AEIS Newsletter

AEIS News, Volume 2:1 (February 2004)

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011
In This Issue...

Message From the Chair
Partial Preview of AEIS Sessions at TESOL's 2004 Convention in Long Beach
Update on the Naturalization Test Redesign
Discussion of the Experts: Tried-and-True and New Materials for the Adult ESL Classroom
Promising Practices to Promote Retention: Results of a Case Study Conducted in the San Diego Centers for Education and Technology (SDCCD)
Review of Stand Out Series, by Staci Lyn Sabbaugh and Rob Jenkins
Editor Notes: Vital Information for AEIS Members
AEIS Executive Board/Steering Committee 2003-2004
About This Member Community

Message From the Chair

By Rosie Maum,

Dear fellow adult educators and AEIS members,

As I skimmed through past issues of AEIS newsletters, I noticed that some of the issues and concerns in the field have remained the same over the years: professional marginalization, under-representation at TESOL conventions (in terms of total participants and program sessions), challenges of overcoming geographic isolation, and limited access to information and opportunities for professional growth. These worries have recently been compounded by significant federal and state budget cuts and legislative mandates. Many of my U.S. colleagues in adult education have begun to contact their senators and representatives, asking them to support the Senate (not the House) version of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) bill. My colleagues believe that the Senate's version of the bill is much better in terms of providing the vital resources necessary to sustain the adult literacy field and should include continued funding for the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL), which has been an invaluable resource for adult ESL, family literacy, workplace literacy, health literacy, and adult reading and numeracy. I am sure many of these and other issues and concerns will be articulated at the upcoming 2004 TESOL convention, so I hope you will be able to attend and share your voices.

Speaking with colleagues who have attended the convention much more often than I have, I found out that the last time TESOL met on the west coast it was one of the best-attended conventions ever, and I hope that history will repeat itself this year in Long Beach, California, in the United States. I requested a large room for the AEIS business meeting that will be held Wednesday, March 31, 5-7 pm (Long Beach Convention Center, Room 302), so please plan to attend. If you would like to be included in our agenda, please contact me as soon as possible to discuss your topic and make arrangements. This meeting is important because it will be a chance to brainstorm together and decide on the direction the AEIS should take at the 2005 TESOL convention. In addition, this is probably the only opportunity for all of us in adult ESL to meet in one place and reconnect or make new friends. Members can socialize in a more informal way that same evening at the Intercultural Communication IS Reception in the Renaissance Hotel, Renaissance Ballroom 4 and 5, 7-9 pm. The AEIS has been invited to attend the reception because this year our IS has an Intersection session with the Intercultural Communication IS.

If you cannot attend the Wednesday Business Meeting, try to come to the Planning Meeting on Saturday, April 3, in the Convention Center, Room 302, 4-5pm. The AEIS needs your input and ideas for next year's academic session, discussion groups, and overall IS focus.

As always, there will be an AEIS booth. If you have any material that you would like to have displayed there, please contact me as soon as possible to make sure it is appropriate and to decide how many copies you will need to bring. The AEIS also needs volunteers who can staff the booth for an hour or two. If you are able, please contact Trudy Lothian at For those who can't attend the convention or will miss sessions, the IS hopes to post abstracts of papers on the Web.

Following is a preview of upcoming sessions at the TESOL 2004 convention. For a more complete and updated list of sessions, consult TESOL's Web site; you can create a daily plan of the sessions you want to attend (

I really look forward to attending the convention this year (this will be my first visit to California), and I am particularly excited about meeting as many of you as possible and attending the AEIS sessions. Until then, have a pleasant and productive semester!


Rosie Maum, AEIS chair

Partial Preview of AEIS Sessions at TESOL's 2004 Convention in Long Beach Wednesday, March 31, 2004

7:30-8:15 am, Westin/Odessa
Discussion Group: Meet the Experts on Adult ESL Materials
Marilyn McLaughlin, Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, United States

8:30-9:15 am, Hyatt/Harbor A & B
Paper:Vygotsky and the Language of Pain
Margaret B. Silver, English Language and Literacy Center, St. Louis, Missouri, United States; Barbara B. Adelman, English Language and Literacy Center, St. Louis, Missouri, United States

10:30-11:15 am, Hyatt/Regency Ballroom F
Paper:Rewriting Gender in Family Literacy Classrooms
Julia Menard-Warwick, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States

