Literacy Source students and staff at our 16th Annual Breakfast on May 1.
Hello Literacy Source volunteers - We hope you all have been enjoying this lovely weather while soaking up some much needed sunshine! We can't believe we are already into unit 2 of spring quarter, which means that summer is soon approaching! This term we welcomed 46 new students at our most recent New Student Registration, including 6 new GED students. We also have 7 children registered for our evening childcare this term! Thank you to our wonderful childcare volunteers who make it easier for parents to attend classes at Literacy Source on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
As many of you know, we just held our Annual Breakfast on May 1, resulting in $160,000 worth of donations ($20,000 above our goal)! Thanks so much to those of you who attended and helped make this event successful. Most of all, we are thankful for student speakers Elizabeth Thuokok, Ljiljana Popovic, Efrem Worke, and Martha Benitez, who shared their inspiring stories with us. If you missed the breakfast this time around, be sure to check out our new video that premiered at the event, which includes interviews from 9 of our current students.
Once again, thank you for all that you do to support adult learners at Literacy Source.
Upcoming Event: Bystander Intervention Training
Photo Credit: CAIR-Washington
Bystander Intervention Training
There is still space left in our upcoming Bystander Intervention Training! Led by the Council
on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - Washington State, this free training will address what to do if you see someone being harassed because of their religious identity or for any other reason. You can register online here. Please join us!
Culturally Responsive Teaching: The Power of Multilingual Learning (Part 2)
An "Identity Pie" that students in our Ready to Work program made during the first week of class.
As stated in last month's culturally responsive teaching article, educators have often viewed learners' native-language knowledge in one of three ways: a problem to be fixed, an issue best ignored, or a powerful resource. If you're an ESOL tutor or teacher, which orientation do you gravitate toward in your practice? Can you recall moments that implicitly or explicitly signaled your beliefs about non-English languages? What about moments where your learners revealed their own feelings about non-English language use? In your sessions or classes, are students' multilingual identities acknowledged? If, as culturally responsive and asset-based educators, we believe that first language knowledge is a strength our students possess, how can we convey this message in our teaching and collaborate with students to disrupt the "English Only" model?
In this article about first language literacy and English development, Bigelow and Vinograd (2010) insist that designing learning activities to "draw on [students'] oral skills can help...learners improve their English literacy skills." Additionally, "seeing all learners as having valuable strengths is a first step to improved instructional practice." If we truly believe native-language knowledge is a valuable strength, then educators must also provide opportunities for students to utilize native language orality as another learning tool. On top of this, it's essential for ESOL tutors and teachers to position non-English language as a valuable, relevant, and welcomed part of people's identities.
How can we convey these values to our students? Most simply, we can discuss these issues together! If it's possible in English or if you share a non-English language with your learner, have a discussion about "English Only" versus multilingual classes/sessions. Let learners take the lead in setting expectations and norms about the use of native language resources. Explain the reasons for incorporating first language knowledge in language learning. Bring in whole or sections of articles shared in the previous volunteer newsletter!
If you teach learners with limited oral English (and even if you don't), find implicit ways to signal that native languages are welcome. Learn to say "goodnight" in Mandarin or "very good" in Farsi. Have learners teach this to the whole class so that everyone is included in the multilingual exchange. Audit your space and materials for messages that convey language legitimacy. When introducing a topic, ask learners, "How do you say it in your language?" At all levels, we can re-frame the monolingual narrative that prioritizes standard English.
In our Social Justice Lending Library, there's a copy of bell hooks' Teaching to Transgress, which contains a powerful essay on English as the language of conquest and the "mask which hides the loss of so many tongues." Given the history of English use worldwide, the "English Only" mindset cannot be apolitical or neutral, so how do we create space for alternative frameworks in our English language teaching? Next month, this section will provide resources and materials to work toward a classroom model that values all languages. If you have suggestions or tips from your teaching or tutoring practice, please send them to Lauren.
Welcome New Volunteers!
