Engaging Adult English Language Learners in Distance Education: An ESL Program’s Experience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Traditionally, adult English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, also known as English as an Additional Language (EAL), deliver instruction through in-person classes rather than distance education, as was the case at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC). However, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, distance education became a tool used at GPTC to engage students in learning while school campuses were closed. This paper gives details about how administrators, instructors, and staff at GPTC quickly built a distance education program for adult English language learners in response to the pandemic, including resulting challenges, insights, and successes. Research on the topic of distance education and its possible benefits for adult English language learners is explored in order to inform the efforts of building this type of program. The information provided can help guide other adult EAL programs seeking to incorporate distance education for adult English language learners.
Keywords: adult ESL/EAL programs, language program administration, English language learners, distance education