English Plus Integration: Shifting the Instructional Paradigm for Immigrant Adult Learners to Support Integration Success

Report Author: 
Margie McHugh and Catrina Doxsee
Date of Publication: 
October, 2018

"English Plus Integration: Shifting the Instructional Paradigm for Immigrant Adult Learners to Support Integration Success" argues for an expanded model of ESOL for adults that prioritizes and explicitly supports immigrant integration. The authors suggest that in addition to language acquisition, immigrants need to develop digital literacy skills, understand the US history and civics required to become a citizen, and create success plans for themselves and their families. Beyond these basic requirements, the authors believe that ESOL programs need to network with other agencies so that adult learners can gain access to key information and resources on topics such as employment, housing, health literacy and financial literacy. This kind of networking would allow programs to be tailored to the needs of individual students, who can range from those with limited formal education in their home country to those with advanced degrees. Because this more expansive conception of adult ESOL runs counter to the federal Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act’s (WIOA) narrow focus on workforce development, the authors conclude that states must take action if they wish to see ESOL play a key role in immigrant integration. They review case studies of states that have managed to re-allocate resources for integration while still adhering to federal guidelines (e.g., New York State) and highlight aspects of the WIOA regulations that allow for flexibility. Throughout the report, the authors recognize the time and resources demands placed on both learners and programs, and they hope that a new model of service provision will make ESOL courses more flexible, efficient and responsive to local efforts for immigrant integration. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

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Citation: 

McHugh, M. & Doxsee, C. (2018). "English Plus Integration: Shifting the Instructional Paradigm for Immigrant Adult Learners to Support Integration Success." Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/english-plus-integration-instructional-paradigm-immigrant-adult-learners

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Migration Policy Institute
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