Contextualized Instruction Impacts the Workplace


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Contextualized Instruction Impacts the Workplace

  1. 1. CONTEXTUALIZED INSTRUCTION IMPACTS THE WORKPLACE Kristin Ekkens, MA TESOL Vera Grishkina, MA TESOL/Linguistics Jane DeGroot, MA TESOL Kelly Hernandez, MA TESOL TESOL Conference 2010 March 25, 2010
  2. 2. Workshop Agenda Brief overview of workplace English program Introduction to contextualized instruction Conducting needs assessments Creating contextualized lessons Levels of contextualization Employability Skills Resources Additional resources
  3. 3. Overview of Literacy Center of West Michigan
  4. 4. Literacy Center of West Michigan LCWM’s Executive Director: Susan K. Ledy Mission: Type of Company: Non-profit, 403c since 1986 Build a literate People Served: 1,372 Total (ABE, ESL, MWT) community and (PY 08-09) transform lives by Programs: Adult Tutoring Program, strengthening Customized Workplace English language and Family Literacy Program literacy skills. Staff: 10 Full-time paid 6 Part-time paid, 9 AmeriCorps 315 Part-time volunteers Annual Budget: nearly $1.3 million Website:
  5. 5. Customized Workplace English Building Bridges over Language and Culture Barriers Featured in 2008 broadcast of ABC World News Recognized Tonight with Charles Gibson. for Cited as a model program for workplace literacy in Innovation 2008 CLEG report and received 2006 Best Practices and Quality Award by MDLEG Featured multiple times in The Grand Rapids Business Journal, Business Review of West Michigan, and MiBiz (area newspapers) Awarded the 2007 Vendor of the Year Award by Windquest Companies, Inc., Holland, Michigan Ranked 6th on the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s list of Top Area Corporate Training Companies of 2008.
  6. 6. Customized Workplace English Learner Achievements (Oct 08-Sept 09) • Learning Gains and Class Attendance – Average gain on CASAS – 3.5 Listening; 3.9 Reading; 4.8 Math • National Career Readiness Certificates – 50 WorkKeys tests administered – 25 individuals tested – 4 bronze and 2 silver NCRC’s achieved (PY 08-09)
  7. 7. Literacy Center of West Michigan’s Customized Workplace English Building Bridges over Language and Culture Barriers
  8. 8. CWE Instruction Classes On-site at companies or community-based classes, flexible scheduling 3-20 participants Recommended 30-40 hours of instruction over 10 weeks Classes divided by proficiency levels (no multi-level classes) Instruction English only immersion (allows a variety of language backgrounds) Hands-on, contextualized instruction, transferrable skills Curriculum and instruction based on nationally recognized content standards and best practices Trainers have MA in TESOL or related field or graduate ESL endorsement on teaching certificate and are trained in workplace English Use a variety of language teaching methods (i.e. content-based, situational, TPR) Tangible goals that are outcome-driven
  9. 9. Contextualized Instruction
  10. 10. What is Contextualized Instruction? Providing instruction for the development of skills, knowledge, and attitudes drawn from the context in which they will be used, using real-life materials and situations from that context. Work-based basic skills is an example of a particular context. Source: PA Department of Education ( )
  11. 11. Contextualized Instruction Shifts the focus from acquisition of skills and knowledge to active application in realistic situations Demands more hands-on, active learning that stimulates learners to think, act, and apply skills and knowledge as they would in the workplace and real life Marginally literate adults enrolled in job-related programs make approximately twice the gains in performance on job-related reading tasks than on standardized, general reading tests Source: Tennessee ESOL in the workplace, Module 3
  12. 12. Benefits to Employers The Conference Board of Canada. CONFERENCE BRIEFING The economic benefits of improving literacy skills in the workplace BY MICHAEL R. BLOOM, MARIE BURROWS, BRENDA LAFLEUR AND ROBERT SQUIRES
  13. 13. What does that look like? When teaching reading When teaching math an an instructor may use the instructor may use the following workplace following workplace skills: materials: Compute sales prices Food order slips Count finished products to Logs of working hours determine if product orders are complete Appropriate safety Weigh or measure ingredients procedures Collect payments from Operation procedures customers Safety logs Balance currency, coin, and checks in cash drawers Source: PA Department of Education ( )
  14. 14. Conducting a Needs Assessment
  15. 15. Workplace ESOL focus varies according to need Employability – Soft skills Basic skills training – Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Math Occupational and technical knowledge Limited in scope and duration Delivery format Work-centered and worker-centered
  16. 16. What is a Needs Assessment? What do the employers want the employees to know or learn? What do the employees want to know or learn? What kinds of problems is the company encountering with respect to language skills and work habits? How can the problems be addressed with the help of the language, literacy or cultural training for managers?