We'd like to extend a warm welcome to the new volunteers who attended our recent Working with Adult Learners in a Diverse Environment training this week: Rozalia La June, Israt Jahan, Cassie Emanuel, Chantel Dixon, Carol Noteboom, Janine Johnson, Dorothy Craig, Sue Walsh, Jared LeClerc, Laurie Frankel, Michelle Roberts, Gus Jewell, Nancy Baron, Kris Niznik, andPolly Powledge.Thank you for choosing Literacy Source!
Teaching Tip: Active Listening (Part 3)
Each month, we highlight one of the best practices on our tutor self-evaluation form, located on our Google Drive. We hope volunteers can revisit this form on an ongoing basis to help you reflect on the work you are doing with your student(s). There is a different form for instructors, located here.
As we continue to think about active listening, let's think about strategies you can use and teach your learners to use to pay attention. Take a look at the highlighted questions from the Tutor-Student Interaction section of the tutor self-evaluation form above. The best strategy for making sure you are actively listening and providing your learner a chance to talk is by using wait time. Waiting 5 seconds before responding can seem like a long time, but doing so provides learners space to say more if they've already spoken, and time to think before speaking if needed. Wait time shows the listener is paying attention and waiting for the speaker to formulate and express their thinking. Learners can also practice waiting for a response and then listening attentively, especially when taking turns in conversation.
Waiting for a pause and not interrupting the speaker is perhaps the key strategy we can use to give students space to speak and really attend to what they say. It's a good listening strategy for learners, too. Try it out in your next tutoring session - tell your student you're going to model waiting for a response in conversation and wait 3-5 seconds before responding (or prompting). Let us know how it works!
Center Highlight: Shoreline Community College I-BEST Trip and Other Events
Literacy Source students touring the CNC Machining Program at Shoreline Community College.
Our students have participated in some great events throughout April and May, with more to come in June! On the last day of spring 1, several of our students toured Shoreline Community College's Nursing Assistant, Machining, and Automotive Technician programs. Our entire Ready to Work class participated, along with students from other Literacy Source classes, totaling 13 students.
I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) programs at nearby community colleges are unique in that each job training program has two instructors in the classroom to teach both technical and basic skills. For example, there is both a nursing teacher and an ESOL teacher present in Shoreline's Certified Nursing Assistant classes. In this way, students receive an extra layer of support by being able to take classes in their career field while also continuing to improve their English language or math skills. You can read more about Shoreline's I-BEST programs here.
We also served on the planning committee for the Lake City Mobility Fair this past weekend - 18 of our students attended to learn about low-cost ways to travel around Seattle, with the help of 9 interpreters and representatives from Orca LIFT, Seattle Department of Transportation, Hopelink, and many more! More events are coming up, including the Bystander Intervention Training led by CAIR-Washington on June 7, a Know Your Rights workshop led by One America on June 19, and a job interview skills workshop in June.
New Citizen Spotlight
Congratulations to our newest U.S. citizens!
Meseret Adugna (from Ethiopia) Desta Woldemichael (from Eritrea)
Thank you to the many volunteers who work with citizenship students at Literacy Source!
Celebrating a Year of Service
We'd like to take a moment to thank Jennifer Collins, Mary Davis, Lulú Roque Weda, and Ralph Hua for reaching one year of service at Literacy Source. Thank you for your support and commitment!
Community Event Calendar
Our community event calendar highlights some of the events happening in the greater Seattle area that pertain to social justice, diversity, and equity. If you know of any other events to share with the Literacy Source community, please let us know!
Wednesday, May 30
Thursday, May 31
Friday, June 1 & 8
Saturday, June 2
Histories of the Central District and What We'll Build Next
Literacy Source recognizes the inherent dignity, equality, and value of every person and strives to create and maintain a learning community that is respectful and welcoming. To foster and maintain a safe and inclusive community of respect, openness, understanding, and civility, it is crucial that students, volunteers, and staff are aware of their rights and options when confronting a discriminatory or bias-related incident. To read more, click here.