Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Citizenship Preparation for Adult ESL Learners

The United States of America is a land of immigrants. As the current debate over a new immigration bill in the US Senate shows, this has not changed. One important consideration for all immigrants is how well they will assimilate and accept American culture even as their presence makes important contributions to it.

I found an older ERIC Digest from 1997 titled Citizenship Preparation for Adult ESL Learners. It was from the Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education and written by Thomas Nixon and Fran Keenan. I think it is still helpful and has good advice on teaching civics (and English) to immigrants.

From the site:

Learning to become good citizens has been part of immigrant education throughout US history. Early in this century, for example, settlement houses established programs to help newcomers assimilate. Classes to assist immigrants through a naturalization process that includes passing the U.S. Immigrant and Naturalization Service (INS) exam are a newer phenomenon. Such classes have seen dramatic enrollment gains as record numbers of people--five million in the last five years--have become citizens (Constable, 1997). This trend is due to recent high levels of immigration, new federal laws regarding immigrants and public benefits, and immigrants' fears about anti-immigrant sentiment and where it might lead.

This digest will describe the educational requirements of the naturalization process and give ESL teachers a variety of activities to use when preparing learners for the citizenship exam.

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