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Thinking Beyond
"Increased Participation": Integrating Civics and
Adult ESOL

Andy Nash, New England Literacy Resource Center/World Education

The New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education has been supporting efforts by adult literacy and ESOL programs to engage students in civic participation projects since 1996. Whether to prepare adults to be informed voters or to help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to participate in community efforts, small groups of educators have come together to explore the possibilities of integrating civic participation and adult education. This paper will outline the NELRC’s efforts to develop a guiding process for civic participation projects that reflects the lessons learned from dozens of past projects. The model is informed by current discussions in civic education, developments in adult learning theory and research, and our own work with a diverse set of adult programs, including citizenship, ABE, ESOL, and bilingual ESOL classes.

Download the full paper (PDF)

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