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Response and Persistence

2 years 12 months 3 days 18 hours ago

MCAEL is a capacity building organization and as such our work which supports the network of  classes that serve 15,000+ adult English students each year is proactive, intentional and planned to respond to data driven, broad needs in the county.

But sometimes we need to respond to an immediate need. Last week a young man knocked on our office door, and we soon learned that he spoke virtually no English.  His first language is French and he arrived from Mali two months ago. Somehow he found us and came seeking English classes while his classes at Montgomery College were on a two week break. 

Two staff members jumped into action – using their Spanish, French and a Google translate phone app identify some places he could contact to find a conversation class.  He went on his way and we crossed our fingers.  But then, a day or two later he was back.! His persistence was striking.  He spoke with another staff member (with more French fluency) and again went on his way.  While we do not know if he has had success, I am hopeful that he found an option to keep up his English studies and will be back at community college classes when they resume.
What are some of the lessons we can take from this office visit? 

  • Building a system and providing one-on-one support to individuals are both key components to ensuring success – an art and a science
  • Individual learner persistence is one of the hallmarks of moving toward fluency
  • Every employer can benefit from bi-lingual staff
  • We can choose different responses and we can persist

And, building a network of quality English programs to support our thriving community and growing workforce means nothing unless we take the time to communicate with and help each other. 

Words Matter

3 years 4 days 18 hours 5 min ago
Kathy Stevens

Dear MCAEL Community:

Words matter.  That is one of the reasons we support the network of programs that teach English to adults – we know that for people to reach their goals being able to use their words is critical.  Think about how many times in a day you say something to someone, listen to another person speak, or read or write something  ---how successful would you feel if you could not communicate about basic every-day living situations.

For immigrant adults, learning English is the bedrock of how they connect with our shared community.  Improving ones’ English allows for a better job; it allows for a parent to work with their child and teachers on schoolwork, and allows them to conduct doctor’s appointments without having their children interpret for them.

Words matter.  Thanks for visiting our website and stay in touch.

Kathy Stevens
Executive Director
Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL)


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