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Finding the right curriculum for your group depends on several factors:

  • Age: What’s the age group?
  • Education/Study Skill Level: What’s the level of education for most of your students? Are they below 8th-grade level? Are they high school graduates? Are they in college or completed higher education? Are they illiterate?
  • Teachers: How many teachers do you have?

Two camps—structured classes and conversation groups

Structured Classes

If you have an older demographic 40s plus and have a combination of illiterate, poor study skills (or non-existent) due to an 8th-grade level or less, then you need structured classes. Beginner and Intermediate is a good start. Then you will probably divide up into two beginner classes because of new students if open enrollment is in effect and eventually have two for beginners and two classes for intermediate students. Finally, in a year or two you can start dividing based on semesters and possibly match your book’s curriculum more closely to your semester. This is helpful to show your student’s progress within your program. Advanced classes work well in this setting especially if advanced students’ number one request is either grammar techniques or expanding vocabulary in a particular curriculum.

Structured classes are needed if this is the student’s only class throughout the week. Homework and tests can be assigned as requirements to move up a class. Attendance requirement would be beneficial for teachers and students alike (request 75% of the class. Ex. attend 8 classes out of the 12)

Duration: 1.5 hr to 2 hrs plus

 

Conversation Groups

These are the most fun and fluid. Attendance will not be consistent and it’s best for students who already have a previous English study and have developed structured individual learning skills. College students and business professionals are great candidates for this type of English learning because they just want to practice what they have already learned on their own or in another structured class throughout the week. The teacher should still create a lesson plan. The base and vocabulary can stem from an article or bible story that will be discussed, and lead to communication practice activities.

These can also be in addition to your structured classes like a Sunday school class, a breakfast conversation group on Saturday mornings, a coffee conversation group on Sunday afternoons, and more!

Duration: 1 hr plus

 

Structured Class Curriculums

Future 2nd Edition

This is a great curriculum for working adults. It starts very low at below an A1 on the CEFR scale and ends at a B2. It covers day-to-day vocabulary, civics, and test-taking skills to prepare students for their daily routines to help them start their GED/HiSet journey.

Levels: Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, Advanced

Books: 12 Units (6 units = 1 semester)

Pros: Students can study on their own with the easy and clean layout. The vocabulary usually is within the lesson limit of up to 12 terms. It guides you in pronunciation practice. The listening activities are clever and helpful for day-to-day situations. MyEnglishLab is great to assign for homework and it grades it for the student right away plus they get to record their voices, tests can be completed at home, and listening activities are incorporated well. It also has Communication Practice Activities per level that you can copy and reuse. If interested in flashcards and Level Intro vocabulary worksheets, they are provided here on Languagetrek.com once enrolled in a Teacher’s course.

Cons: Upper Level 4 and Advanced are more reading and writing heavy. They can take longer than the other levels. Usually, a level can be covered in 24 classes, but Level 4 and Advanced that take an extra semester or two. It’s to prepare students for writing prompts and other reading and writing techniques that are needed if they wish to study for the GED/HiSet next.

What you get: Teacher’s Printable Manuals, ebook, printable tests, MyEnglishLab as a teacher, PPE app for audio or use the ebook for audio, and much more (free*)

What students get: Student book with ebook and PPE app. Other bundles exist to add MyEnglishLab and even get student book + workbook + MyEnglishLab together.

Price: $38+
Intro ISBN 9780137359240
Level 1 ISBN  9780137359271
Level 2 ISBN 9780137359356
Level 3 ISBN 9780137359363
Level 4 ISBN 9780137359417
Level 5 ISBN 9780137359462

Order: Find your Rep

(Still trying to decide? Your rep can place a temporary viewing of materials on a teacher’s account for you. Once you decide and adopt the curriculum, teacher’s materials can be loaned out for several years on the online account)

 *Free: Tell your rep that you have adopted the curriculum and place an order with them. Printing teacher’s manuals are not so fun, but you can’t beat free since the cost of teacher’s manuals can reach as high as $500.

