Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Adult Education

SIG Leadership

Tilla Alexander, Co-Chair 

Emily Burnett, Co-Chair

Questions? E-mail:esladult@nystesol.org

Upcoming Events

May 10, 2019- Please read about our new advocacy group for the Adult Education SIG!

You are invited to join 

NYS TESOL Adult Education SIG

Meet 'n Greet + Brainstorm 


for Adult ESOL Educators


February 22nd, 2019 at 6 PM

Serena’s Wine Bar & Café

Upper East Side, NYC

RSVP by Wed, Feb 20th at 5pm


Past Events

Tues April 4, 2017- Enhancing & Enriching ESOL Instruction for Adults Through the Use of Web Sites: A NYS TESOL Adult Ed Salon
6:00pm-8:00pm in Northern Manhattan. Exact location is TBA. RSVP here: rsvp-Salon042017@nystesol.org

Check out the NYS TESOL presentation from the Rennet Mini Conference in New York City held on May 7, 2016.

On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Rennert New York TESOL Center held its fourth semi-annual TESOL mini-conference in collaboration with NYS TESOL. Over 75 teachers and administrators of adult ESL programs around New York attended. Presenters included Rennert New York Center Director James Stakenburg, Rennert Director of Studies Caroline McKinnon, and Autumn Westphal, Rennert's Head of Teacher Training, as well as NYS TESOL Business Manager, Cynthia Wiseman, NYS TESOL VP of Outreach, Tilla Alexander and NYS TESOL Director of Regions, Ching Ching Lin.

Check out some Facebook photos (public album) from the mini conference

The NYC Adult Basic Education 37th Annual Conference will be held on Sat April 16, 2016. View flyer

Saturday May 2, 2015- Rennert New York- [view flyer]

Adult Ed./IEP Mini Conference

Saturday May 16, 2015, 36th Annual NYC ABE Conference, High School for Fashion Industries, Manhattan

Photos from the Adult Ed. Picnic Event :

NYS TESOL Adult Ed. SIG Salon - Salon is full

Enhancing Pronunciation Skills
Engaging Adult Language Learners

Date: Sat, May 17, 2014
Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Upper East Side of Manhattan

Download PDF

HATTSG (Hunter Adult TESOL Teacher Support Group) in collaboration with NYS TESOL Adult Education Special Interest Group present:

"Transforming ELLs Through Effective Practices”

Pre-register here: http://tinyurl.com/nystesol-hunter-2014

Plenary Session:

Helping Adult Learners Transition to Post-Secondary Education, Mimi Blaber


Toward More Communicative Instruction: Flipping the ESL Classroom, Aaron Royer
Transitioning from Teaching to Administration, Paul Shively
Teaching Adults to Learn Words: Vocabulary Strategy Instruction, Bernadette Forward
Plagiarism: Whose Fault Is It? Genie Smiddy
Saturday, April 12, 2014
8:30AM to 12:30PM | Hunter College, CUNY
RSVP at esladult@nystesol.org


NYS TESOL Members $25 (Pre-registration) $30 (On-Site)
Non-Members $35 (Pre-registration) $40 (On-Site)
NYS TESOL Student Members $5 (Pre-registration), $10 (On-Site)
Students $10 (Pre-registration), $15 (On-Site)

The Language, Society, & Culture Conference being held at Bronx Community College (CUNY) on March 7th, 2014

View schedule here

HATTSG (Hunter Adult TESOL Teacher Support Group) in collaboration with New York State TESOL Adult Education Special Interest Group present:

A Professional Development Mini-Conference “Empowering Adult ESL Instructors”

PLENARY SESSION: Patti Juza, speaker


Session A

Academic ESL Programs: CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP), Paul Shively
Community Based Organizations: Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp., Michael Perrone
Supporting Skilled Immigrants: An ESL Practitioner's Toolkit (LAC), Marilyn Rymniak

Session B

Critical Thinking in Adult ESL Programs, John Bandman
Give Chants a Chance, Elke Lerman
e-Portfolios: Empowering Teachers and Learners, Rachid Eladlouni & Marco Castillo

Saturday, April 20, 2013

8:30AM to 12:30PM | Hunter College,CUNY

RSVP at esladult@nystesol.org


NYS TESOL Members $25 (Pre-registration), $30 (On-Site)
Non-Members $35 (Pre-registration), $40 (On-Site)
Students $10 (Pre-registration), $15 (On-Site)

Tech Savvy ESL Instructor: 
How to Engage Your Students with Technology
December 4, 2012, 6-8 pm (Manhattan)
SOLD OUT - Contact Valentina for Wait List

  • iPhone apps
  • Online projects
  • Google presentations
  • Glogster
  • Present me
  • Blogger

5th Adult Education Salon
"Holiday Spirit in the Classroom"
December 8, 2011
7:00 - 9:00pm
Location: A cozy residence in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

