chapter  9
19 Pages

Misalignment of Teacher Outcomes and Student Goals: Transnational Migrants in an Adult ESL Program


In the US, community-based English as a second language (CESL) adult education programs have traditionally been aimed at assimilating immigrants into US society. CESL policies and practices are often rooted in a paradigm that assumes immigrants arrive in their new homes with the objectives of permanent settlement, severance with their home country, and assimilation of host country norms and values. Yet, increasingly, immigrants lead transnational lives, operating between two or more countries, retaining close links with their home country while becoming new members of another, and creating complex interrelated communities in multiple spaces (Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc 1994; Glick Schiller, Basch, and Blanc-Szanton 1992). Transnational migrants participate in and move among multiple sites through daily telephone and e-mail exchanges with family members and friends, contact with media sources, and interactions with home country nationals who frequently travel back and forth between such sites. The activities and social processes through which transnational migrants maintain links to their countries of origin impact the design of educational programs for adult English language learners (ELLs), such as open enrollment for transient and/or shifting populations, globally responsive curricula linked to geography and world cultures, and program design and aims.