CATESOL Educational Levels and Interest Groups Intersection Workshop 2012:
Technology for Transitions to the Workplace: Promising Practices
TEW-IG, Adult Level, TELL-IG, Saturday, April 14, 1:00-2:15, Junior Ballroom 1,2,3
Three experts in TEW, TELL, and Adult ESL share best practices, tips, and techniques for providing students with the technology skills needed to transition into career training and the workplace. Come learn about some exciting tools that can be immediately applied to your teaching context.

Teaching English in the Workplace Interest Group

Speaker 1: Blythe Musteric, Ovient English, blythe at, Ovient English

1. Finding a Job

Classroom Ideas
  • Students create a personal business card on a word template.Print them and use them in class for an in-class networking simulation. Additionally, students can create their own business cards on Vistaprint and order them for free.

  • Students gather work history and details about skills they have on a Google doc. Then, have them copy and paste information into a LinkedIn profile page. Finally, students can connect with people they know and join groups that interest them.LinkedIn Profile Example
  • Use LinkedIn discussions or Twitter conversations as springboards for classroom discussions. If people in the class have similar work backgrounds, put them into groups in order to have more meaningful discussions and debates. Additionally, use discussions for grammar and writing lessons. (This is a great place to discuss “tone” in writing. Have students look for examples of polite and impolite comments.) Give a homework assignment in which students participate in a discussion. Example of a LinkedIn discussion
  • Teach students language and cultural rules for “networking." For example, they don’t want to simply go around asking people for jobs. Networking is about making relationships, not asking for jobs. Students should know how to give a 30 second introduction about themselves (elevator pitch), and they should understand how to keep a conversation going. These are activities you could teach and practice in class, and then you can assign homework to students to go to an event and practice what they’ve learned, reporting back to the class on their experience. Starting Conversations at Networking Events

2. Interview Tips

Classroom Ideas
  • Students get into groups of three. One student interviews another student, and the third student rates the other two using a feedback sheet. (The feedback sheet could assess anything they've been studying in class: intonation, answering questions with examples, avoiding "um" and "uh", etc.)
  • Explain to students that they need to "show" not "tell" their work history. Give students a list of 5 typical interview questions. Students write answers to those questions that contain stories and examples that show they are good candidates for the job.
  • Students search the Internet for jobs that they are qualified for. Have them write examples of work experiences that match the job qualifications, come up with a list of questions that might be asked at an interview for that job, and create a resume and cover letter for that particular job.

  • Record the students answering interview questions and show the interviews to either the individual student or the entire class and give feedback. Repeat later and check for improvement.

3. Other Resources

"25 Must Have iPhone Apps for Your Job Search"
Expert Tips for Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn Learning Center
How to use Twitter Events to Network
Podcasts about Jobs (These podcasts feature over-the-phone interviews with actual employees and recruiters.)

Technology Enhanced Language Learning Interest Group

Speaker 2: Kristi Reyes, MiraCosta College Noncredit ESL Department,
MCC VESL Blog - student make their own blogs (2009) and before (2008) and post class assignments

1. Preparing for a Job Interview

Virtual Model Project -- use Web sites to create or find an appropriate outfit for an interview for a job of your choice and write a paragraph describing the outfit and explaining why it is suitable for the interview

My Virtual Model , MVM Facebook, Polyvore or department store Web sites
Student Samples, Another sample, Male student sample
Team Project: Dos and Don'ts presentation -- make a team presentation on tips for a successful job interview
Sample 1, Sample 2
Mock Job Interview Videos -- practice job interview questions and answers using appropriate nonverbal behavior for a job interview
Video 1

2. Talking about One's Skills and Abilities

Video Resume -- create a narrated resume or a video resume
Student sample (video) and student sample (digital)

3. Career Research and Goal Setting

Career Goal Presentation -- use the internet to find information about a career that interests you and make a narrated video on your findings
Digital Presentation: Floral Design
      • This student completed the VESL class and our Level 7 transitions course, took free classes offered at our Small Business Development Center, enrolled in the credit floral design certificate program, and within one year had her own business, Cherry Blossom Floral Designs.

4. General Employment Topics

Reality Check -- use the Web site California Reality Check to calculate your monthly expenses v. the income you could receive in a job of your choice and/or find a job that suits your financial needs

Relocation Project -- imagine that a friend or family member is relocating to our city; use online classified ads to find him/her a job that fits with his/her skills, housing, and transportation; show the monthly budget (income - expenses) and give advice
Student Sample and Another Student Sample

International Business Customs and Etiquette -- make a presentation about appropriate behavior for the workplace and in business in your country or another country you choose
Student Sample 1 (Thailand) and Sample 2 (Mexico)

Adult Level

Speaker 3: Branka Marceta, OTAN catesol_branka at

1. Keyboarding resources for learners with low computer skills

Why: Typing skills needed both in the workplace and throughout educational experiences. GED test becomes computer-based as of 2013.
Learners can practice on old keyboards, paper mock-up keyboards, or online


2. Ideas for teachers with limited access to technology

When teaching at satellite school sites - how to expose learners to technology w/ laptop & projector - how to simulate workplace technology skills

Without access to the Internet - work on software installed on laptops
  • spreadsheets for budget
  • productivity - students create a document or presentation working in groups
    • Guide for collecting and using coupons to save shopping cost - project idea by Sutter County Library Literacy Program
    • Presentation about members of the class
    • How to's
    • Do's and Don't's
  • commercial software - many ESL textbook creators offer interactive software

With access to the Internet
  • new MiFi option may be a possibility
Verizon data plan + Verizon hot spot device
  • How to fill out a job application, try to apply on the computer at Home Depot or Target or a local business

  • Modeling how to search online for a solution to a problem by Judith Renyi, Free Library of Philadelphia
      • Here's the kind of assignment that can be functional, knowledge-building among the learners, and interactive:
      • I would shape the prompts, e.g., Do you have something broken at your house?

      • Do the following: Post your own experience trying to fix something that was broken at home by yourself. The instructor should provide a personal example to give a model, and describe the steps clearly (the words you entered in your search engine, how you decided the web sites you looked at were valid, why you avoided opening certain web sites, etc. You can post screen shots of the ones you chose and didn't choose to clarify).

      • Then instruct the learner to do the following:
      • 1. Explain what the problem is.
      • 2. Find advice on how to fix your problem on the internet.
      • 3. Find sources for the tools or parts you will need to fix it.
      • 4. Post the best and worst advice you found online. Tell why you think the best is best, and the worst is worst.
      • 5. Respond to at least two other people on line: agree or disagree with why you think their advice.

      • Post your problem and how you solved it by MONDAY; respond to other postings by WEDNESDAY. If you agree or disagree with someone's comments, respond to them by FRIDAY.


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