12:45-1:45 pm, Long Beach Convention Center/Exhibit Hall
Poster: Developing a Computer Skills Curriculum for ESL Learners
Nima Salehi, Minnesota Literacy Council, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

7-7:45 pm, Westin/Odessa
Discussion Group: Working With Older (60+) Adults
Mary Lee, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Trudy Lothian, Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, April 01, 2004

2-2:45 pm, Hyatt/Beacon Ballroom Section B
Demonstration:Let the Games Begin for Adult ESL Learners!
Nicole M. Spence, Vocational Training Development Institute, Kingston, Jamaica

4-4:45 pm, Hyatt/Regency Ballroom D
Paper: Timely Training of New Adult ESOL Teachers
Deborah Cargill, Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education, Manassas, Virginia, United States; Nancy R. Faux, Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, Richmond, Virginia, United States

7-7:45 pm, No, Westin/Odessa
Discussion Group: No, You're Not Stupid! Learning Disabilities in ESOL
Alison Karfeld, American University, Washington, Dist. of Columbia, United States

Friday, April 02, 2004

7:30-8:15 am, Westin/Naples
Discussion Group: Developing and Teaching Native Language Literacy Courses
Jose A. Carmona, Daytona Beach Community College, Daytona Beach, Florida, United States

8:30-10:15 am, Westin/Tokyo & Vancouver
Colloquium:National and State Initiatives in Adult ESOL
Sue Barauski, Adult Learning Resource Center, Des Plaines, Illinois, United States; Mahnoush Harirsaz, California Department of Education, Sacramento, California, United States; Edwina Hoffman, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Coral Gables, Florida, United States; Diane Pecoraro, Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, Roseville, Minnesota, United States; Raiana Mearns, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States; Linda Hellman, Pima College Adult Education, Tucson, Arizona, United States; Ursula Lord, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, Dist. of Columbia, United States; Nancy R. Faux, Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, Richmond, Virginia, United States; Sue Barauski, Adult Learning Resource Center, Des Plaines, Illinois, United States

Saturday, April 03, 2004

9:30-10:15 am, Hyatt/Seaview A
Demonstration:Connecting to the Community With Civics Education
Catherine Porter, Adult Learning Resource Center, Des Plaines, Illinois, United States; Laura Martin, Adult Learning Resource Center, Des Plaines, Illinois, United States

10:30-11:15 am, Hyatt/Beacon Ballroom Section A
Demonstration:Adapting Materials Under the Gun
Patricia Schwindt, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, San Antonio, Texas, United States; Annette Buford, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, San Antonio, Texas, United States; Craig Dougherty, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, San Antonio, Texas, United States

For additional AEIS sessions, please visit

Update on the Naturalization Test Redesign By Lynne Weintraub,

On January 14 and 15, 2004, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly known as INS) held a Stakeholder Conference in Washington, DC, to gather input on the design of a new standardized citizenship test now under development. The conference was attended by over 100 citizenship educators, immigrant advocates, and USCIS district adjudication officers (the officials who conduct citizenship interviews) from around the county.


USCIS is aware that the current system for testing naturalization applicants lacks uniformity and, in many ways, is not a meaningful measure of civics knowledge or English skills. In 2001, USCIS contracted with MetriTech, a test development firm, to develop new content and procedures for testing that will be efficient, fair, standardized, and applicant-centered. MetriTech/USCIS have looked at national and state standards for K-12 history content, Equipped for the Future (EFF) standards, and input from a committee of history and government experts in order to identify content for the civics test. Similarly, MetriTech/USCIS has consulted the National Reporting System for Adult Education and Canadian Language Benchmarks to establish an appropriate level of proficiency for the English language requirement of the test. An initial field test of MetriTech's proposed design for the English language test has already been conducted, and additional field tests are planned through spring 2005. Once USCIS collects input from the various stakeholders and refines a test draft, it plans to submit the draft to the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) of the National Academies, for an impartial expert review. The target date for nationwide implementation of the new test is 2006.

