Building capacity of adult ESOL educators to teach English through civic engagement principles
DYCD developed a universal Framework for Civic Engagement that lays out three primary domains for adopting civic engagement practices into the youth and family programming among their city- and government-funded programs. In fall of 2022, DYCD looked to expand this framework into their Immigrant Services: ESOL/Civics program. TYTHEdesign provided capacity-building opportunities for existing and new ESOL providers who were focusing on incorporating civics instruction into their classroom practices.
TYTHE’s approach for the ESOL/Civics program included building alignment between the ESOL/Civics Theory of Change and its program curricula; identifying the needs, capacity, and interest of both DYCD staff and providers; and developing a set of trainings, resources, and tools to build the capacity of providers to more confidently incorporate elements of civic engagement into their programs.
TYTHE facilitated a focus group to determine where the strengths and gaps were in ESOL/Civics programming and what providers’ needs were. Utilizing the insights collected in the focus group, TYTHEdesign and subcontractor, A Good Question, developed and facilitated a scaffolded training series that focused on the ESOL/Civics goal of developing “effective community residents.” From this process, we established guidelines to support ESOL/Civics providers in introducing civic engagement at various levels of language acquisition, building on students’ ability to articulate their needs as community residents, advocating for those needs, and, finally, taking community action.
Training Series and Resources
Over the course of six months, TYTHE developed and facilitated five scaffolded workshops for more than 80 ESOL/Civics providers across New York City. Participants in the trainings demonstrated interest in learning more about the spectrum of civic engagement that extends beyond “civics instruction.” To support that learning, we created a number of materials, such as planning tools, activity guides, and scaffolded “cheat sheets,” to support providers in incorporating civic engagement practices into existing ESOL content at varying language levels.
ESOL/Civics Case Studies
The intent of the ESOL/Civics partnership was to see providers implement this learning into their existing programs. Some of the successful programming we saw implemented across the city included a civic engagement project aligned with a rotating monthly theme, including Women’s History and Advocacy Art; a community mapping activity authentically scaffolded to provide students with new information and advocacy tools; and an organization-wide civic engagement-inspired quilt that honored the diverse backgrounds of all of its participants. In order to highlight this work, we developed ESOL/Civics case studies that featured these organizations, among others, who were beginning to modify their curricula based on the learnings from TYTHE’s civic engagement workshops.
Collaborators: Kristina Drury, Aliza Sarian, Lina Cherfas (A Good Question), and Hans Callenbach