Return to Retention
1. Describe the population served in your
I’m lucky. We had our CDE PAIR review this year. So, I’ll copy the
first part of this assignment from our CDE PAIR Review:
Center For Adult Learning, Loveland: Most, though not all of the ABE
and GED students at Center for Adult Learning are White or Hispanic,
most are from a lower socio economic level, and about 20% are 16-21
year olds. In Loveland, ESL students are primarily immigrants and
most of them are from a lower socio-economic level.
2. List positive retention practices that are in place for all
We do follow contextualized lesson plans within our ESL, Literacy
and GED classes. We’re pretty good at making sure that the students
are involved in their own learning by charting what they do in their
individual folders given at the beginning of their instruction. The
rooms and facilities that we have are adult learning focused and are
an appropriate setting for adult education. Our attendance policy
works for adult education and we provide open enrollment and
flexibility with class schedules to support adult
education. We have a process to contact learners that are not
attending classes to encourage them to return for their education.
3. Describe your own student population. Suggest at least five
new practices that can provide solutions to retention problems.
Because I teach both Pre-GED (GED this fall!) and ESL classes, my
learners are really the same as the entire school. That’s listed
under the 1st question answered in this lesson.
There are five practices that I will consider using this fall. I’ll
outline them here:
a. A more intensive survey of needs and wants for the student
population. We use a very basic questionnaire that doesn’t really
break down individual needs/wants of each student. I have one at the
school that we developed in EDU 134. I’d like to use that for my
four levels of ESL classes along with a similar version for GED
class. From the use of the survey, I could develop lesson plans that
would help in retention along with meeting our CASAS competencies in
I also would like to do a survey of learning styles for each
student. This would help determine whether the students have a more
haptic/audiovisual or text based learning style. It would also help
determine whether their background prefers to learn alone, in small
groups or in large groups. It helps to see whether they prefer
observation vs. participation in the classroom.
However, as pointed out in Unit 9, I would need to follow up and see
whether or not these stated goals are really what the students want
to do in class. Continue to negotiate these stated goals and try to
break them up into smaller steps that the students can reach with
more ease on a daily or weekly progress chart or sheet.
b. Better orientation for volunteers. I
believe that we need to keep our volunteers involved in our program
to maintain larger class sizes in both ESL and GED. We always start
with larges classes in September and they shrink come December. I
believe that better use of our volunteers would make the students
that may leave due to what they feel is “neglect” stick around…(does
that make sense?)
I think that if we use some of the training links on the internet
http://wilearns.state.wi.us/apps/Default.asp?cid=814 ) that we
focused on earlier in this class, our volunteers would know more of
what was expected of them. Then, they would stick around
understanding their role and more of an appreciation for what they
need to do to help out our classes.
c. I also think that we should develop a questionnaire asking them
what they expect and wish to have from their volunteer time at our
school. In turn, we need to continue to give them a list with our
expectations of them in our school.
We need to help new students “catch up” or feel integrated within
the classroom sooner. When we’re busy, we tend to lose new students
after a class or two. With volunteers sticking around, we could use
them to help learners that enroll (we have open enrollment) later in
the semester, “catch up” or at least help them feel that connection
to the classroom much quicker.
Possibly using a mentor program with current students would be
another solution. We could assign new students to a longer-term
student to help develop their sense of community and also help
assign them a task within that longer-term student’s group. We could
also have an introductory pack of materials for new students at each
level of learning. These introductory packs of material could
include grammar points, vocabulary, and their “daily diary” to be
kept in their classroom.
d. Tracking student progress. We need to find ways to show real
progress for the students between post-tests. We tend to praise
after posttests, but we need to find ways to show those little steps
of progress in between those tests. At Rendezvous ‘06 in Denver this
year, Reggie Rivers gave a speech during lunch about goals. It made
an impact on the way I thought of goals. We tend to think big. We
need to focus on the little day-by-day signs of progress. People
need to focus on what they can do today, not what will be done a
month from now. (Kind of a Buddhist thing! Live in the now!)
We could start student logs where each level of student could either
do something as simple as write five new words for vocabulary and
basic sentences they learned to do in class all the way up to
writing five paragraph essays about different subjects that pertain
to their lives.
e. We need to find long term team projects that last the semester.
We need to have the students feel responsible for a part of the
project so they will be connected to the group.
If they feel connected with a task that needs to be completed to
help the other students, they may not wish to let the other students
down! Then, they may stick around. I have several projects listed
from my 134 class textbook. For GED, we can devise a project with
the newspapers we receive daily. Maybe a scrap book devoted to a
different subject for different teams?
I will list a variety of ideas for group projects:
• Use the community Resources Aid in retention project for my level
3 ESL class. We could not only list the numbers, but also have them
give short presentations on what each resource does and write a very
short paragraph about each resource.
• A contact list for jobs in the Loveland-Fort Collins area. These
jobs could be for different professions like landscaping, good
industry, health care and others. They could list the types of jobs,
descriptions and give resources for learning vocabulary, phrases and
grammar points for each job.
• Prepare questions for a visit from people in our community. They
could practice and model vocabulary, phrases and questions for
people from different professions. We could invite a police officer,
teacher, nurse, doctor, and assistance agency personnel for example.
The students could use their learning to practice for the day they
arrive to speak to the class and answer their questions.
• They could prepare a scrapbook of news stores that affect hem.
They could read, discuss and report these to the rest of their
class. They could do either local, national or international
stories. They could work on weather reports and other information
like the community calendars.
• They could keep a daily journal in the classroom. Cheap notebooks
can be bought and they could do anything from five new words and
simple sentences for lower level ESL students to five paragraph
essays for upper level and GED students.
Return to Retention