Initial Field Test Results

After receiving an overview of the test redesign process, participants in the Stakeholder Conference heard representatives of various community-based organizations (CBOs) and USCIS field offices give their perspectives on the field tests conducted in six cities. While many reported positive experiences with the new test, the overriding concern, especially among CBOs, was that approximately 10% of the people who took the new test were unable to achieve a passing score. Because nearly all of these field test volunteers were individuals who had already passed the current citizenship test, a great deal of concern was expressed about whether the new test would raise the bar for immigrants at low proficiency levels. Throughout the course of the conference, USCIS assured participants that this is not its intention, and reminded them that USCIS is soliciting input about the test design in order to make appropriate revisions to prevent any particular group (e.g., people of any particular nationality, educational level, age) from being unfairly impacted by the new test.

Proposed Test Design

The test version now being explored is a standardized 30-40-minute test with four sections: reading, writing, speaking, and history/government. A computer-based format is under consideration, but even if implemented, a paper version of the test would be available for those who prefer it. Prospective naturalization applicants will take the test before submitting an N-400 application as a way to ensure that those who are not yet able to demonstrate proficiency in English and civics do not waste money on the application fee.

Test Sections and Conference Participants' Feedback

For the writing test, MetriTech plans to give a series of pictures of everyday life situations to applicants and ask them to write about what they see. The responses would be evaluated using a rubric similar to that used in the Basic English Skills Test (BEST). (Although participants were not given any specifics, there was also mention of a personal information form that examinees might be asked to fill out.) Reaction to this test from stakeholder focus groups largely centered on the wording of the rubric--determining whether a complete sentence, as opposed to intelligible phrases, would constitute a fair passing score. Focus groups also recommended that the photo prompts be in color (rather than black and white) and urged the test developers to use situations that would be universally recognizable and avoid cultural bias.

The proposed speaking test would use similar picture prompts and the same scoring rubric but would probably have to be administered on a one-on-one basis. Conference focus groups made the same recommendations about picture prompts and the scoring rubric mentioned above. Some also suggested that a speaking test might be redundant because applicants would still be required to demonstrate speaking proficiency at the naturalization interview.

To demonstrate reading ability, examinees would read several short paragraphs and answer several multiple-choice questions about each. There were lengthy discussions about alternative formats for these test items, and many creative suggestions were put forward. Many people felt that a separate reading test would also be redundant because the history/government test will already require that examinees have a fairly high level of reading proficiency. (USCIS responded that professional standards in the testing industry dictate that separate performance measures be taken for each skill area.)

The history/government content for the proposed test was a very contentious topic at the conference. The focus groups felt that the study guide content, which was developed by a committee of history/government experts, was not appropriate for adult education contexts in its present form. Most people felt that the cognitive and reading levels of the material were far too high, that it was poorly organized, and that students and citizenship educators would be confronted with an excessive volume of information in the study guide. In addition, many participants felt that the material was politically biased and that it did not sufficiently address the theme of civic participation. A variety of suggestions were offered on ways to format the study guide and test questions to make them more accessible to speakers with limited English proficiency.

The Future of the Citizenship Test

While this would seem like an overwhelming amount of input from stakeholders, Gerri Ratliff, the USCIS project director for redesigning the test, took a very genuine interest in comments and suggestions offered by the group. She repeatedly emphasized that nothing about the current test design is written in stone and that USCIS definitely values feedback from the field and will take it into account when finalizing the test design. To the extent that these recommendations are indeed implemented in the new test, the conference will have been a very productive event.

TESOLers in Long Beach this year will have an opportunity to add their voices to the redesign project. USCIS will present and display information at several venues at the 2004 TESOL convention in order to solicit additional comment from the field. Because millions of immigrants will ultimately be impacted by whatever test USCIS eventually develops, it is imperative that our voices be heard at this stage of the game. If you have the opportunity, please take a look at the test design information and samples at the convention and contribute your comments.

Lynne Weintraub is the coordinator of the Jones Library ESL Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the United States. She is the author of Citizenship: Passing the Test and Citizenship: Ready for the Interview (both from New Readers Press), and she is an educational consultant. Additional information for citizenship educators is available on her Web site,

Discussion of the Experts: Tried-and-True and New Materials for the Adult ESL Classroom By Marilyn McLaughlin,

On Friday evening of TESOL's 2003 convention, two dozen educators of adult ESL learners gathered in the Baltimore Convention Center to discuss for an hour the materials, both new and tried-and-true, that they liked to use. Here is a summary of the information and opinions that they shared in their verbal comments and in the annotated lists that they handed in at the close of the session. Thanks especially to Ann Silverman for leading the discussion and to Suzi Monti and Karin Abell for numerous contributions. (Join us on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at the TESOL convention in Long Beach, California, in the United States, for a similar discussion session; we are, after all, the experts who really know what works for us and for our students!)

