Monday, November 06, 2006

Conversing with Continuing Ed. ESOL Teachers

A few weeks ago, I attended the San Diego Regional CATESOL conference. I was caught off guard when a former colleague said, "I heard that you think we aren't preparing students for college." By "we" she was referring to Continuing Education, the adult ed. division of the SDCCD. I let her know that the rumor mill hadn't quite maintained the integrity of my comments. True, I had remarked to a couple of Continuing Ed. buddies that the credit ESOL courses were substantially more demanding than the CE classes (in general) and that CE students at the high intermediate to advanced level were placing into the lower levels of college ESOL, primarily because of their academic reading and writing skills. The stakes are just much, much higher, and the pressure is intense -- timed in-class essays, take-home essays, midterms, finals, GRADES.

A little later that day, I spoke with two advanced level CE teachers and shared some of my perceptions. They agreed that there was a large gap between the two programs. The difficulty in Continuing Ed. is that not all students have academic goals. Even those that do may not attend regularly because of work or family commitments. For me, one of the beauties of adult ed. is its focus on the here and now, the eternal present of that three hour block of time. At the same time, many adult students desire the content and the rigor that will enable them to move on to college, job training, or a promotion. If adult ed. prepares those students so that they place into higher levels of ESOL, students will be on a faster track to realize their goals. There may be an issue, however, of compensating instructors who take on such a job -- grading significant numbers of essays would definitely impact workload.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:46 PM  
Anonymous Tom kennedy said...

I teach ESL classes both in adult ed and at the state university, so I'm interested in figuring out how we can smooth the transitions for students. I'm happy to find out, though, that students are able to place from adult ed directly into ESOL classes at the CC. Since that's the case, it seems that there isn't really gap. At the same time, I'm sure that we can re-think curricula at all the levels to help make the transition easier.

Tom Kennedy

2:01 PM  
Blogger Centenial College said...

It is a good try to give in the field of adult education.Education does not have any age bar,hence you can learn any thing at any age!

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11:58 PM  

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