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Work Prep for ELLs

Hello colleagues, A student came to me today to ask for help preparing for employment. In our program, we are planning to provide a specialty class focused on work prep and career exploration for English learners. The Integrating Career Awareness into ABE and ESOL Classrooms is a wonderful resource to draw upon in a class for high intermediate and advanced students.

I'm wondering how teachers and programs who are providing guidance and instruction on preparing for work have structured this? Have you offered a specialty class focused on this theme? What has been the duration of the class? Or have you, instead, built this into your regular classes? How have you handled this topic for lower level students? What resources can you point us to?

Thanks for sharing your good ideas and strategies here!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL CoP

 

Comments

A Firtz's picture
Ten

When the ICA curriculum first became a big part of Career Pathways for PA, our program did a pilot class to see how ESL learners would respond to this type of material.  The class was structured by semester.  The first part of the year – the Fall Semester- was focused on finding a job, writing a resume and cover letter and preparing for the interview and workers’ rights.  They didn’t know the laws and wanted to learn about discrimination and other work issues.  The students completed their resume and did a practice cover letter.  They filled out an online practice application.  They practiced various interview questions and prepared possible answers to the questions.  The culminating assignment at the end of the semester was a videotaped interview with another teacher in the school.

The second part of the year – Spring Semester- was focused on Self Exploration and Career Exploration.  We looked at self-exploration and used the book called “You’re Hired” Book One:  Charting Your Career Path.”  The first Unit was on Values and has a sorting activity that helped them decide what was most important to them in looking for a job.  Then the following months we focused on a workplace sector.  We focused on a different sector each month – hospitality, healthcare, retail and marketing and financial.  We used resources from mynextmove.org, careeronestop, hospitalenglish.com and EASY ENGLISH AT WORK videos.  Also we looked at “soft skills” while exploring the different sectors like being on time for work, calling off work, communication skills, etc…

The culminating assignment at the end of this semester was for the students to prepare a presentation on a job that we didn’t cover in class or talk more about a soft skill.

The class went really well and we had positive feedback from those students in the class.   Now all of this material is embedded into our regular ESL classes.

Additional Resource:  Job Lingo videos – these are for more advanced ESL speakers because the presenters talk very fast. http://http://www.joblingo.com/

EASY ENGLISH AT WORK videos are for high beginning, low intermediate learners and are an excellent resource to use with ESL students.  http://www.easyesl.net/resources/teacher-resources-easy-at-work/ - Scope and Sequence of the Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOX9Fl17F6s - Sample Youtube video

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Aimee and all, Thanks, Aimee, for sharing how your program has worked successfully on preparing students for work. Some of the best video resources, especially for lower level students, that I've found were developed by Bethany Gustafson from the Minnesota Literacy Council.  These videos were shot on location in the work place and the workers appear to be immigrants. The set of "English for Work Interactive" videos features a custodian, dishwasher, food prep worker, housekeeper, laundry worker, and packer.  There is a lesson planning guide for the set and there is a script that accompanies each lesson as well as a list of vocabulary words to focus on.

Granted, each of these jobs is a low skilled occupation that does not always pay a family sustaining wage. It is reality that these kinds of "gateway" jobs are often an immigrant or refugee's first job in the US. Of course, it is a goal for many to move beyond these types of jobs to careers that can better support families.

It would be good to hear from others about how you are supporting both new arrivals and those who have been in the community for awhile to get into the workplace AND onto career pathways that can sustain families.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL CoP

A Firtz's picture
Ten

Thanks Susan for the link.  This looks like a great resource to use with our low level ESL learners.  I also wanted to mention an interviewing website which I have used with our students and refer them to when they are ready to go for an interview.  It is myinterviewsimulator.com  They have a variety of basic and behavioral interview questions with tips on how to answer the questions.  A great practice interviewing tool.

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Aimee, for sharing information about the My Interview Simulator website and tools. I'm not sure why the link you gave us is not working, but I've entered the link again here.

Thanks to Mike, too, for sharing some additional useful work prep web resources.

Mike poses a good question for members of our CoP. I'm especially interested in how we can adapt some of these tools and others for use with lower level students. Please share your strategies here!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL CoP

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

Susan and Others, I like using the CareerOneStop resources with learners spanning from high school through adult education and vocational rehabilitation.  I like this resource for several reasons:

I'm also curious how ELL instructors are using these videos and resources in their programs.  Which resources do you and your learners find most helpful?  What would make the CareerOneStop materials more easy to use with learners?

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

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