Intermediate to Advanced

First, an item recommended for intermediate to advanced students who have studied verb tenses but are unable to use them effectively was Tense Situations: Tenses in Contrast and Context (Hartmann, Zarian, & Esparaza, 1998). This book demonstrates the unusual and interesting approach of using comic strips to help students get a feel for tenses. Stand Out! (Jenkins & Sabbagh, 2002) is a well-done, four-level (beginning through intermediate) series covering varied themes and is written to correspond to the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS).

Although listed for high beginners, Contact USA: A Reading and Vocabulary Text (Abraham & Mackey, 1996) was thought to work best in adult education as an instructional text for intermediate students and as the basis for group work with the teacher as facilitator/resource person for advanced students. The book was described as very good to fill in the gaps for a diverse group of advanced students and to promote great exchange as they help each other. Also stimulating for upper level students and their teachers who are interested in both lighthearted and serious interaction is React Interact: Situations for Communication (Byrd & Clemente, 2001), with interesting topics that vary not only in content but also in presentation and activities.

Low Beginner

Several reading texts were suggested for low beginners--Longman ESL Literacy (Nishio, 1998) and Starting to Read (Mrowicki, 1989), described as not attractive but useful. One teacher reported successfully using Basic Reading Power (Mikulecky & Jeffries, 1997), which includes fables and folk tales, with his lower level classes. Perennial favorite of teachers and students on lower levels is the True Stories series (Heyer, 1997). Higher level classes could utilize educational features of their local newspaper or subscribe to a newspaper for adult students, such as News for You, published by New Readers Press, which can be quite flexible about new subscriptions.

Building Word Power

The recommendations for materials to use in building word power included the In Use series from Cambridge University Press as well as Steck-Vaughan's Vocabulary Connections series, available on various levels for independent or supervised study. Also mentioned was the two-volume American Vocabulary Builder (Seal, 1997), with words presented well in context. It was noted that the Intermediate Book I, which requires teacher instruction, was somewhat more difficult than the Advanced Book II. One teacher mentioned using the weekly crossword puzzle in News for You to help students learn synonyms. To teach spelling with a lexical approach, try Structures in Spelling: Words with Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes (Brown & Knight, 1992).

Music as a Teaching Tool

A lively 10 minutes full of anecdotal examples centered on the pleasure and efficacy of using music as a teaching tool. The leading suggestion was Uwe Kind's Tune in to English: Learning English Through Familiar Melodies (1980; book and tapes) with its audio-singual method to lower students' affective filters and heighten their receptivity. Although originally intended for children, Singlish (Singlish Enterprises, 2001) came highly recommended for low beginning adults, especially those who are tired when they arrive at evening classes. Songs that tell stories or paint pictures work well on higher levels; try Bruce Springsteen (e.g., The Ghost of Tom Joad has several songs dealing with immigrants), Willie Nelson (e.g., Across the Borderline), Johnny Cash, and Cat Stevens. One teacher found that "Cat's in the Cradle," by Harry Chapin, generates good discussion; another said that the Beatles' "When I'm 64" locks in the grammar of future time subordinate clauses--on Valentine's Day or in a unit on aging. Enjoy learning the history of rock music and ways to use the entire genre from blues to rap to teach English and U.S. culture at the weeklong course for educators given every June at the Rock and Roll Museum and Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

For listening comprehension, cultural information, idioms, conversation, and writing prompts, consider using a video series; both Crossroads Café(Intelecom, 1996) and Connect with English (WGBH/Boston, 1997) were recommended. In the tried-and-true category were the book and tapes ofListening Dictation by Joan Morley (1976), which improve a student's ability to comprehend naturally spoken English. To make pronunciation interesting, try the fun activities in Pronunciation Games by Mark Hancock (1995). Also, check online at for additional ideas in that area.

