. -

language learning
 and linguistic diversity-An action plan 2004—06

Or just email me at 


You are right that it is far better to acquire basic literacy skills in one's native language. Interestingly, when I tried to have my non-reading ESL students acquire literacy in their own languages first before starting to learn English, they resisted. They continually said, "I don't want to learn [my own language] anymore. I'm here to learn English!" So, despite my own reluctance to do so, I would teach them to read in English. It took longer, but they were happy and cooperative. They wanted to tell their family and friends that they were learning English. I'm sure that in some cases, they didn't want people to know they couldn't read. I could understand that.

I Googled the terms you shared and had a large number of sites show up. To enter a URL, just copy and paste it into your message. If you would like to link the URL in the message, you can copy the URL, click on the little chain-link icon in the menu items, and enter the address there. I hope others join us here. Leecy

Leecy’s anecdote is a good example of a problem that faces many adults who cannot read in their own language (L1).

Public libraries do a great job in teaching English literacy.

And I know of several programs that teach Spanish literacy for Latino adults. Plaza Comunitarias, for example, has an excellent program. I was trained to teach the basics in a program sponsored by the Mexican consulate.

One reason for adult education providers to work together in networks or alliances is that we can find solutions to problems that are too vexing for each individual group.

My mother taught me: Where there is a will there is a way.

I can see Adult Ed programs working together with the public libraries and community literacy providers to raise the level of literacy in the whole region.

What are the questions, doubts and misgivings that people have? Let’s begin by sharing opinions.