Helping Businesses Identify Low Literacy
Submitted by Chad Patton on March 13, 2018 - 1:50pm
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Hi all - My name's Chad Patton with the Literacy Center of West Michigan. I direct a program called Customized Workplace English that provides business ESL and Literacy instruction within a business during times that work well for their employees. We've very well providing contextualized instruction to English Language Learners because they self-identify as having a need for ESL. We have, however, had a harder time recruiting native speakers of English for literacy instruction. Moreover, businesses seem to recognize a need for Literacy instruction within their businesses, but they are asking me how they can effectively identify who needs the instruction.
Identifying learners who need literacy instruction becomes difficult for us. Yes, we can provide an assessment, but the assessment creates a large cost for both my organization and the business. We could ask learners to self-identify, but anxiety will be a big barrier for identification. One business I am working with seems engaged and interested in providing support on-site, but they are looking for best practices for identifying employees who might need the class. The other obstacle with that, too, is figuring out how to get those learners to come to class despite their potential anxiety.
So, overall, I'm wondering if anyone else has successfully implemented a workplace literacy class for native speakers of English and, if so, what were some ways you effectively identified the learners who would be a part of the program?