Other Resources

Many members of the discussion group had more suggestions for resource materials in a variety of formats. A new text for new teachers, Practical English Language Teaching, edited by David Nunan (2003), focuses on useful strategies for all ESL teachers. Teaching Adult Second Language Learners, by Heather McKay and Abigail Tom (1999), zeroes in on adult ESL. After brief introductory chapters, including one on building community, the remaining 200 pages of the book provide very clearly presented class activities on themes such as family or health. (See also The Card Book: Interactive Games and Activities for Language Learners, also by Tom and McKay, for more of their ideas.) Also helpful in adult education is TESOL's New Ways of Teaching Adults (1997), which can be found at Several educators mentioned Hands-On English, a newsletter published six times a year and packed with classroom-ready activities, as a wonderful resource for teachers; go to for more information. Also, visit for explanations, exercises, and other features. Another good resource is Microsoft Word's Poster Maker, which helps teachers to produce creative, useful posters.

In conclusion, the sound advice of one participant was to join the Adult Education Interest Section listserv, which is free to all AEIS members (and if you have received and are reading this newsletter, chances are you are an AEIS member). To subscribe to the AEIS e-list, go the TESOL Web site at, click on Member Communities, then Interest Sections, and then Manage Your E-list Subscriptions. Also, log on to the National Institute for Literacy's listserv at On both of those lists, you can post questions and benefit from the collective wisdom of many adult ESL teachers on policies, strategies, and techniques as well as materials.


Hartmann, P., Zarian, A., & Esparaza, P. (1998) Tense situations: Tenses in contrast and context. Boston: Heinle.

Jenkins, R., & Sabbagh, S.L. (2002). Stand out: Standards-Based English (series). Boston: Heinle.

Abraham, P., & MacKey, D. (1996). Contact USA: A reading and vocabulary text. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Byrd, D. R. H., & Clemente-Cabetas, I. (2001)React Interact: Situations for Communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Nishio, Y. W. (1991). Longman ESL literacy. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Mrowicki, L. (1989). Starting to read. Palatine, IL: Linmore.

Mikulecky, B. S., & Jeffries, L. (1997). Basic reading power. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Heyer (Ed.). (1997). True stories (series). White Plains, NY: Longman.

News for You. Syracuse, NY: New Readers Press.

Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). In use (series). New York: Author.

Steck-Vaughan. (1999). Vocabulary connections (series). Austin, TX: Author.

Brown, T., & Knight, D. F. (1993). Structures in spelling: Words with prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Syracuse, NY: New Readers Press.

Kind, U. (1980). Tune in to English: Learning English through familiar melodies. New York: Regents.

Singlish Enterprises. (2001). Singlish. Chatsworth, CA: Author.

Springsteen. B. (1995). The ghost of Tom Joad [CD]. New York: Sony.

Nelson, W. (1993). Across the borderline [CD]. New York: Sony.

Chapin, H. (1974). Cat's in the cradle. On Verities & Balderdash [record]. New York: Elektra/Asylum.

The Beatles. (1969). When i'm 64. On Yellow submarine [record]. New York: Capitol.

Intelecom. (1996). Crossroads café (series). Pasadena, CA: Author.

Morley, J. (1976). Listening dictation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Hancock, M. (1995). Pronunciation games. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (Ed.). (2003). Practical English language teaching. New York: McGraw-Hill/Contemporary.

McKay, H., & Tom, A. (1999). Teaching adult second language learners. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Marilyn McLaughlin was chair of the Adult Education Interest Section in 2001-2002 and she teaches ESL in the Cleveland Heights School District Adult Education Program in Ohio, in the United States.

Promising Practices to Promote Retention: Results of a Case Study Conducted in the San Diego Centers for Education and Technology (SDCCD) By Jan Jarrell,

As with many institutions since September 11, 2001, the noncredit ESL program in the San Diego Community College District has suffered declining enrollments. This issue, together with the age-old problem of rapid turnover rates in adult ESL and the looming California budget crisis, pushed faculty to consider what they could do to bolster student retention. In response, my department formed a retention committee composed of volunteer representatives from its six noncredit centers and all levels of ESL in January 2003. After a series of brainstorming sessions, we assigned ourselves several projects that would enable us to collect data on retention and also to compile materials and practices that promote retention. In this article, I report on the results of a case study we conducted of eight classes with high retention rates, that is, classes in which students tended to remain for a greater number of hours in comparison to classes with similar characteristics.

