Guest-led Discussion with Heide Wrigley on Contextualizing Instruction and Supporting English Learners onto Career Pathways!

Welcome, Heide Spruck Wrigley!

It is my privilege to welcome someone who needs no introduction. Heide Wrigley has been one of the most important leaders at the national and international level in adult literacy and second language acquisition for many years. We are fortunate that Heide continues to provide leadership to the field during this time of significant change. Heide will be guiding our conversaion this week on ways to contextualize instruction around learners' career-related goals. She will engage us in discussion around various program models that make it possible for learners to gain meaningful employment that can sustain their families.

I'm certain there will be many questions on this topic.Members, please share your questions as well as your experiences related to contextualized instruction and career pathways for English learners. We are so lucky to have Heide with us, and I'm looking forward to a great discussion this week!

Heide Spruck Wrigley's Bio:

Heide Spruck Wrigley is a researcher and teacher educator with Literacywork International, an independent social science research firm focused on education and training for immigrant youth and adults.

She has studied and written about various aspects of adult English as a Second Language (ESL), including workforce literacy, family literacy, and vocational English for adults with limited English proficiency.

Dr. Wrigley has been the subject matter specialist in a number of national research efforts, including the federally funded What Works for Adult ESL Students study and the National Adult ESL Literacy Demonstration Project. She has worked with both industry and community-based organizations on blended learning models, integrating work-infused communication and digital literacy skills.

Her recent work includes workshops for teachers and coordinators engaged in concurrent instruction and for those building on ramps for career pathways. She is also creating asynchronous webinars on various topics, including accelerating instruction for highly skilled immigrants, serving students with ESL backgrounds in technical classes, and using multi-media to engage students and build pre-training skills.

Dr. Wrigley holds a PhD in education and a master's degree in applied linguistics. She lives in New Mexico


Hello everyone, Thanks to Glenda, Alison, Egheosa, and Heide for the useful information about entrepreneurship. I appreciate your pointing out, Heide, that in addition to the all details about how to start and succeed in business, a focus on the language of entrepreneurship is essential for language learners.

I'm currently teaching a group of higher level learners.  The class is focused on aspects of transition, so we have focused on supporting students to transition to training programs or college. As part of the class, we've had guest speakers from various post-secondary institutions. Through needs assessments, we learned that many in the group were also interested in learning about starting a small business, so we invited a speaker from Assets, which is a non-profit organization in our community that supports individuals to learn how to start a business. This organization offers workshops, intensive training, and even microloans and ongoing support to individuals in our community. Small business, many of which were started by immigrants are thriving in our town, and Assets has played a role in this success.

It would be amazing for our adult education program to collaborate with Assets to provide language support throughout the process of learning about and starting a new business.

Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your lessons learned about entrepreneurship. I'd love to hear more on this!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition


Thanks to Susan and all of you who shared ideas and resources on Entrepreneurship. Here is a note from Jill CasnerLotto, Director of CCCIE (Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education) who wrote the following note (Thank you, Jill!) Stay tuned, more resources from Jill and CCCIE coming up ... But if you want to find our for yourselves what CCCIE does and their products and services, here is the link



Re: CCCIE resources on immigrant entrepreneurs, here's a link to the pdf version of the online Bridging the Gap toolkit I mentioned in my earlier email. See page 16, in the Academic and Career Counseling chapter, the sidebar, "Setting Up Shop: Entrepreneurship as a Career Option," which illustrates how services to help immigrant entrepreneurs can be integrated into the college's more general entrepreneurship programming. See the description and link to LaGuardia Community College's Small Business Development Center, which offers professional business start-up counseling in various languages. (Unfortunately, the links describing initiatives at Northern Virginia Community College lead to inactive webpages.)


Again, when colleges have such programs, the idea here is to encourage counselors to think about these types of options as they advise foreign-educated immigrants on career choices.  



Dear Heide, I want to thank you for sharing your expertise on the timely topic of Career Pathways for English learners. The discussion has been incredibly rich, and you've shared so many useful resources that I am eager to dig into. Many, if not most, of the resources you shared are featured in the ESL Pro suite on Career Pathways, so I am certain that members will be eager to explore these resources -- including 1) the issue brief, 2) the online module, and 3) the Companion Learning Resource, i.e., digital magazine, developed by Jayme Adeson-Goldstein.

You indicated that contextualized instruction is the ideal approach regardless of the specific goals of the learners. We all know that some learners come to us because they want to increase their involvement in the community, enhance their ability to communicate with their children's teacher, or go to the doctor on their own, etc. Not everyone is interested in work-related training. We learned through the ESL Pro pilot that contextualized lessons focused on career-related language can be enhanced by paying attention to additional learner goals. For just one example, being able to communicate both formally and informally is useful in almost any context.

