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Literacy

 

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8th September 2014

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If you are thinking of tackling the Cambridge DELTA modules, we are running online Module 1 & Module 3 preparation courses at Developing Courses.com.
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Chester School
Cambridge ESOL CELTA
in Madrid, Spain

It's International Literacy Day on 8th September & clearly very much related to our work.

There is an excellent video of literacy teaching in action at the Teach English website - 'Judy Kirsh explores some of the different pproaches involved in teaching basic literacy to ESOL learners who have no, or very little, literacy in English or any other language. She begins with a brief overview of possible approaches and theories of literacy learning, followed by a closer examination of the 'language experience' approach.' http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/seminars/esol-learners-basic-
literacy-needs-%E2%80%93-where-do-i-start

Here's the Wikipedia definition of 'literacy':

'The traditional definition of literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate ideas in a literate society, so as to take part in that society. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has drafted the following definition: "'Literacy' is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society." In modern times, illiteracy is seen as a social problem to be solved through education.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy

There is literacy in the mother tongue & then being literate in another language. Our learners have a variety of different needs that depend on their future target situations & preferred learning aims. For learners living in English-speaking countries the need tend to be very clear & for those wishing to live or visit one of these countries in the future, much the same needs apply. And then a lot of other learners would like this more functional approach taken with their learning as a matter of course. However there are those who do not see themselves interacting with native speakers as much as the non-native speaker in a business setting.

In the wider context, the UN has this to say about literacy:

'Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults - is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels - locally, nationally and internationally.'
http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/literacy/

'On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.'
http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-
URL_ID=53299&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Wikipedia's page on the Day:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Literacy_Day

http://www.niace.org.uk/projects/esolcitizenship/
The aim of these ESOL citizenship materials is to help the ESOL teacher develop the learners' knowledge of life in the UK, help them become more active citizens and to support applications for citizenship and settlement. If you are an ESOL teacher working with learners at Entry 1, Entry 2 or Entry 3, we hope you will find them useful anyway. But if you are teaching ESOL citizenship, they are essential. Use of Citizenship Materials for ESOL Learners in an ESOL citizenship and settlement course is now a Home Office requirement, if the learners wish to apply for UK citizenship and settlement. Excellent free downloads useful for all English language teachers!

A few more links to interesting & useful material - among many!:

http://www.britishness-test.co.uk/SampleTest.aspx?linkid=sample
Sample British-ness tests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTjeoQ8gRmQ
Simplified spelling lesson from Ed Rondthaler, age 102, former president of the American Literacy Council - YouTube.

http://www.literacytools.ie/welcome.cfm
Literacy Tools

http://www.rug.ie/
The 'really useful guide' to words & numbers.

http://www.writeon.ie/
Write On - an interactive web site to help you improve your
reading, writing and numbers skills.

http://www.literacy.uconn.edu/eslhome.htm
Literacy Resources for Learners of English as a Second Language

http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/Health/healthindex.html
Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy

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Happy teaching!

Alistair

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The Weekly Teaching Tip is written by Alistair Dickinson at Developing Teachers.com.
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