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Hover to see how factors connect to Primary Language. Then click connected factors to explore strategies related to multiple factors.
Primary Language refers to the language(s) a person has been exposed to from birth. Immigrant-origin adults (28% of working-age adults in the U.S.) need English skills for employment and navigating public and social systems. Adult English learners may or may not have a strong foundation in their Primary Language and may need to develop oral English skills, written English skills, or both.
Bilingual and multilingual learners can experience different language acquisition patterns; for adult English language learners we focus on Sequential Bilingualism/Multilingualism where a learner acquires their native language from birth but has meaningful exposure to additional language(s) after their first language has been established. Success at some aspects of language acquisition, such as producing a language's sounds, is greater when learning begins earlier in life, with ability to learn declining in late adolescence.
Adult learners may have varying levels of education and literacy in their first spoken or signed language which can impact their acquisition of English as a second language. Greater literacy skills in a first language can support English language learning. Reading in a second language may also be more complex due to interference from the first language when recognizing words and constructing meaning; these effects can differ based on the particular first language a learner knows.
Being actively bilingual or multilingual over the lifespan can have cognitive advantages and may have protective effects against developing symptoms of dementia. Additionally, students' Primary Language, and accompanying cultural knowledge, can be considered Background Knowledge that can support their academic learning.
Using language that is accessible and appropriately leveled for each student allows all learners to feel successful and participate in learning.
When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills.
Audiobooks allow learners to hear fluent reading and experience books in a flexible format.
When adults can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, learning becomes more personally meaningful and relevant.
Developing empathy in educators and in learners is an iterative process that requires taking the time to understand and honor others' perspectives.
Competency-based learning is self-paced, focused on mastery, and centered around demonstrating learning outcomes and skills rather than where or how they were attained.
Understanding adults' lived experiences and cultural backgrounds and connecting them to instructional practices helps all learners feel like valued members of the community.
When preparing for and executing a debate, learners analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking skills, an essential component of Problem Solving.
Developing cultural awareness as an educator is an ongoing process that includes building empathy for diverse learners, intentionally recognizing how one's own identity intersects with learners' identities, and creating an awareness of how the environment can impact learners' Sense of Belonging.
Discussions about race can range from celebrating the importance of diversity to understanding the impact of racism from the perspective of those who have been historically marginalized.
Analyzing errors is especially beneficial in helping learners develop a Learner Mindset and critical thinking skills, which are a component of Problem Solving.
Networking and supporting adult learners in expanding their social networks provide access to additional resources and Social Supports, which can impact their trajectory and Motivation.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, which may include self-directed learning activities.
Giving learners the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud helps them to solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, learners use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Adult learners who are struggling with Foundational Reading Skills, including decoding and phonemic awareness, can benefit from explicitly learning phonics skills in an educational setting.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and across contexts is critical for vocabulary acquisition.
Formative assessment is "assessment for learning" rather than "assessment of learning".
When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps learners construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
Opportunities for students to practice skills in context, with instructor support and also independently, helps to move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.