You highlighted issues related to learners with limited formal schooling as well as those who come to us as professionals --and everyone in between. You underscored the importance of administrators in this effort and identified how the ESL Pro resources can support the essential and important work of administrators. We all know how vital providing adequate support services through career coaches or navigators is to the process, so thank you for emphasizing this. You also shared with us possibilities for exploring entrepreneurship as a path for learners who might have an interest in starting a small business.

You described the various Career Pathways models that have been successful; we can all learn a lot from what has worked.

What a great discussion we've had! Thank you so much, Heide! And thanks to the members who participated, too!

This is such a complex topic and many of us are venturing forth with ideas for implementing Career Pathways, so it would be great to keep this thread going. Please feel free, everyone, to continue posting your observations, questions, and resources. This kind of networking is so valuable!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition

Hello everyone and thank you for a very rich discussion of ideas, examples and food for thought.

The conversation officially terminated last Friday but LINCS will keep it open for a bit longer, so feel free to jump in. I have received additional resources from a couple of silent participants that I will post this evening. So please stay tuned 




Hi all 

Jill CasnerLotto of CCCIE was nice enough to forward an announcement for a Webinar on Immigrant Entrepreneurship tomorrow Wednesday at 1pm EDT. The organizers of the Webinar are the good folks at Welcoming America  `

I love it when things connect and fall into place - Heide 


Welcome back. Here is another terrific resource from CCCIE, particularly for those who serve immigrants and refugees at Community Colleges. The CCCIE survey highlights the services that tend to be in place along with services that seem to be lacking. I think the Recommendations for Action (toward the end) can be used as  a program self-assessment that tells administrators and students how well they are doing and where more work and resources are needed 

Here is the report


Hello, I'm David Carr,

I work at a community college in the Pre-College/Basic Skills Department. We have both ESL and English speaking learners. Our challenge, is getting them to stick with the programs that we have in place. Our orientation starts out strong but somewhere along the line it starts to thin out, mostly in the English speaking classes. Our instructors have been trained in contextualized instruction and they seem to be quite effective in how, and what they instruct.



Hi, all 

Here is a list of the videos I've been using regularly in my PD workshops on Contextualizing Instruction for Work and Career Pathways. If you have favorites, please post them and I'll add them to the list 

Videos of Contextualized Instruction Work and Career Pathways:

1.We Are New York: High Quality Video Series designed for immigrants and refugees

  1. The Wedding (focus on immigrants and their efforts of entrepreneurship)

i. (You Tube version offered in sections)

b.New Life Care (A women starts a Café offering healthy food options)


  1. Classroom Demonstrations – (Students Working on Task)

a.Beginning Level Students Draw “My First Job” – Socorro, TX

b.Project-Based Learning – How to Make a Spaghetti Dinner

i. (Student produced How to Video)

  1. Teachers In Action – Integrated Education and Training (San Diego CC)
    1. Donna Price from San Diego Community College Teaching an Personal Care Assistant/Care Giver support class


b.Chalk Talk on Home Improvement – Socorro TX


4.Graphic Story: Tales of Mere Existence

  1. Saturday (how to manage multiple tasks and in the end not do any of them)


  1. Time Management (not!)




Hello, colleagues and friends in Texas 

Here is a cross-post from the Texas Statewide PD Center on a seminar that consultant extraordinaire Jamey Adelson-Goldstein of Light Hearted Teaching will present today for Texas Adult Education teachers 

Happy Friday Tech and Tells Friends,


Author, consultant, and national presenter Jayme Adelson Goldstein will host week's Tech and Tell. Work It! English Language Instruction Contextualized for Work and Career Pathways is a two-part webinar is for ESL teachers and program leaders who want to explore the new role of contextualization in English language instruction. The LINCS ESL Pro contextualization resources including the digital magazine and online module are discussed during this webinar series. Part Two focuses on diving more deeply into the ESL Pro module available on the LINCS site including the challenges associated with contextualization for work and career pathways.


No registration is required. Simply go to ttp:// at 11:30-12:30PM on Friday, May 19. Click on the green JOIN button. (If you do not have administrator rights on your computer, look for the "run a temporary application" option in small print.) Please be sure to enter your first and last name as you want it to appear on your certification of participation when you enter the webinar.


TRAIN PD hopes to see everyone online in a few hours!

AnneMarie Molinari, M.Ed.

Professional Development Center Specialist | TRAIN PD @ TCALL

Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning | Texas A&M University

4477-TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-4477 | 800-441-READ (7323)



Here is another example of contextualizing instruction to support learner outcomes.  Contextualizing the Classroom (CTC) offers a free online series of five videos on "How and Why We Contextualize Geometry and CTE in Our Classroom".  Users must register for access to these videos, but are under no obligation to purchase any materials, and can unsubscribe from CTC at any time.  Below are the titles of the five video segments:

1. Crosswalk Overview  

2. Demo of Crosswalk  

3. How to Create a Contextualized Lesson 

4. Examples of Contextualized Lessons

5. Where to Find Ideas

All videos are on  Geometry in Construction's Vimeo site.


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator