Using the Alabama Drivers Manual as ESL Textbook

We talk about the use of “environmental texts” during ESOL tutor training. Those are things we encounter in the environment of our daily lives—newspapers, maps, advertising flyers, job or lease applications, for example. While they don’t explicitly teach the rules of spelling or how to form the past tense of a verb, they are nevertheless critical to our ELLs’ survival in the US. It has come to my attention that some ELLs have been denied the opportunity to take the Alabama driver’s license test because “they don’t know enough English.” What can we as teachers of English do to help our learners? It is simple…use the Alabama Drivers Manual as environmental text!

Download the manual at: http://dps.alabama.gov/documents/manuals/driverlicensemanual.pdf

Here is a podcast that you can play for your students. Note the bold text that becomes a vocabulary list. The speaker uses language and pace that is intended for ELLs. http://www.eslpod.com/website/show_podcast.php?issue_id=2963216# You may wish to listen to this and then create your own lesson. (Retrieved from eslpod.com 2/28/13).

There are several online sites that allow users to take a practice license test, this is one: http://dmv-driving-tests.com/mcquiz/user_tst_shw-6.html . (Retrieved 2/28/13). Caution! Learners must understand that this is a practice test only.

Let’s chat about ways the drivers manual can be adapted for use as text. Share here!

Thanks, lder

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