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Learning while Gathering Video about Adult English Language Programs

August 5, 2009

The above video is one of four that I created as a recent project with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center on adult English as a Second Language programs in southern California and how they assist the integration of new immigrants. California has the largest adult education system in the country that is supported in large part by state funding. Over the past few months, I visited a dozen adult education schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties. I met determined administrators, passionate teachers and lots of eager students.

Unfortunately, timing played a critical role in this project. We quickly found that, due to budget negotiations in the State Assembly, the ground was shifting beneath us as well as for the adult school and community college administrators we contacted. While the current fiscal crisis in the state has forced these schools to pare their classes, these programs are pressing forward to meet the demand from their communities.

I enjoyed working on all of the videos but I still think “Finding Their Way in English” is the one closest to my ideal of community participation. I filmed the footage but the students came up with the idea and volunteered for the acting. Like so much social media, these videos were built on real world relationships. It took several weeks of visiting the class and getting to know them gradually. We talked a lot about how much they appreciated the English classes and wanted to see them continue. The final “script” was how the students thought they could portray the importance of English to them: finding their way in a new country. We also talked about the importance of storytelling in video.

Including action steps for viewers was also challenge. We realized there are multiple ways that viewers could respond. See this anchor page for more information on how you can further support these English language learners.

(Special thanks to Moby for the donated music.)

Webisodes on adult English language programs:

One Comment leave one →
  1. magpieima permalink
    September 13, 2009 1:02 pm

    This video is an excellent reminder of why the work we do is so important. Thanks for making and sharing it. I’m looking forward to watching the others.

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