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Language Dives: English Learners in ABE Classes

Hello colleagues, Like many of you, I am interested in ways to support English learners who have academic goals to transition to ABE and HSE classes. I strongly believe these learners benefit from having the opportunity to interact with other students who speak English fluently. Last week, I presented a LINCS workshop at the New Jersey adult education conference--with wonderfully dedicated teachers, by the way!-- on teaching vocabulary to English learners in ABE, so this issue is fresh on my mind.

Today, I came across this ASCD Express blog by Kevin Jepson and Anne Vilen, "Empowering English Language Learners Through Language Dives." The authors discuss the "language dives" strategy (based on the work of Lily Wong-Filmore), which engages learners in digging deep into a single sentence to unpack its meaning.  What seems especially important is that English learners work in small groups with other students who speak English fluently to discuss the sentence.

I'm wondering if teachers who have both English learners and students who speak English fluently in the same class can share their experiences with us here. How do you approach instruction with such a heterogeneous group? What are your thoughts about the potential of the "language dive" activity described in Jepson and Vilen's blog post?

Looking forward to a rich discussion on this important topic!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning and English Language Acquisition CoPs