Incorporating Learners' Cultural and LanguagePpriorities in a Haitian Adult Education Community Program


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Presentation at National Association for Bilingual Educators February 2013 based on work done by Andrea DeCapua & Helaine W. Marshall

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  • Local Education Agencies LEA—These are typically public schools or school districts. In addition to K-12 education, they provide adult education classes open to all members of the community. • Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)—This is a broad category which encompasses religious and social service groups, libraries, volunteer literacy organizations, literacy coalitions, community action groups, and other kinds of public or private nonprofit groups.
  • Not clear whether education in French or creole, although understood very little French. Aide indicated that French was not something most felt comfortable with, either understanding or speaking.
  • Photos of board, students’ notebooks, paper, class
  • Established warm classroom climateBuilt relationships with teacher and observersHow do we know above: Evidence anecdotal—give specific examples. Describe before and after classroom. Describe wall supports. Yes to literacy anecdotally, starting using wall supports, writing not just form letters– few at least.
  • Nature of program itself makes it difficult to see improvement; however, certain indicators, e.g. world-of-mouth in terms of increased number of students coming (not in terms of increased attendance—family demands, work demands, weather,) So—need to reconsider research –how can we conduct effective research in such situations? Premise is NOT to abandon research because these populations often neglected! Train teachers—even volunteers, to reach these students. Type of advocacy. Move into ARC—Joanne.Nature of centers, etc. but preliminary indicationsNature of programs (CBOs) make it difficult to see improvement; however, certain indicators, e.g. world-of-mouth in terms of increased number of students coming (not in terms of increased attendance—family demands, work demands, weather,)
  • Incorporating Learners' Cultural and LanguagePpriorities in a Haitian Adult Education Community Program

    2. 2. Students with Limited/Interrupted Formal Education How do we refer to them?LFS Limited Formally SchooledSIFE Students with Interrupted Formal EducationSLIFE Students with Limited/Interrupted/ Formal education
    3. 3. Background to Study The Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP) Instructional Model Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT)(DeCapua & Marshall, 2009, 2010, 2011; Marshall, 1994, 1998; Gay,2000; 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1995)
    4. 4. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm and Culturally Responsive Teaching • Cultural competence • Cultural congruity • Culturally relevant curriculum • Supportive learning community • Effective classroom interaction (Gay, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1995)
    5. 5. Cultural CompetenceFigure 1.1 The Iceberg Model      Culture Model:  Tip of        the Iceberg                               food      visible culture            dance            architecture                        literature          holidays                                  music                  clothing                                            ways  of learning         hidden    culture                           ways  of  teaching                                assumptions about teacher / student roles                    concept of time    importance of print       role of group                                role of individual  (DeCapua & Marshall, 2011; Ting-Toomey& Chang, 2005)
    6. 6. Two Different Learning Paradigms Aspects of SLIFE North American Learning Classrooms Immediate FutureCONDITIONS Relevance Relevance Interconnectedness Independence Shared IndividualPROCESSES Responsibility Accountability Oral Transmission Written Word Pragmatic Tasks DecontextualizedACTIVITIES Classroom Tasks(Adapted from DeCapua & Marshall, 2009, 2011; Marshall, 1994,1998)
    7. 7. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP) SLIFE North American Classrooms Immediate FutureAccept learner Relevance Relevanceconditions Interconnectedness IndependenceCombine learner &North American Shared Individualprocesses Responsibility Accountability with Oral Transmission Written WordFocus on newactivities with Pragmatic Academicfamiliar language Tasks& content Tasks(Adapted from DeCapua & Marshall, 2009, 2010, 2011; Marshall 1994, 1998)
    8. 8. Haitian Adult Learning Center• Community-Based Organization (CBO)• 2 ESL levels• High demand for English language & literacy classes• SLIFE population• Volunteer Teachers
    9. 9. Teacher & Class• Volunteer• MALP-trained• Master’s in TESOL student• Assistant (last 3 months)• Occasional creole-speaking volunteer• Once weekly, five months instruction• Class ranged in size from 12 – 32
    10. 10. Students• English oral proficiency: very low beginner to advanced beginner• Alphabet recognition to basic sentence formation• Little or no French• Formal education 2 – 14 years• 16-70 years old, majority over 40• In the U.S. 3 months – 7 years• Almost all female, only 2 males
    11. 11. Design of Study• Intake assessment• Informal interviews• Outtake assessment• Classroom observations• Video recordings, photos• MALP Checklist• Journaling
    12. 12. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm – MALP © Teacher Planning ChecklistA. Accept Conditions for LearningA1. I am making this lesson/project immediatelyrelevant to students.A2. I am helping students develop and maintaininterconnectedness.B. Combine Processes for LearningB1. I am incorporating shared responsibility andindividual accountability.B2. I am scaffolding the written word through oralinteraction.C. Focus on New Activities for LearningC1. I am focusing on tasks required for learning in theclassroom.C2. I am making these tasks accessible with familiarlanguage and content.
    13. 13. Preliminary Results• Underscored importance of immediate relevance• Validated necessity of introducing classroom language and behaviors using familiar language and content• Created positive learning experience• Introduced classroom learning tasks• Developed literacy skills
    14. 14. Limitations of Study• Classroom observations• Video recordings• Photos• Journaling• Limited interviews• No formal assessments• 1 teacher
    15. 15. Difficulties of Implementing Controlled Studies in CBOs vs. K-12 settings• Loosely structured programs• Funding issues• Lack of consistent attendance• Volunteer teachers• Lack of consistent training, pedagogical support
    16. 16. Questions for Researchers• Should such research be disqualified? • Is it valuable if it is not controlled or “scientific?” • How do we draw the line between anecdotal and research?• What can we do to improve the quality of research given the realities of CBO’s?
    17. 17. Male Day Laborers’ Program• Expansion of trial study• Drop-in• Volunteer teachers• Strong funding sources--good resources, including computers• Primarily Spanish speakers• No video taping or recording
    18. 18. Special thanks to Kathryn Mercury without whomthis project would not have been possible
    19. 19. Selected ReferencesDeCapua, A., & Marshall, H.W. (2011). Breaking new ground:Teaching students with limited or interrupted formal education.Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.DeCapua, A. & Marshall, H.W. (2010a). Serving ELLs withlimited or interrupted education: Intervention that works. TESOLJournal, 1, 49-70.DeCapua A., & Marshall, H.W. (2010b). Students with limitedor interrupted formal education in US classrooms. UrbanReview, 42, 159-173. DOI 10.1007/s11256-009-0128-z.DeCapua, A., Smathers, W., & Tang, F. (2009). Students withlimited or interrupted schooling: A guide for educators. AnnArbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory,research, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching.Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 106-116.
    20. 20. Gahungu, A., Gahungu, O., & Luseno, F. (2011, April 15). Educatingculturally displaced students with truncated formal education (CDS-TFE): The case of refugee students and challenges for administrators,teachers, and counselors., G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevantpedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465-491.Marshall, H.W. & DeCapua A. (2009). The newcomer booklet: Aproject for limited formally schooled students. ELT Journal, 64, 396-404.Marshall, H. W., & DeCapua, A., & Antolini, C. (2010). EngagingEnglish language learners with limited or interrupted formal education.Educator’s Voice, 3, 56-65.Smith, C., & Hofer, J. (2003). The characheteristcs and concersns ofadult basic education teachers. Boston: National Center for the Studyof Adult Learning and Literacy., S., & Chung, L. (2005). Understanding interculturalcommunication. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publications.
    21. 21. MALP Websiteshttp://malp.pbworks.comHttp://malpeducation.comFurther