Adult ESL literacy : relating theory to practice in the instruction of Mexican immigrants to southern California
While much is written about the need for literacy and particularly functional literacy, the terms are rarely clearly defined from a linguistic perspective. This dissertation develops a concept of literacy consisting of graphological literacy, functional literacy, and the literacy of thoughtfulness. These three aspects are considered with reference to the US adult educational mandates of Americanization and empowerment. Theory is related to practice through the development of educational objectives for English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction with reference to the literacy neetiq (particularly writing skills) of intermediate level ESL adult students, primarily Mexican immigr-ants to Southern California. These ESL students, who may be seen as representative of other immigrants from developing nations to technologically advanced societies, often have limited first language [Ll] and second language UL21 literacy, but develop fairly high L2 oral communicative competence. The research considers the students' Ll literacy levels and uses, which of these can be transferred to L2, and what must be taught in L2. Furthermore how students' higher L2 verbal sIdIls interrelate with and can be exploited in the attainment of L2 literacy at all three levels is discusse4i The extent to which theory has been realized in practice (and practice has been informed by theory) is analyzed with reference to an experimental adult ESL literacy course taught to young adult Mexican immigrants in Santa Barbara, California. The final evaluation reviews the basic premises and the extent to which these have been substantiated, followed by implications of the project and possible areas for future research.