Like beauty, the answer to that question varies from eye to eye. California has been a pioneer of public adult education, really in the whole world. Public school district-supported ESL classes for adult immigrants were offered in 1856 in the basement of Old St. Mary’s Church in San Francisco. That tradition of local schools offering classes for adults, “night school” for working adults to develop English literacy, or finish a HS diploma, has been a critical service in California’s economic development and commitment to equity and social mobility.
Jose Antonio Vargas reflects on the meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous speech 50 years ago, connecting it to the civil rights struggles of African Americans and to the dreams of undocumented immigrants today. For him and thousands like him “Immigrant rights are civil rights. The struggle continues. The dreams — and DREAMers — live on.” […]
As immigration reform wends its weary way through both houses of Congress, some sort of path to eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants remains a possibility. Our revamped page Immigrant Voices offers three new lesson plans for ESL educators who plan to delve into the legislation and the impact it may have on students. Becoming A […]
City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and San Francisco State University (SFSU) will co-host an international conference for teachers, researchers, and policymakers working to promote quality learning environments for adult immigrant learners with limited literacy or formal schooling.
Sara Bonomi is from Italy and has been living in San Francisco for a few months, having learned English by living abroad. She is a trainee in marketing at Type A Machines, a start up company in San Francisco that designs and makes 3D printers. Her job involves communicating and reaching out to potential customers and finding new external markets to sell printers. Customers include architects, industrial designers and engineers etc.
Mina Kim, KQED’s health reporter for the California Report, covered this important issue for ESL communities. She poses the question: “In a state as diverse as California, what will it take to sell Obamacare to ethnic communities where English is a second language?”
Liu Cai is from China and is a native Cantonese speaker. He works in San Francisco for the Department of the Environment as part of an outreach team, Environment Now, that goes out into the community to provide information and promote sustainable waste policies, such as how to compost and recycle, use free pick up services and how to dispose of hazardous waste to improve the quality of the environment for all residents.
Eve Olimpo is a native French speaker from Montreal, Canada and has lived in the US for 12 years. She is an interior designer working in a store, Inhabiture in Palo Alto, which is a retail outlet for an architectural company which specializes in sustainable design and construction – “ we create beautiful and healthy residential and commercial spaces.” Eve works with clients to explain options in terms of green design and advises them on sustainable furniture and furnishing, products that are selected for natural eco-friendly qualities.
Immigrant adults come to ESL classes for a number of reasons- communicate effectively in their new homeland, become literate for the first time in their lives, do better in their jobs or get a better job, move on to higher education and career training, and help their children do better in school. While most of adult learners have multiple reasons to learn English,the motivation behind these reasons is to be better integrated in their new land.