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Career Advancement - Smartphone/WhatsApp ESL study groups

Hello everybody: In beginning and intermediate ESL classes for adults there are many people who have been small business owners or who have advanced degrees in their native countries. In either case these students usually are particularly interested in learning English for their careers. Often – out of necessity - they find work in low-paying jobs such as factory work.

At the same time there are also many people in various low-paying jobs who would like to advance “up the ladder”, but need to aquire a certain level of English.

With the use of a Smartphone coupled with WhatsApp study groups and Facebook, these adults can be provided with a means to study English either as a supplement to their “regular” classes or as a resource for independent “self-study” or distance learning.

First, there are many websites that provide free English instruction for a wide variety of jobs or professions. All that is necessary to do is to format the information so that it is available via the smartphone.

Job or license requirements are available online, and, if it is necessary to take an exam, sample questions are available.

A few examples of how some of my students use the Smartphone with WhatsApp:

1. A year ago a student was working as a gardener on Oprah Winfrey’s estate in Montecito. He wanted to learn Engish vocabulary and phrases to be able to start his own landscape business. He told me that he listened to my video lessons while he was mowing Oprah’s lawn!

2. A woman who had been an elementary school teacher in Mexico needed to pass an exam to be a teacher’s assistant. She was cleaning houses at the time, and so she studied the English for housecleaning, focusing on the verb tenses and pronunciation, and practiced with the owner.

3. A woman from Brazil is a nurse, and is learning Spanish and English with an emphasis on medical terrminology so she can work in elder-care.

4. A Mexican English teacher who lives in Cancun is studying English with me to learn more about teaching private students in the hotel, restaurant and tourist business. I told her that once she has some success I will fly down to visit!!!

5. A woman who works in a hotel as a dishwasher is studying English with the goal of becoming a supervisor in the kitchen.

6. Plus there are people who have degrees in psychology, law, engineering, etc., and a lot of very good cooks who can study to be chefs! I know from first-hand experience!

I read somewhere that the Smartphone is now more popular than a laptop. I believe that it is an invaluable tool for ESL instruction. WhatsApp is a free App and it is very easy to create a group.

 

Comments

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Paul, and others,

Thanks for this great post Paul. I love the English language learning smartphone study groups you are doing, and especially like the examples you have given of your learners. I agree that smartphone study groups can be especially useful for working adults, whether employed or entrepreneurs, or both. This is an aspect of career pathways that isn't often described, so I have some questions that you or others who enable career advancement through the use of smartphone apps (such as WhatsApp, CellEd, Learning Upgrade, and other apps used by ESL/ESOL learners) that you or others here might be able to address:

  • What are the various ways that working adult ESL/ESOL learners are using apps for self study, or in a blended learning model (i.e. a face-to-face class or learning circle that is integrated with online learning) ?
  • What are the various ways they use Facebook for English language learning?
  • Do you have a list of links to "websites that provide free English instruction for a wide variety of jobs or professions" that you could share here?
  • Do you have a list of links to "Job or license requirements available online" that you could share here?
  • You wrote, "All that is necessary to do is to format the information so that it is available via the smartphone." Do you mean that ESL/ESOL teachers, or app developers, should do this?

Some of the examples you gave of English language learners are people who may have high levels of occupational or professional skills acquired in their country of origin, but who are now working in low-wage jobs outside their areas of training in the U.S. I wonder if you -- or others here -- have seen new services in the U.S. that can help accomplished adult immigrants advance more rapidly to jobs and careers in the U.S. in their fields of training or professions. In particular, do you -- or others here -- know of services that help immigrants get post-secondary credit, certifications or degrees for the knowledge and skills acquired in their country of origin?

David J. Rosen

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Hi, David, these are good questions and I wonder if there may be a need to devote more time to the concept of using Smart Phones and WhatsApp here in Lincs.

So – to answer your questions:

1. DR: What are the various ways that working adult ESL/ESOL learners are using apps for self study, or in a blended learning model (i.e. a face-to-face class or learning circle that is integrated with online learning) ?

…...PR: In my program I use my websites: pumarosa.com and inglesconprofepablo.com, plus Google, YouTube and Facebook groups.

I usually do not use APPs, because they can use up too much space, but there are a few that I recommend, such as DuoLingo.

2. DR: What are the various ways they use Facebook for English language learning?

….PR: I have created Facebook groups, particularly for pronunciation, reading and songs to learn English. These groups are basically files for various lessons online with about 4000 members worldwide, and I send YouTube songs files with the lyrics to the students on WhatsApp mainly as a diversion, but some people learn the songs!

3. DR: Do you have a list of links to "websites that provide free English instruction for a wide variety of jobs or professions" that you could share here? And 4. DR: Do you have a list of links to "Job or license requirements available online" that you could share here?

…...PR: If you go to Google and type in something like: ESL for Nursing online free...you will get a number of references, same with license requirements, etc. The Driver’s Test prep is popular.

5. DR: You wrote, "All that is necessary to do is to format the information so that it is available via the smartphone." Do you mean that ESL/ESOL teachers, or app developers, should do this?

…….. PR: Yes, anyone can do it easily...I copy the text or URL and then paste it to a WhatsApp group or individual.

5. DR: I wonder if you -- or others here -- have seen new services in the U.S. that can help accomplished adult immigrants advance more rapidly to jobs and careers in the U.S. in their fields of training or professions. In particular, do you -- or others here -- know of services that help immigrants get post-secondary credit, certifications or degrees for the knowledge and skills acquired in their country of origin?

…...PR: I do not know of any services that can help immigrants fast track their careers. The issue is the students’ level of English, which is my main concern.