Adult Education

Immigration, Nation Building, and ESL

History of Adult Education ESL-1800's

  • Originated as part of the settlement house movement
  • Hull House is founded
  • Serves the needs of recent immigrants (Southern an Eastern European)
  • Ethnic Press

The International Institutes Movement-1900's

  • Anti-immigrant sentiment
  • Americanization Movement

Instruction Expansion (1910-1921)

  • Sedition Act of 1918

Some of the Most Prominent Leaders

The Americanization Movement-1920s

American Education Classes

  • Originally in school districts
  • Moved to Chambers of Commerce
  • Later sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Naturalization

Teaching English and civics, in addition to the "American Way of Life"
  • Childcare
  • Cooking
  • Brushing Teeth

Goal: To produce 100% Americans

Dropout rate is high due to immigrant fears of assimilation

Hyphenated Americans (1920's-1939)

  • Theodore Roosevelt disapproves of "hyphenated" Americans
  • Great Depression reduces the number of immigrants into the United States
  • Recent legal citizens deported due to limited availability of employment

Immigration Studies

  • Misconception of goal of adult education
  • Adult ESL is NOT to help immigrants assimilate to U.S.
  • Assumption is that immigrants should be more like the Europeans who came before them

Concepts to Swallow

  • 1900s Any ties to your native country would lead to deportation
  • Transnational Migration: The process by which immigrants forge and sustain simultaneous multi-stranded social relationships that link together their societies of origin and settlement (Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc, 1994)
Segmented Assimilation
  • Immigrants' native languages and cultures would soon disappear, and that this was the desired outcome.
  • Incorporation into mainstream American culture

Implications for Adult Education

  • Current political climate
  • Seeing English as part of a multilingual repertoire
  • Creating spaces where immigrants see themselves as part of the fabric of the United States

Something to Ponder

Adult Education ESL has always been interwoven with immigration and nation-building, and awareness of these connections can help educators understand the importance of their work (Ullman, 20