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ESL Curriculum?

Hello colleagues, I'm very interested in how ESL programs have designed their curriculum. How do you know what to teach? What is guiding your curricular decisions? Is an ESL textbook your main guide? Do standards play an essential role in your curriculum? if so, how do you integrate standards?

This is a big question, and I'm hoping we can have a robust discussion here on LINCS about what programs and teachers look to to guide the curriculum we are using.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP



heather tatton-harris's picture

At the Carlos Rosario School, we design our own curricula.  To design the content targets, we do a needs analysis by interviewing students, working closely with teachers, and if it is a bridge course, we reverse engineer content from the certification course and talk with employers.  Our ESL language curriculum contains CCRS standards and has the same high-level objectives from our beginning levels to our advanced levels; the exit skills defined in those objectives are level-appropriate.  The curriculum comes together through the Scope and Sequence where the content targets are interwoven with the language objectives.  The content is crafted into thematic units that culminate in student-led projects.  Numeracy, digital literacy, and soft skills are also integrated into the Scope & Sequence of each theme.  We analyze textbook alignment after the content and language integration has been defined.  Sometimes we do find textbooks that work, especially in the lower levels.  In the mid and upper levels, we mostly look for textbooks that supplement the curriculum (a book that aligns to a particular theme, fiction for bookclubs, textbooks that focus on a particular ability aligned to that level).  It sounds like a neatly contained process.  In reality, it can be messy - assessment and professional development are also intertwined in this work.  But in the end, when students are deeply engaged and exceed their instructor's expectations, it's all worth it.