  17. 17. Needs Assessment Process Interview Assess Tour the stakeholders employees facility: pictures/video Analyze and Collect job- Job design the specific shadowing course documents
  18. 18. Sample Needs Assessment Interview Questions What jobs are performed by workers with limited English language skills? What skills are required for those jobs? What skills do workers have? What skills do they still need and want? What problems do workers experience in performing their jobs and moving to new jobs? Why is the site considering a training program for its employees? Who determined that there was a language or literacy problem, and with whom is the problem presumed to lie? What are the workers' educational aspirations, and how do they participate in planning the program? What are the language, literacy, and cultural issues to be addressed? Who will measure progress in the program? How? What is at stake if a certain literacy level is not attained by the program's end? Source: Tondre-El Zorkani, B. (2007). Charting a Course: Responding to the Industry-Related Adult Basic Education Needs of the Texas Workforce, Handbook #1 – Planning and Implementation Tips for Program Planners and Administrators. Houston, Texas: Texas LEARNS.
  19. 19. Language Task Analysis Question Notes 1. What are the language, literacy, and My employees do not cultural issues you as an employer understand working instructions want to have addressed? that are given to them. 2. What jobs are performed by workers Production, but the jobs rotate with limited English language skills? frequently, so the employees need to be able to do several jobs. 3. What skills are required for these jobs? What Understand spoken directions, other skills are required? commands, ability to state mis/understanding; teamwork 4. Do workers need to read safety and chemical Need to enter information warnings, manuals, or digitalized screens on pieces regularly on computer screens. of equipment? Source: Tondre-El Zorkani, B. (2007). Charting a Course: Responding to the Industry-Related Adult Basic Education Needs of the Texas Workforce, Handbook #1 – Planning and Implementation Tips for Program Planners and Administrators. Houston, Texas: Texas LEARNS.
  20. 20. Workplace Scenario #1 Your organization was hired to provide language and literacy training at a local manufacturing company. Recently, following a company-wide training session on the use of an electronic procedure for tracking of produced parts and labor (“Electronic Timesheet”), it became obvious to the HR department that a number of employees did not understand much of the training. You realize that the employees are struggling with company jargon or obscure language. This makes it especially difficult for non-native speakers of English to follow the procedure and enter information correctly on the screen. This scenario may require specialized training, and the company’s not sure where to begin.
  21. 21. The company has some questions… What solutions can you offer to this company in terms of services? What additional information/ resources do you need and how can the company provide it? What activities will the instructors have to carry out in preparing to deliver services?
  22. 22. General and Specialized Vocabulary
  23. 23. Creating Contextualized Lessons
  24. 24. Contextualized ESL learning activities Based on employer/employee needs Job contextual, using workplace materials Activity oriented and focused on application Tap into learners’ prior knowledge Specific, measurable outcomes/competencies Support improved job performance Motivate, build, model, guide, and provide independent, applied practice Source: Tennessee ESOL in the workplace, Module 3
  25. 25. Lessons and activities are… …built around teaching the particular skills using materials and scenarios needed for success in the workplace. …designed to include measures for learner gains through observation, surveys, checklists, and role plays.
  26. 26. Workplace instructional resources Company Newsletters Operating instructions Purchase and work Medical forms orders Job descriptions Invoices Workers’ compensation Safety and health forms and insurance forms Union material Company brochures Signs Pay slips, memos, labels Employee handbooks Manuals Inventory sheets Pictures and video of the workplace Source: Tennessee ESOL in the workplace, Module 3
  27. 27. Workplace Scenario #2 You are providing workplace ESL training to a local coffee company. HR shares with you that the non-native English speaking employees are struggling with identifying the different kinds of coffee bean roasts. This is slowing down production and causing a number of errors in orders. In addition, there have been an increasing number of errors with correctly filling out manufacturer order labels.
