The purpose of the forum will be to:
The purpose of the discussion paper is to highlight and summarize current Canadian research over the last five to seven years in terms of key themes, issues, gaps and needed strategies on connections between literacy and ESL. The paper will also reflect the perspectives of a small number of key informants from the literacy, ESL, and settlement fields on key themes. The paper will be distributed to all delegates prior to a national symposium on ESL and literacy to be held in November 2007.
MCL was interested in exploring connections between ESL and literacy for this discussion paper especially with respect to immigrants who have low literacy and education in their mother tongue. This is often referred to as ESL literacy and this is the area where much of the research focuses. As such, this term is the focal point of discussion in this paper. The discussion paper includes a focus on both recent newcomers who join ESL or Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programs, do not join a program, as well as immigrants and refugees who have been in Canada for many years who, at some point, may attend a literacy or Adult Basic Education (ABE) program. In other cases, there could be a benefit in looking at effective practices in Aboriginal and Inuit education where adults speak English as a second language.
MCL convened a cross-national working group to guide and advise the development of the discussion paper. The working group was composed of key informants for ESL and literacy including MCL board members. Working group members, along with others, gave feedback on interview protocols, and identified key research papers and literature reviews on the topic of ESL and literacy in the Canadian context. They also identified key informants for the paper.