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ESOL Basics: Instructional Strategies Syllabus

Course Description and Overview:

ESOL Basics is a four-week, asynchronous online course. This course is designed for adult educators who are new to teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL). ESOL is a term often used synonymously with ESL, or ELA (English language acquisition). For consistency, we use the term ESOL in this course but recognize that some programs may use other terms. The course is taught through the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Canvas learning management system. Completion of the course is designed to require a minimum of 16 hours of your time – approximately four hours per week. However, you may find that you want to spend longer with some topics. In order to receive a certificate for participating in the ESOL Basics: Instructional Strategies training; you must complete all assignments, respond to each discussion question, and respond at least once to one of your classmates on the activity discussion board. The course week runs Thursday through Wednesday and all assignments are due by midnight on Wednesday. There are no required textbooks.

Weekly Format: 

Lessons are sequential. Each week will follow a similar format. Included in each week are: 

  • An announcement that introduces the content 
  • Weekly content 
  • Discussion board topics
  • Resources

Course Requirements: 

Because the course is designed for busy professionals, it is scheduled over several weeks to allow time to work through the materials and complete the weekly work according to your schedule. It is important to you and to the learning community that you have reviewed your personal and work schedule and have made the time available to commit to your learning and professional growth. It is expected that the course will require about 4 hours per week. 

You must have consistent and reliable Internet access to participate in this course. 

In order to receive a certificate of completion, you must complete and submit all assignments, including the Discussion Board questions and responses to at least once to one classmates in each week. 

Remember that, although you will gain from reviewing the course content, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator. To keep our discussions as productive as possible, please stay within the timeframe outlined for this course. You may refer to the course timeline for specific dates. 

Many of you have already taken an online course offered by the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center. However, even if you are a seasoned veteran of online learning, it may help you from time to time to refer back to “Tips for Success”, “Resource Center Commitments” and “Online Learner Commitments” in the preregistration tutorial and document. This provides tips and expectations for being a good online learner, how to participate in the online discussions, an overview of online learning “netiquette,” how to navigate the course, and other great tips for learning online.

Learning Outcomes: 

What you will be learning: How you will express and demonstrate that learning:
Characteristics of adult ESOL learners and how adults learn another language
  • Ongoing reflections of your learning by posting on the Discussion Board. 
  • Providing weekly peer feedback.
Effective instructional methods of teaching a language 
  • Complete and discuss Language Learning Questionnaire.
  • Choose a speaking and listening activity to try with your learners.
  • Choose a reading or writing activity to try with your learners. 
  • Observe an adult ESOL class or watch a video of a class.
  • Draft a lesson/activity or enhance a textbook lesson. 

Course Schedule:

Week # Lessons Assignments  Due Date
Week 1:
  • Characteristics of adult ESOL learners
  • Getting to know your learners
  1. Post a response to the reflection discussion sharing information about your educational setting and cultural connections.
  2. Post a response to the Activity Discussion choosing a strategy for assessing learner needs or goal setting to try with learners and to share your experience using
  3. Respond to at least one of your classmate’s responses to the activity discussion.
Wed.
Week 2: 
  • Language teaching approaches 
  • The four language skills 
  • Teaching speaking and listening skills
  1. Post a response to the Reflection Discussion sharing your thoughts on methodologies, approaches, and needs assessments.
  2. Post a response to the Activity Discussion choosing a speaking or listening activity to try with learners and to share your experience using.
  3. Respond to at least one of your classmate’s responses to the activity discussion.
Wed. 
Week 3:
  • Teaching reading and Writing Skills 
  • Strategies for Effective Adult ESOL Instruction
  1. Post a response to the Reflection Discussion sharing a classroom or tutoring session observation. 
  2. Post a response to the Activity Discussion choosing a reading or writing activity to try with learners and to share your experience using.
  3. Respond to at least one of your classmate’s responses to the activity discussion.
Wed. 
Week 4:
  • Planning for your educational setting 
  • Next steps in professional development
  1. Post a response to the Reflection Discussion sharing your key takeaways from the course.
  2. Post a response to the Activity Discussion sharing a lesson plan or activity created based on the course content.
  3. Respond to at least one of your classmate’s responses to the activity discussion.
Wed. 

Student Expectations: 

In order to receive a certificate of completion, you must submit all assignments on time. Remember that although you will benefit from reviewing the course content, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator(s). To keep discussions as productive as possible, please post and respond within the assigned week. You may refer to the Assignments section of each module, Syllabus, or Calendar for specific dates. In order to stay on track, be sure to check your weekly progress in the Grades section of Canvas. 

Discussion Board Posts: 

Write a one- to two-paragraph response for each Discussion Board question. In order to receive full credit for your peer response post, your writing should include some details or depth. (Cursory responses such as “I agree with your answer.” or “That is a good point.” will not receive full credit.) 

To post your initial response to the Discussion Board, please be sure to reply to the original prompt and not to a classmate’s response.

Participants who do not post to the Discussion Board within the first week will be removed from the course. This will then place you on “waiting list only” status for future online courses and trainings. 

If you do not post for more than one week at any time during the course or if you fall more than one week behind in your assignments, you may be removed from the course and will be placed on “waiting list only” status for future online courses. If you find that you cannot post for more than one week, please contact your technical facilitator at valrccourses@vcu.edu or 1-800-237-0178 as soon as possible to discuss the situation and your further participation in the course.