Download PDF

I found the 5th Salon extremely informative in terms of providing ideas for career options and lesson planning. I think the use of technology could be explored in future since it really is necessary skill for this teaching the 'digital generation. 
- Sandra Jacobs

The Adult Ed SIG on December 8 was definitely worth the trip from Manhattan. It was good to meet new people and learn about how they use technology in (and out of) the classroom and how they deal with the ups and downs of teaching ESOL - which often means dealing not only with the personalities in the classroom but also with the vagaries of multiple administrations for the many of us who have more than one job. When the talk turned to activities for the season we had an interesting discussion about "What is cultural?" vs. "What is religious?" and learned a lot about Christmas traditions in Trinidad to boot. Thanks to the Salon participants, I have my holiday activities for next week all prepared for me.
- Bonny Hart

Panel Discussion and Dance Performance
"Understanding the Classroom Culture: Differences from Home Countries to Here"
May 13, 2011
7:00 - 9:00 PM 
Location: The New School, Manhattan
Joint event by NYS TESOL's Adult Education SIG, NYC Region and The New School.

On Friday, May 13, 2011, there was a joint program with NYS TESOL and The New School with student panelists in conversation and a dance choreographed and performed by a former student. 

Over 120 people were in the audience to listen to the panelists discuss the differences and similarities between learning English in their home countries and in New York. The dance performance, called "Floating Words," addressed the challenges and joys of learning English.

Here is the link for the Understanding the Classroom Culture event. The entire event was filmed, thanks to the generosity of The New School. There's always the option to fast-forward in parts, though you may finding yourself watching the whole thing!

Adult Ed SIG Salon
"One Class Fits All: Differentiated Instruction Strategies for the ESL Adult Classroom"
Joint Adult Education SIG event with the Capital Region

Date: March 11, 2011
Location: Albany

Research & Application

Student Persistence

What is Student Persistence?

Student persistence, when discussed within the parameters of adult ESOL, does not refer to retention, but instead refers to a student’s ability and willingness to continue with self-study when issues related to health, family, and work prevent the student from attending class. The “persistent” student is one who continues to manage his/her language learning by participating in self-study during times when he/she must “stop out,” and then returns to the classroom when able to do so.

As ESOL educators who work with adults, we can best serve our students if we can help them identify the issues that interfere with their ability to attend class, if we can provide them with strategies which help them stay in school in long as possible, if we can provide them with access to materials which assist them in their self-study, and if we can offer them the incentives they need to return to the classroom as soon as they are able.

A new Adult Learner Persistence website is now up at http://www.nelrc.org/persist
The site shares the resources collected for and generated by the New England Learner Persistence (NELP) Project. For each of six program areas (Program Design and Management, Intake and Orientation, Instruction, Counseling and Support, Student Involvement, and Seeing Progress), the site offers an inventory of promising practices that link to related research, program models, and tools. You can find, for example, research on the impact of shifting from open to managed enrollment, examples of how programs have built support networks to foster new students’ sense of belonging, or tools for helping adults recognize and document their learning progress. The site also highlights six Drivers of Persistence identified in the NELP Project, links to program self-assessment tools, and invites the field to contribute new examples of strategies that have impacted adult learner persistence.

Tip #1: Know About the Current Research on Student Persistence

Stopping Out, Not Dropping Out 

Helping Adults Persist: Four Supports

Research Materials on Adult Student Persistence

Tip #2: Know about study circle outcomes from around the country.

California Study Circle Outcomes: 
Suggestions for supporting learner persistence 

Examples of actions programs have taken based on study circles 

Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning:
Suggestions for Improving Learner Persistence: A List Generated by Texas Adult Education Program Directors, Coordinators, & Supervisors who Participated in the NCSALL/TCALL Study Circle Meetings on Learner Persistence: 

Colorado Adult Education Professional Association
Current Research in Study Circle (October 2005):http://www.caepa.org/downloads/newsletter%2005%20Oct.pdf

3. Conduct a Study Circle in your own backyard.

NCSALL Study Circle Guide: Learner Persistence in Adult Basic Education
The study circle is designed for adult education practitioners who desire to explore specific topics, brainstorm ideas, and develop strategies in a small group setting. This guide includes everything needed to initiate a study circle on learner persistence including handouts, readings, discussion questions, etc.

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Helping Adults Persist. 
This 3 ½-hour seminar introduces adult education practitioners to the research on adult student persistence, focusing on the positive and negative forces that help and hinder persistence. 

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Supports and Barriers to Persistence. 
In this 4-hour seminar, participants explore reasons why students leave programs and ways to support students, including sponsorship. 

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Self-efficacy in Persistence. 
This 3 ½-hour seminar introduces adult education practitioners to the four supports to adult student persistence identified in the research study.