Integrating Civic Participation and Adult ESOL
By Andy Nash, New England Literacy Resource Center/World Education
This article proposes a process for building ESOL students’ capacity for engaged and active citizenship through which EL/Civics classes serve as a venue for not just comprehending, but also critically examining policies and systems that affect students’ lives. It draws on years of work with ESOL providers, the Equipped for the Future citizen/community member role map, and a theoretical framework that describes three kinds of citizens: personally responsible, participatory, and justice-oriented citizens. The process guides educators to approach every teaching context as having the potential to foster all three kinds of citizenship, and encourages the exploration of possibilities at every level of English proficiency. It honors the lifetime of experience as community members that immigrants bring to each new civic task in this culture. The author lays out the process in a series of steps with specific suggestions for classroom activities and examples from teachers with whom she has worked.