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Focus On Basics

Volume 6, Issue C ::: September 2003

Curriculum Examples

Curriculum Example 1:  Computer Office Skills Program

Computer Office Skills Program

Computer Skills Training
Students receive instructions in Spanish covering computer functions and use of common office programs. Students learn key computer terminology in English. Students will also create documents using English.

English for the Office Environment
Instructors teach bilingually. Students explore critical themes in Spanish. These themes "bridge" into English as students learn English vocabulary and language structures they will need to communicate effectively while working.

GED Test Preparation
Instructors teach strategies and content knowledge in Spanish. Students take the test in Spanish.

Staff collaborates to develop curriculum activities relevant to common office themes. For example, a thematic unit relating to "Office Supplies" includes the following activities, framed with Equipped for the Future Standards. EFF is a framework for adult literacy curriculum and program development, developed over the past ten years under the National Institute for Literacy (Stein, 2000).

Instructional Theme: Office Supplies

Use Information and Communications Technology
Students learn to use Excel Spreadsheets by reading Spanish-language instructional manuals and receiving oral instruction and coaching in Spanish. However, the software used is the English-language version, and students create a spreadsheet to track office supplies inventory using English supply terms.

Listen Actively & Speak So Others Can Understand
Students learn the English vocabulary they need to understand verbal requests for office supplies and to make verbal requests for office supplies. Students engage in total physical response activities, which requires then to perform actions in response to verbal cues, such as "put the paper in the printer" and role-playing.

Solve Problems and Make Decisions
Students use Spanish to discuss related critical issues, such as: What do you do when you cannot access the supplies you require to complete a work task? What do you do if your boss expects you to complete the task anyway? This activity bridges into more English vocabulary and language development with role-playing as students deal with the final questions: To whom do you speak? What do you say? How do you say it? 

Read with Understanding & Convey Ideas in Writing
Students use Spanish to discuss the organization of supply catalogs, to learn about the rationale for the use of purchase orders, and the path these documents take through a company to a vendor. They work in pairs or groups to read supply catalogs (in English), to compare products and prices from different vendors, and to complete purchase orders.

The lesson-lasting over the course of about 20 hours of instruction-culminates in a comprehensive bilingual debriefing, during which students reflect on the entirety of the experience and delineate what they have learned, and why, and project ahead to their future roles as workers.

Developed by Gail Slater, instructor for the Texas Technology Pilot Project, operated under the AdEdge Computer Training Center; and Kay Taggart, Johns Hopkins University. Additional input provided by Andy Nash, Equipped for the Future. Project funded by the Texas Workforce Commission. 

Curriculum Example 2: 
Leadership and Communications

Workplace Leadership and Communication

Leadership Concepts
Students receive instruction in Spanish covering such topics as group dynamics, team collaboration, and organizational models. They participate in a great deal of role playing and collaborative problem solving. The instructor also introduces key concepts in oral English and provides English handouts to reinforce this vocabulary.

Communicating for Leadership
Students develop the vocabulary knowledge and language usage skills necessary to engage in effective interpersonal communications in English on the job. Students participate in Spanish-language discussion that relates communication themes back to leadership concepts.

Technology Skills
Students receive instructions in Spanish covering computer functions and use of common office programs. Students learn key computer terminology in English. Students also create documents using English.

"Communicating for Leadership" provides opportunities for students to do the following:

These activities are from a larger module framed under the Equipped for the Future standard called Listen Actively. "Leadership Concepts" course conceived, developed, and taught by Rosa Valenzuela. Lesson example from the "Communication for Leadership" program component developed by Kay Taggart, Johns Hopkins University, with input from Sara Martinez and instructor Virginia Rascon, for the Workforce Adult Literacy Project operated under the El Paso Community College. Project funded by the Texas Workforce Commission. Lesson format based on a model developed in 1994 by Luz Taboada and Kay Taggart (1994).

Return to Taggart and Martinez article

Updated 7/27/07 :: Copyright © 2005 NCSALL