Meet Some of Our Graduates
Recent graduates of OneAmerica's English Innovations program were featured on KUOW's Weekday! Listen to excerpts of those interviews to learn more about how our program is helping immigrants learn technology skills and English at the same time.
YanFen, a teacher from China
Manuel, a cook from Mexico
Ingrid, a Business Administration in Tourism degree holder from Mexico
WHY ENGLISH INNOVATIONS?
The most significant barrier facing millions of immigrants is learning English. Limited English proficiency is an obstacle to fully integrating into life in the U.S.— getting a good job, having educational options, and participating in civic life. Compounding lack of English proficiency is the gap in digital literacy for millions of Americans in our technologically advancing society.
English Innovations® is a blended social learning model that integrates English language learning and combines a collaborative, supportive classroom environment with online tools that enable self-paced, independent learning. Our successful language learning model incorporates two key components: motivation and English language immersion. An innovative, tailored curriculum, paired with digital tools and peersupport provides English language education that is accessible anytime, anywhere.
Conventional systems of language instruction are not effective in providing ways for adult immigrants to learn English, as demonstrated by weak retention rates and slow learning gains by students in traditional ESL classes. Adult learners typically have jobs and families, and they need flexible learning time. So how do we deliver flexible learning environments while keeping students immersed and engaged?
THE ENGLISH INNOVATIONS APPROACH
- Tailored curriculum framework integrates digital literacy skills & language development
- Blended model offers in-class and self-paced learning through online tools and game-based learning
- A collaborative classroom environment facilitates cognitive, social and emotional engagement
- Tutor-facilitated activities, volunteer involvement, and peer support empowers learners
- A model grounded in communities, engaging immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations in advocacy for effective English learning and immigrant integration.
In 2011-13, OneAmerica piloted English Innovations with 300 students in the Seattle area. Results showed:
- Nearly 70% of post-tested students achieved significant language learning gains, with nearly 60% of students completing an entire language learning level in 12 weeks (compared to 41% completion rate in traditional ESL courses).
- Students achieved rapid gains not only in English and technology skills, but also demonstrated increased confidence, competence and community participation.
- The program was field tested and success demonstrated that the model can easily be integrated into workplaces, public libraries, community colleges and nonprofit organizations.
In partnership with the National Partnership for New Americans and Learning Games Network, OneAmerica offers English Innovations as a high-quality English and digital literacy instruction model for community-based organizations (CBO’s) nationwide. We hope to increase the capacity of immigrant-serving CBO’s while strengthening the English language instruction field nationally. CBO’s will implement the model in local communities through outreach to immigrant communities, recruit students in targeted audiences, and train volunteers, technology coaches and program staff to bring meaningful curriculum to adults who don’t have access to formal ESL classes.
Our goal is for over 1,000 individual learners to participate in courses at sites in six states by 2017, with the hope of expanding our reach to all 50 states by 2020. Currently, the priority population is young adult immigrants who were brought to the U.S. without authorization as children, and who are now potentially eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), except for meeting the educational requirement under the policy. English Innovations helps DACA-eligible individuals fulfill this requirement.
We also see significant opportunities to offer combined English and digital literacy instruction to other target populations, including:
- Immigrants in the workforce who need improved English and technology skills to improve their employment prospects
- Immigrant parents who need the skills to improve communication with their children’s teachers, doctors and other caregivers
- Immigrants on the path to citizenship who need the skills to integrate fully into civic life in the U.S.
Through English Innovations, we are building needed community infrastructure across the nation to help immigrants achieve their dreams, bring relief to undocumented workers and ensure the integration of English learners into our society and economy.
Additional web content coming soon!
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What People Are Saying About the English Innovations Pilot Program
In the media:
Home Care Insight, Fall 2012 (pdf)
On December 19, 2011, several English Innovations graduates were featured on KUOW 94.9 FM's Weekday program, one of the largest public affairs programs in the Pacific Northwest. Listen to the episode, "Living Here Without English," where students were interviewed at the Cycle 2 graducation ceremony, excited to share what they learned during the program and how it would help them overcome barriers and create opportunities at work and in their community.
From Joe Fugere, founder of Tutta Bella Pizzeria, one of the program sites:
"Providing a convenient space and incentives for our employees to learn English at work is a win-win scenario. When employees improve their English, they enhance their personal career options, but also help strengthen our community."
From Chris Hammersley, English Innovations technology coach, on student success stories:
"Debebe is a hospitality worker at the Red Lion. He was only able to attend class 2 days a week due to his work schedule, yet he fully embraced the “learn at your own pace” model of Live Mocha. Debebe was our star pupil in the Red Lion class; he completed all 12 Active English courses!
In addition, Debebe’s insatiable technology appetite pushed the tech coach to model and demonstrate deeper Internet and computer skills that related to his current job and future skills he wanted to learn, like paying bills online, investigating college courses and writing letters using Microsoft Word."