Disrupting English Only: Effective Strategies to Incorporate L1s in Beginning ESOL Work Skills Programs
Abstract: This session provides an overview of first language (L1) use in Ready to Work, a government funded program that combines English language instruction with digital literacy and case management to help beginning level immigrants and refugees gain job readiness skills and explore pathways to college and career success. The presenters review research and literature regarding L1 use in multilingual settings, offer examples from the Ready to Work ESOL classes and ask attendees to consider the role of home language inclusion in creating a collaborative and linguistically appropriate environment for immigrant and refugee students. The session also shares strategies to incorporate students’ L1 knowledge into administrative processes such as intake, registration and advising. Ultimately, the presenters argue, L1 inclusion plays an important role in challenging ideologically rooted monolingual principles and acts as a crucial part of dismantling English-language supremacy and “English Only” mentalities in ESOL settings.