Developing Literacy Skills by Connecting With Your Community: Teaching Literacy Skills through E Mail
Dr. Consuelo Stebbins, Frankie Dovel-Morris.
The University of Central Florida's Masters Degree Program in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and the Adult Education ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Program of the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida were recipients of an Adult Education grant titled "Making Connections through ESOL". The main objective of this grant was to electronically connect the University of Central Florida graduate students with the Adult ESOL learners of Orange County Public Schools. The outcomes were beneficial to both groups of students. The activities provided practical hands-on training for the graduate students as it offered them the opportunity to experience first hand the kinds of errors frequently made by non-native speakers. Graduate students also developed and implemented teaching strategies as they corrected and commented on student work. The public school students also benefited greatly as they received individualized attention in the form of corrections and comments from their designated graduate students.
After the e-mail server had been established and the students had been assigned e-mail addresses, the activities began. The project coordinator sent an e-mail writing assignment every Monday to two hundred and fifty Public School Adult ESOL students. The assignments were based on the topics currently being presented in the stand up classroom portion of the Adult Education ESOL program. Students forwarded their responses to their assigned graduate students. The graduate students were required to respond to all mail before the end of the week so that ESOL students would receive feedback prior to receiving their next e-mail assignment.
Adult ESOL students and graduate students established a rapport that reached beyond the assignments. ESOL students would send additional questions to their graduate students and at the end of each semester the graduate students would personally visit the ESOL classrooms to meet the students wih whom they had been corresponding.
It is always a pleasure to participate in situations where students are excited about learning. This program generated a great deal of enthusiasm as the flurry of e-mails continued.
Dr. Consuelo Stebbins (United States)
Frankie Dovel-Morris (United States)
Depatrment of Adult Education
Albemarle County Public Schools
Frankie earned her Masters Degree in Spanish and Linguistics from The American University in Washington D.C. and has 15 years experience in working with Adult ESOL programs in Florida and Virginia. As a grant writer, she has successfully sought funding for the implementation of innovative practices in ESOL programs.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)