Financial Literacy Resource: Group work in HSE classes?

Hi, everyone.

When I was a program administrator in a a pre-Ged and GED program in the early 90s the instruction was totally individualized. Instructors worked one-on-one with students to help them achieve their high school equivalency (HSE) certificate.

Fast forward 25 years later to 2015. What does the HSE landscape look like today? In my recent professional travels, observations, and conversations with the field, I find that in some cases HSE instruction still  follows the one-on-one format. That is, the students take an HSE pre-test and then work alone on assignments chosen for them by the instructors, based on the results of that pre-test. Whereas that is an understandable format for many reasons, it does not allow for the wealth of learning that can occur when there is interaction between teacher and the whole group, and then between and among students in pair and small group work.

 Looking through the new resources in the LINCS portal I came across the GED curriculum Exploring Personal Finance Choices (2012, Michigan Adult Education).  and reviewed at, I was struck by the fact that the teacher's guide uses lots of small group activities, long-time staples of instruction for English langauge learners. Of course this is a no-brainer for adult English learners who often need the oral practice, the scaffolded written practice, and the content and cultural information that is transmitted in groups. But it seems as if this would be useful for all learners.

I'm wondering if HSE instructors are doing group activities such as those in this financial literacy resource, or if HSE instruction remains very much the individualized learning experience it has traditionally been.

What is the experience of you teaching in HSE programs today? Is there a mix of small group and individual instruction? In what cases does the small group instruction occur? Is it in programs that are largely made up of English learner or mixed? What about in programs where the HSE population is largely native-speaking?

I would very much like to know how HSE instruction is taking place - with English learners and native speakers -- one year after the new, more rigorous HSE requirements were enacted.

Miriam Burt,

SME, Adult ELL CoP