What Works forAdult ESL/ESOL Student April 2007

Dear Colleague,

This is a reminder that the discussion on What Works for Adult ESL Students, with study authors Larry Condelli and Heide Spruck Wrigley, begins this Monday. Please send your questions for the authors now.

Also, if you would like to let colleagues know about this discussion and how to sign up, here's the information to send them:

I am very pleased to announce a special discussion on "What Works for Adult ESL Students" with the principal authors of the study, Heide Spruck Wrigley and Larry Condelli. The discussion will begin April 9th and continue through April 15th. Below you will find brief biographies of the authors, and (links to) some short and longer pieces about the research. This is one of the major studies of adult ESL/ESOL in our field, and a wonderful opportunity to discuss the study and its findings with the authors. I hope you will take time before the discussion to read the study and to formulate your questions for the authors. You may send your questions beginning now although they will be held until April 9th when the discussion begins.

Biographies of the Guest Researchers

Dr. Heide Spruck Wrigley is Senior Researcher for Language, Literacy and Learning with LiteracyWork Associates, a small independent firm conducting research and professional development work in the United States and in Canada. She has been key in every federally funded national research study on adult ESL and acted as the subject matter expert in the What Works for Adult ESL Students study. She has written a number of books and articles related to adult ESL Literacy, including "Bringing Literacy to Life" a handbook for practitioners, "Communicating in the Real World", a textbook on workplace ESL, and most recently the "Language of Opportunity" a report for the Center on Law and Social Policy; and "Capturing What Counts" a chapter in "Adult Biliteracy: Socio-cultural and Programmatic Responses" (Erlbaum 2007). Dr. Wrigley currently is a non-resident fellow with the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. where she focuses on immigrant integration and policy issues related to adult ESL, employment and family literacy.

She has served on a number of advisory boards and expert panels, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, and (currently) the National Institute for Literacy and the National Center for Educational Statistics.
In an effort to make research accessible to practitioners, Dr. Wrigley is involved in a number of professional development efforts across the U.S. These include a four year ongoing staff development effort in Socorro, Texas to help teachers integrate family literacy, EL Civics, and technology. She also heads up several professional development Institutes (including a virtual course) for both new teachers and master teachers throughout Texas, focused on teaching English as a Second Language to adults. She has delivered numerous talks and key notes at conferences both within the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Wrigley holds a PhD in Education with a focus on Language, Literacy, and Learning and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Dr. Larry Condelli is a managing director of the Adult Education and Literacy Program in the Education and Human Development Division at the American Institutes for Research. His work includes research on adult ESL students, accountability, and conducting professional development and technical assistance for adult educators. He recently directed the What Works Study for Adult ESL Literacy Students, the first large-scale empirical study of the effectiveness of instructional practices for adult ESL students, and is currently directing a study of the impact of explicit literacy instruction on low-literate adult ESOL learners for the U.S. Department of Education. He is also the project director for the National Reporting System and was instrumental in developing this national accountability system for federally funded adult education and literacy program. Dr. Condelli's other projects include development of a performance-based reading assessment for low-literate adults for the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, funded by the National Center for Educational Statistics. He is a staff development and data consultant for the states of Alabama, California, Georgia and Utah and provides training and technical assistance to adult education staff in several states. Dr. Condelli holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California.

Readings to prepare for the Discussion

Below are links to readings (1 and 2) and documents (3 and 4) that will help you to prepare for the discussion.

  1. A short NCSALL Focus on Basics article on What Works for Adult ESL Students
  2. Instruction, Language and Literacy: What Works Study for Adult ESL Literacy Students
  3. A long, but not too theoretical paper on the What Works ESL study presented in England
  4. A paper on the What Works for Adult ESL Students study presented in Tilburg, Netherlands

David J. Rosen

Special Topics Discussion List Moderator djrosen@comcast.net

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