Selection of Classes

We identified the high retention classes by dividing the average class size by the total number of students enrolled. This calculation gave us a percentage--the higher the percentage, the higher the rate of retention. As a result of this process, we found a large number of potential classes to study. Our next step was to meet with instructional leaders, resource instructors, and mentor teachers in order to select high retention classes that also represented each site, level, and schedule (morning, afternoon, and evening). We wanted to study the full breadth of the program because we recognized that high retention did not necessarily mean the same thing at all locations, levels, or times of day. Moreover, we needed to limit the number of classes to eight to accommodate our committee members.

Observation and Analysis

In order to understand the content and workings of each class, we developed a three-part process. First, one of our committee members observed the class and took notes using a feedback form we had developed. Next, the observer interviewed the teacher, again using a set of questions we had created. Finally, the observer held a focus group discussion with a small group pulled from the class.

The committee members provided the committee chair with detailed notes on all three forms. As chair, I analyzed the data and identified themes and key elements that appeared across the classes we observed. The following are some quick facts we discovered about the group of eight teachers after the analysis:

  • Eight teachers began class on time.
  • Eight teachers had a plan for welcoming new students.
  • Seven teachers implemented strategies from the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS).
  • Seven teachers had a set syllabus.
  • Seven teachers gave homework.
  • Six teachers posted or stated an agenda every day.
  • Six teachers formally graded homework or class work.
  • Six teachers gave tests.
  • Five teachers gave certificates or prizes for attendance or achievement.
  • Five teachers gave oral praise as the main reward (teacher and/or peer).
  • Three teachers called students if the students had been absent for an extended period of time.

In addition to these elements, we identified the following themes: structure, organization, community, and expertise. All of the observed classes demonstrated structure in the form of schedules, calendars, weekly or daily routines, syllabi, agendas, and/or classroom management through student teams. In terms of organization, students in these classes were busy during the entire class period and were actively engaged in meaningful tasks. The teachers developed a sense of community by knowing their students' names and details about their lives, and students knew and cared about other students in their class. Finally, the teachers were experts. They knew their material well and could provide clear explanations and examples. Students in the higher level classes especially appreciated this skill.

Teacher and Student Feedback

Most telling, however, was what teachers and students said about their classes. The following are some teachers' responses to our questions:

What, in your opinion, accounts for high retention in your class?

  • "Students feel they miss something if they don't come."
  • "Students feel good about themselves. The lessons are useful. They build self-esteem."
  • "High expectations."

What do your students love?

  • "Making progress. Seeing success in themselves."
  • "Being treated like adults."
  • "Jokes, fun, role-playing social English. Friday games."
  • "Dictation."
  • "Knowing they have learned something every time they come to class."
  • "Special projects."
  • "Group work."

The following are some students' responses to our questions:

What do you like about your teacher? Or your class? Or your lessons?

  • The teacher is "nice," "kind," "friendly," "patient," "intelligent," "funny." (These adjectives came up again and again.)
  • "The teacher is well-organized and prepared. She can handle all of the students questions."
  • "She listens to the students."
  • "He helps everyone."
  • "She makes us study hard."
  • "Our class is like a family."

Your class has good attendance. Why do you think that is true? (This is a composite summary of their responses.)

  • Good explanations.
  • Many activities, fast-paced, not boring.
  • Interesting topics, tied to current events.
  • The teacher makes sure everyone understands.
  • Homework, tests, games, dictation, verbs.

The study was gratifying because it confirmed that we are all doing many things that are likely to encourage student retention. It also provided us with a handy resource that we, as teachers, could use in order to add to our repertoire of sound teaching practices. We will continue to study retention again this year and look forward to sharing more findings in the future.

Jan Jarrell is a professor of ESL at the Cesar Chavez Center for Education and Technology in the San Diego Community College District in California, in the United States.

Review of Stand Out Series, by Staci Lyn Sabbaugh and Rob Jenkins Reviewer: Terry Pruett-Said,

Stand Out is a four-level series that stretches from beginning to advanced. Each book covers similar life skills topics such as housing, health, community services, and employment, but each one focuses on more complex competencies and language structures as the series proceeds. The advanced books also have chapters on government and citizenship.

Housing Unit

In Stand Out, Book One, in the unit on housing, beginning-level students identify different types of housing and learn the names of rooms. They also learn how to read newspaper ads and recognize abbreviations regarding housing. They practice making appointments to see apartments. They also learn and practice prepositions of place. By Stand Out, Book Four, students compare different types of housing and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. In addition, they practice asking information questions about housing, write a business letter to a real estate company, and discuss graphs comparing home ownership in the United States.

