Creating standards for adult learners NYS TESOL annual conf.2013
Turning Needs into Goals,
Creating Standards for Adult Learners
NYS TESOL- Annual Conference 2013
Bernadette Forward, M.A. and Elaine Roberts, M.A.
‘A culturally appropriate approach to autonomy might well be one that
focuses less on the ‘grand theory’ of autonomy and more on the
negotiation of practice among teachers, administrators and learners within
the specific situation of each educational institution.’ - Phil Benson (2001)
Role of the Teacher
helping learners evaluate
helping them acquire skills and
implement their plans
teacher as facilitator
needs analysis, objective setting,
material selection, etc.
issues of practical concern
systematic collection of data
small scale, localized
outcomes: solutions and ‘development of personal or local theories related
Case Study 1Background/Research
Context: ESOL, immigrants/short-term visitors
How can students take control of their learning? (non-assessment context)
Why are standards important for adult learning?
Existing standards, Common Core
12 principles of second language learning (Brown, 2000)
Case Study 1- Community Based
International Center of CCCS
Overview of programming
Case Study 1- CBO cont.
How did our students
What did we learn?
Please answer the following questions as completely as possible.
1. Where do you speak English? (for example, at your job, with your family, watching TV, etc.)
2. Describe a recent situation where you spoke English successfully. (Where were you, what happened, etc.)
3. What are some of the difficulties for you in speaking English?
4. What does having accurate speech mean to you? What techniques do you use to ensure accuracy in your speech?
What is accurate speech?
1. Speaking with my classmates in the Center
2. Sharing my opinion smoothly
3. Communicate naturally with people who are not from my country
4. Sharing my opinion clearly
6. Speaking clearly and understandably
7. Having good pronunciation
8. Speaking with everyone
9. Being able and ready to understand and communicate with anyone in any situation
10. Having a natural conversation in English
11. Being able to exactly express my opinion
12. Being able to use common, everyday expressions such as ‘get out of here’ and ‘I got to go’
What are my two specific goals?
How will I measure that I am working toward these goals?
Case Study 2Background/Research
Context: English for Specific Purposes, Rolling Admission
• How can needs analysis forms help students?
• Are students actively thinking about how their goals and study habits align?
• Can increased awareness of learning goals help short-term students study
• Smith and Craig (2013) building autonomy through guided questions
Case Study 2- English for Special
ESP group classes with varied (conflicting) student objectives
Skills focused program with no
specific course texts, goals or
Study Goals Questionnaire
How do you want to use English in the future?
What are some of the difficulties you have using English?
How do you study English in your own time?
How do you feel about the effectiveness of your study habits?
What aspect of English would you like to work on this week?
What can you do during your own study time this week to work on this?
Case Study 2- ESP
Mondays - questionnaires to set goals and talk about ways to achieve
Midweek check in- Ss share strategies and tools
Friday - follow up (leavers -personalized recommendations that Ss are
already equipped to follow through on)
How did our students/classes benefit?
Have you done something similar in your program? How did it or could it
work in your context?
What constraints or challenges might there be to implementation? How
can they be addressed?
Feedback from the group on goal setting:
Pause and Reflect: (first question, ‘what did we learn?’ Have students
make a list in response. then, ask them to put an asterisk next to the points
they felt were the most important. Finally, ask them to put a + next to those
that they want/need to practice more.)
Have students share their interests (and then the teacher can strategize
which language skills they need to help them pursue those interests)
Teacher can model what ‘specific’ means (in different contexts) to help
students with goal setting
Help students write their ‘plan’ in their own words. It will help them take
ownership of it if they put it in their own words.
McGraw Hill- TABE and the Common Core
College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education
Schmenk, B. (2005). Globalizing Learner Autonomy. TESOL Quarterly, 39,
Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language
Smith, K. & Craig, H. (2013). Enhancing the Autonomous Use of CALL: A
New Curriculum Model in EFL. CALICO Journal, 30(2), 252-278.
Brown, H. Douglas. (2000). Principles of Language Teaching and
audioboo.fm (website for listening practice)
Director of Immigrant Support Program
International Center of Catholic Charities Community Services
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