Connectivity

The focus of this curriculum is speaking. There are many opportunities to start a conversation and then prompt students to talk as much as possible. It’s geared to be conversational for the workforce and it covers daily scenarios that adults encounter living here in the US. Pronunciation practice is listed to pair well with the unit. It even has a fun sitcom that goes with the theme of the unit. Audio and video is easily accessed through PPE for students and teachers. It starts just as low as Future on the CEFR scale of under A1 and then it reaches as high as C1. The upper levels are highly recommended.

Levels: Foundation, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Books: 10 Units (5 units = 1 semester)

Pros: It has several expandable printables that can replace the workbook. Printable test with audio are available for measurement. It’s only 10 units, so a lot can be covered or expanded with the book. 

Cons: Online portion of this is not great, but the PPE app makes the student version easy. You cannot assign items for homework online like you can with MyEnglishLab. It sometimes has more than 12 vocabulary terms per lesson. The format of the printed book can look very busy and overwhelming for beginners.

What you get: Teacher’s Printable Manuals, ebook, online teaching boards, printable tests, PPE app for audio and video or use the ebook for audio and in the resources section too in addition to an expansion of printables for extra grammar, pronunciation, writing prompts and others (free*)

What students get: Student book with ebook and PPE app. Workbooks can be bought and books can be bought by semester as book A or book B (not recommended since it’s cheaper in the long run to buy the whole book).

Price: $45+
Foundations Level ISBN 9780136833314
Level 1 ISBN 9780136833543
Level 2 ISBN 9780136834472
Level 3 ISBN 9780136834670
Level 4 ISBN 9780137463862
Level 5 ISBN 9780137463961

Order: Find your Rep

(Still trying to decide? Your rep can place a temporary viewing of materials on a teacher’s account for you. Once you decide and adopt the curriculum, teacher’s materials can loaned out for several years on the online account)

 *Free: Tell your rep that you have adopted the curriculum and place an order with them. Printing teacher’s manuals are not so fun, but you can’t beat free since the cost of teacher’s manuals can reach as high as $500.

Side by Side Plus

This is the trusted curriculum that most church-based programs love. It has seen several editions since it’s first publishing in 1989. The has two editions now. One is Extra for high-schoolers/college-age students and the other is Plus for adults. Both editions are different, so make sure to buy only the Plus. It is a text-heavy book and the scenarios are funny, but they are hypothetical and creative like a traditional language class. One has to be very imaginative with most of the speaking and reading parts rather than straightforward life-applicable parts. Vocabulary is overwhelming in quantity and goes over the 12 maximum amount of words to introduce in one lesson. Level 1 starts at A1, but the student has to love a traditional language class, and ends at a B1+. To start a beginner is best to start with another book called Foundations and then Side by Side 1 Plus. Make sure to get Side by Side Plus instead of Side by Side Extra since the “extra” is for young learners.

Introduction Level: Foundations 2e (beginner students should not start in Level 1!)

Levels: 1, 2, 3, 4

Books: 15 Units (Hard to fit in a year. Sometimes a book may take up to 2 years)

Pros: It’s a traditional text. Some programs do very well with this and start with Foundations. You can find all kinds of second-hand expandable pieces like a test book, DVDs, and flashcards at reasonable prices. Each book is packed with exercises and trusted by many ESL teachers.

Cons: This curriculum needs communication practice activities in addition to the book. Audio is finally digital, but it’s not on the PPE app. It’s very writing heavy versus speaking.

Price: $36+
Foundations 2e ISBN 9780131731448 / Digital Book ISBN 9780136973126
Level 1 ISBN 9780138342937
Level 2 ISBN 9780138342944
Level 3 ISBN 9780134583723
Level 4 ISBN 9780134583716

Order: Find your Rep

(Still trying to decide? Your rep can place a temporary viewing of materials on a teacher’s account for you. Once you decide and adopt the curriculum, teacher’s materials can loaned out for several years on the online account)

*Free: Tell your rep that you have adopted the curriculum and place an order with them. Printing teacher’s manuals are not so fun, but you can’t beat free since the cost of teacher’s manuals can reach as high as $500.

What are some curriculums that work for your ESL program?

 

Tell us in the comments below.