Health Unit

In the unit on health in book one, students learn the names of body parts, how to describe symptoms and illnesses, and how to read medication labels. Students also practice how to call 911 for emergencies. The grammar focus is on using should to give advice. By book four, students use the present perfect continuous to tell a doctor their symptoms and use indirect speech to tell other people what the doctor advised them to do. In addition, students discuss health insurance, read information about nutrition, and write a summary of an article about the common cold.

Teacher's Manual

But what I really like about this series is the teacher's manual, which is referred to as the Lesson Planner for good reason. Each book of each level comes with a Lesson Planner that includes detailed lessons for every chapter. Furthermore, with the addition of extra material a lesson can be made 1 1/2, 2, or 3 hours long. The lesson suggestions even include how much time each activity should take. Even though I've been teaching for 20 years, I found the lesson suggestions useful, interesting, and varied. I think they would be extremely beneficial for new teachers.

The Lesson Planner also comes with two CDs: one with listening activities and the other with a myriad of photocopiable worksheets done in Microsoft Word so that they can be modified to meet your personal needs. An audiotape is available for the listening activities if you do not have a CD player in your classroom. Finally, there is a grammar workbook for each level, which correlates with the grammar structures and the content in the textbooks, that can be used for extra grammar practice for those students who may need or want it.

I've used this series for a year now at different levels. There is enough varied material to keep students interested and to meet the needs of different learning styles. Another plus is that, even though the lessons have some connection to each other in content, each lesson works well on its own so students who may miss a lesson or two will not feel lost. The table of contents details how each unit meets Equipped for the Future (EFF), U.S. Department of Labor Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), and Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) requirements. Each unit's life skills competencies, language functions, grammar, and vocabulary are also laid out. I would recommend this series to all programs that focus on life skills competencies but may also want to include some content-based grammar instruction.

Terry Pruett-Said is an ESL teacher in the Adult Education ESL Program at the Utica Community Schools in Michigan, in the United States.

Editor Notes: Vital Information for AEIS Members By José A. Carmona,

We hope you have enjoyed the third issue of the AEIS Newsletter! As promised at the last AEIS meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States, we have been successful in sending out three issues. This is largely due to your commitment to our interest section as well as to the adult ESL profession. Please note that our next issue (postconvention) will be sent to you in June; therefore, our deadline is May 21, 2004.

Mark your calendars and save these times and dates at TESOL's 2004 convention in Long Beach, California, in the United States, for the following important AEIS meetings:

  • ESOL in Adult Education IS Open Business Meeting, Wednesday, March 31, 5-7pm
  • - ESOL in Adult Education IS Planning Meeting, Saturday, April 3, 4-5pm

Steering Committee Members Needed. The Nominating Committee for the AEIS invites members to submit their names to be members of the Steering Committee for 2004-2005. The available positions are member-at-large and assistant chair. This is a great opportunity to learn how the organization works and how your opinion is really valued. If you are interested or know of someone who would be willing to contribute in one of the two positions, please contact the current AEIS chair, Rosie Maum, at

Volunteer for the AEIS. Whether or not you are able to come to the 2004 TESOL convention in Long Beach, you can still be an active member of the AEIS. Please read and respond to the form below. We need your ideas and talents. You can send your response to the AEIS chair, Rosie Maum,

I would like to become an active member of the AEIS by: ___ reading and judging presentation proposals for the TESOL 2005 convention in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States, March 29-April 2, 2005 (entails 2-3 hours of work in early June 2004). ___ leading a discussion at the TESOL 2005 convention. Indicate topic: ___________________ ___ assisting the chair with nominations of the AEIS Steering Committee ___ contributing to the AEIS Web site ___ contributing an article to the AEIS Newsletter. Indicate topic: _________________________ ___ helping to staff the AEIS booth at the 2004 convention in Long Beach (1-2 hour shifts) ___ bringing materials to be displayed or distributed to the AEIS booth at the 2004 TESOL convention. Indicate nature of materials: __________________________ Please fill out the information below. Thank you for volunteering! Name: _____________________________________________________ Address:____________________________________________________ City/State: ____________________________________ Zip: __________ Telephone: __________________ E-mail: _________________________ 

Proposals Due for TESOL's 2005 Convention. If you want to make a presentation at the 2005 TESOL convention in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States (March 29-April 2), you will need a TESOL 2005 Call for Participation Form on which to submit your presentation proposal. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2004. You can submit your proposal online by going to the TESOL website at, or, if you attend the 2004 convention in Long Beach, you will find the form in your registration materials.

