Ebola Information

Hi Everyone,

I know that many people have questions these days, and maybe some fears, about the Ebola virus. People are usually sent to the CDC website for more information, but the information there is quite high level. 

Are adult learners asking about this? I would imagine that in ELL classes there may be people from the African countries most affected who may have even greater need to learn more about this outbreak.

Does anyone know of a good, easy to understand resource for this?

Here are two that I've found:

Ebola Infographic:


Public Information Video from Liberia (YouTube)


It would be nice to find more--please share if you know of any!



Have you all already seen this article? ~~~Denise


A  Proposed Disaster Literacy Model

Lisa M. Brown, PhD; Jolie N. Haun, PhD, EdS; Lindsay Peterson, MS

Although numerous government, nonprofit, and relief organizations have endeavored to educate and
prepare the American public for disasters, adults with physical, mental, and educational
disabilities remain among the most vulnerable and least prepared subgroups of the population. The
lack of alignment between the literacy demands of existing disaster preparedness and recovery
materials and the literacy skills of many vulnerable subgroups limits their ability to understand
and effectively use potentially life-saving  information. We review the literature on literacy and
vulnerable populations, propose a new model for disaster literacy, and describe opportunities for
incorporating best practices into planning and preparedness activities. Disaster literacy is defined
here as an individual's ability to read, understand, and use information to make informed decisions
and follow instructions in the context of mitigating, preparing, responding, and recovering from a
disaster. Recommendations  are made for developing and evaluating disaster communication  materials
for vulnerable populations. To meet and improve the disaster literacy of vulnerable populations we
suggest pilot-testing and evaluation be routinely used to inform selection of media type, message,
and point of contact.  (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:267-275)
Key Words: disaster literacy, media, messaging, communication, vulnerable populations, disaster
preparedness, disaster response, disaster recovery


Health Literacy and Reading CoP colleagues,

Here's a link to a recent, plain English article on the Ebola virus.  The Times in Plain English is not affiliated with the New York Times. It is a free online publication for immigrants and others who want to improve their reading skills in English while keeping up on U.S. and world news, and draws information from several other publications.


David J. Rosen



This adult new reader article, Plain Talk About How Ebola Spreads, is based on information from an article in the Wall Street Journal.


I like that, unlike so much in the media these days, this article is factual, low-key, and does not unnecessarily alarm. The Ebola Virus is very serious in three West African countries (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone). It could potentially spread beyond these countries, and clearly better preparation in the U.S. is needed; however, the level of fear being raised here -- and the resulting stress -- is itself a health and social well-being issue in the U.S. As educators, we can share this, and other articles like it, with adult learners who may be needlessly afraid. There are also some opportunities in discussing this to strengthen students' knowledge of science and good health practices.

David J. Rosen


Thanks, Julie, for sharing the infographic and the YouTube from Liberia/UNICEF. It might be an interesting activity to transcribe the video so students could see the words. The vocabulary is well chosen, there is lots of repetition, and in most cases the speakers articulate very clearly and carefully the main messages.

Other thoughts, anyone?



Inside HigherEd provides a daily, short podcast that highlights emerging research.  It is called "The Academic Minute."  The audio presentations are 1-2 minute long and are given by the researcher.  The presentations include a written transcript which you and your students might find helpful, too.  I found this one on hand washing so fascinating because the researcher uses a mix of academic and everyday language.


Cynthia Zafft

NCTN at World Education, Inc.


Thanks for alerting us to this resource, Cynthia. I love videos and podcasts that come with transcripts! The NIH senior health website http://nihseniorhealth.gov/videolist.html  has some excellent health-related videos with transcripts, too. There are lots of good articles here as well.

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

Thank you Cynthia, for posting this link to the discussion. I especially like the mix of academic and everyday language the professor from Rutgers uses. English learners may have trouble with both, but the transcript is there for classroom activities to scaffold the learning of new vocabulary and structures.

I recommend the following acitivites for using this academic minute with students at high intermediate level or above:

Start by discussing hand washing practices - when and how do students wash their hands?

Ask them how many seconds they generally take to wash their hands. (e.g., "How long/many seconds do you usually take to wash your hands?")

Then, tell them to listen to the academic talk and to take notes on anything they understand. Ask them to try to find the answer to how long they should wash their hands.

Play the talk.

Ask the student for the answer to the question.

Write on the board any words or phrases they heard and discuss.

Give them the text - or part of the text (depending on level). In small groups ask them to underline any words they don't know or can't figure out among themselves.

Discuss the words with them as whole class.

Have them read the text, (or part) and  give them questions to answer. Include questions that push them to make inferences. Ask them to underline where in the text they found the answers to the questions  you gave them.


The next day, do a cloze exercise where they listen to the text and fill in missing words -  you could take out words you want them to learn, or you could do a classic cloze - every seventh word is omitted. Have them work together and try to get the whole text.

Provide the whole text, so they can check their own answers.

Followup? Suggest they search the internet for references to hand washing  and report on what they learned,

There are  opportunities for  listening, speaking, reading, and writing praqctice, while learning new vocabulary and important content.

You might also want to consider a great activity created  by Peggy Seufert, an expert adult ESL/EFL teacher and trainer. She asks the students to work in groups to write questions on the text for other groups for other groups to answer. Then, the students do a round robin where they pass their questions to the next group to answer them and continue this passing around until the questions come back to each original group with many sets of answers. As Peggy points out, students need to get real practice creating questions as well as just answering them. In real life, in a new country/language/culture the newcomers are generally the ones who need to ask questions, not respond. And writing/asking questions are not one of the easier aspects of English.

Other suggestions for using these talks or written texts?


SME, Adult ELL oP




Health Literacy Colleagues,

This short resource, that I learned about from the most recent COABE members online newsletter, has some sensible advice about how to deal with commonly used, but not commonly well understood, health related terms that have been used to describe the Ebola Virus Disease.


David J. Rosen