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English Literacy and Civics Education

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition
Resource Type: 
Number of Pages: 
Required Training: 



This CAELA resource defines civics, per the U.S. Department of Education, and offers suggestions for teaching civics at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. The authors describe the rationale behind the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) emphasis on Civics, including a little bit of history about the DOE ESL/Civics project. The resource highlights what students may need to know at each level and appropriate activities for introducing and teaching content matter. Furthermore, there is good list of resources for practitioners. Due to the date of this resource one of the more recent ESL Civics resources, EL/Civics Online: Integrating EL/Civics into Adult ESL Classes is not listed. This website has been reviewed and is included in the LINCS English Language Acquisition Collection and is an excellent complement to this CAELA resource.

What the Experts Say: 

This resource attempts to define the purpose and content of EL/Civics which, while a separate category of funding, is often hard to distinguish from “regular” ESL. This summary clarifies the legislation and offers classroom ideas for teachers to use in carrying out the intent of the program. It is of particular value to coordinators seeking ESL/civics resources and for teachers of EL/civics classes.

Useful features

  • There are three sections; each addresses a different level of English proficiency- Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. In each section, the teaching strategies are concrete, practical, and realistic for the level. It is easy to skim this resource and find the information that applies to the specific needs of each reader.   An annotated resource list of web sites is extremely useful. There is also a reference and book list at the end. On the list, teachers can find what they need to enhance their lessons.
  • References to other documents that have actual activities
  • For every level, there is a broad array of active and lively instructional ideas to encourage students to participate in civic life. Authors provide description of activities by different language proficiency levels (beg., int., adv)
  • While the focus is on content related to U. S. government, there are also ideas for community integration. This is important because states have some discretion in crafting their RFP’s and focus may vary slightly from state to state.

Not so useful features

  • Proficiency levels should cross reference to NRS levels
Further Suggested Resources:
U.S. Civics and Citizenship Online: Teacher Resources
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