Call for Papers for a New TESOL Publication. Perspectives on Community College ESL is a forthcoming 3-volume series (to be published by TESOL) designed to bring together community college ESL/EFL practitioners' perspectives from diverse settings to get a better sense of the institutional state of the discipline and where it might be going. Contributors to the series should approach issues of concern to them from a reflective, analytical, and/or best practices viewpoint. The editors are looking for people to comment on the state of community college ESL institutionally, as well as to focus on a particular program, curriculum, project, or collaboration that was especially successful and worthy of attention beyond one's immediate workplace. The range of issues--whether in curriculum, programs, administration, assessment, students, advocacy, support services, or employment practices--is substantive, complex, and largely shaped by the unique mission of the community college. For complete call information, visit Call closes June 1, 2004.

I hope the information presented here has been helpful to you. Please continue to support our newsletter by submitting articles in the form of classroom techniques, teacher tips, opinion pieces, research articles, advocacy information, book reviews, announcements, and so forth. I look forward to reading your work, and I hope we meet in Long Beach.

José A. Carmona is the chair of Modern Languages and ESOL at Daytona Beach Community College in Florida, in the United States. In addition to editing the AEIS Newsletter, he is the editor of TEACH: A Journal of Teaching and Learning at Daytona Beach Community College. Currently, he is the president of Northeast Florida TESOL and a vice president of the Sunshine State TESOL.

AEIS Executive Board/Steering Committee 2003-2004 Chair
Rosie Maum
JCPS Adult and Continuing Education
Jacob Annex
3670 Wheeler Avenue
Louisville, KY 40215
Tel. 502-485-3892
Fax 502-485-3609

Marilyn Gillespie
SRI International
1611 North Kent Street
Arlington, VA 22209
Tel. 703-247-8510

4309 Linden Court
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel. 301-571-1263

Associate Chair
Trudy Lothian
Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board
Literacy and Basic Skills Program
893 Admiral Avenue
Ottawa, ON K2A 1N9
Tel. 613-224-6281
Fax 613-723-7510
E-mail: and

2068 Benjamin Avenue
Ottawa, ON K2A 1N9
Tel. 613-759-4142

Mary Jane Bagwell
Chemeketa Community College
P.O. Box 14009
Salem, OR 97309-7070
Tel. 503-589-7714
Fax 503-399-3914

Immediate Past Chair
Dann Wann
Professional Development Project
1635 West Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222-3852
Tel. 317-524-4292
Fax 317-524-4336

7811 Wind Run Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Tel. 317-845-9739

Members at Large
Marianne Dryden
508 Fort Drum Drive
Austin, TX 78745-2366
Tel. 512-444-9474
E-mail: and

Pauline McNaughton
Center for Canadian Language Benchmarks
200 Elgin Street
Suite 703
Ottawa, ON K2P 1L5
Tel. 613-230-7729
Fax 613-230-9305

P.O. Box 329
Marmora, ON K2P 1L5
Tel. 613-230-7729

Beth Thompson

Newsletter Editor and Co-Webmaster
José A. Carmona
Daytona Beach Community College
1200 West International Speedway Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2811
Tel. 386-947-5468
Fax 386-947-5474

42 Ballenger Lane
Palm Coast, FL 32137-8852
Tel. 386-445-6396

Beth Wallace
Al Ain
United Arab Emirates
Tel. 971-03-7511361
About This Member Community ESOL in Adult Education Interest Section (AEIS)

The ESOL in Adult Education Interest Section serves the interest of adult students in ESL programs, their teachers, and administrators. It brings together the knowledge, precepts, and skills of two distinct but compatible areas: adult education and English as a second language.

Leaders, 2003-2004 Chair: Rosemarie Maum,
Chair-Elect: Marilyn Gillespie,
Newsletter Editor: José A. Carmona,

Web site:

Discussion e-list: Visit to subscribe to AEIS-L, the discussion e-list, or if you already subscribe.