  28. 28. Where would you start? What additional information/ resources do you need and how can the company provide it? What activities would you suggest to help the employees learn the vocabulary? And to complete manufacturer orders correctly?
  29. 29. Levels of Contextualization Specialized Customized Off-the-shelf curriculum
  30. 30. Off-the-shelf curriculum: Supplemental materials Ready to Go (Pearson and Longman) Preparing Workers, Math, Reading & Writing (Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, online publication) KeyTrain (Thinking Media) Clear Speech (Cambridge) Work Matters (Contemporary’s) English ASAP (Steck-Vaughn) Other suggestions?
  31. 31. Customized: Off-the-shelf with created activities
  32. 32. Specialized: Tailor-made materials Welcoming Environment •Courtesy and Respect •Communication •Teamwork •Service Recovery and Responsiveness •Wayfinding and Elevator Etiquette
  33. 33. Excellence in Action: Wayfinding and Elevator Etiquette At the end of this lesson, you will be able to: •Evaluate your areas of strength and areas for improvement in regards to wayfinding and elevator etiquette •Recognize and use the common words and phrases related to workplace evaluation, specifically, in the area of wayfinding and elevator etiquette •Help patients and guests find their way around the hospital •Understand the rules of elevator etiquette •Communicate different ways of expressing “I don’t know” which are helpful and not dead-end responses
  34. 34. Please help me find my way! Starting points: 245 Cherry Can you help me find the Lacks Cancer Center? Main hospital How do you get to the North Visitor parking lot? Loretto Hall How do I get to the Medical Office Building? Lacks Cancer Center Do you know how I can get to the Wege Center?
  35. 35. Elevator TRIVIA FUN! How well do you know elevator etiquette?
  36. 36. Elevator Etiquette Game: True or False 1. If you are waiting to board, do not stand in front of the elevator door. TRUE or FALSE 2. Unless you are sure no one is exiting, do not enter the elevator car. TRUE or FALSE 3. If you cannot see an indicator lamp (if the elevator is going up or down), it is rude to ask the riders of the car which direction the car is traveling. TRUE or FALSE 4. As a general rule, for every one person who is attempting to get on the elevator, there should be room enough for two people. TRUE or FALSE 5. If an elevator is crowded, it is impolite to split up and agree to meet at your destination floor. TRUE or FALSE Adapted from
  37. 37. Employability Skills Equipped for the Future Preparing Workers for 21st Century Employment KeyTrain and National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)
  38. 38. Equipped for the Future (EFF) EFF Mission: To provide the tools, professional development and technical assistance that support the implementation of standards-based adult education in ways that meet the needs of adult learners.
  39. 39. Four Purposes for Learning
  40. 40. Fundamental tools for facilitating the EFF approach to teaching, learning and assessing, and program improvement.
  41. 41. Michigan DELEG’s Preparing Workers materials: Math, Reading, Writing Personal quote from company representative Vocabulary Scenario set in the workplace Think About It! Questions to engage the learner EFF Work Readiness Profile Tasks
  42. 42. KeyTrain and the NCRC KeyTrain is the complete interactive training system for career readiness skills, based on ACT's WorkKeys® assessment system and the National Career Readiness Certificate. The National Career Readiness Certificate is the national standard in certifying workplace skills. Requested and required by employers across the nation, the Certificate allows individuals to demonstrate their level of skill in the most common skills required for success in the workplace.
  43. 43. KeyTrain: Career Skills
  44. 44. Summary Contextualization will accelerate the learning process and help close the gap between language classes and the workplace. To have quality contextualized instruction, lessons must: Be based on a thorough needs assessment of various stakeholders Use nationally recognized and statewide content standards Emphasize the worker and work-centered nature of learning Connect learning and the real lives of the employees in their jobs
  45. 45. Additional Resources Texas Learns: Charting a Course Tennessee ESOL in the Workplace Introduction to Workplace ESL Workbase (New Zealand)
  46. 46. Questions and Answers Kristin J. Ekkens, MA Customized Workplace English, Program Director Email: Website: