* This is an original submission as part of my doctoral program in International Education. It is not in APA format as a Blog post and is part of my early coursework. It does not represent my progression as an academic writer.
A Proposal to Modify Adult TESOL Programming to Address Violence Reduction
Situations exist in our community where violence results when English language deficiencies and lack of understanding of local norms regarding acceptable behavior create conflict between non-native English speakers and native English-speaking community members. For example, negative interactions between immigrants with insufficient English language skills and law enforcement officers when the officer is not aware that instructions are not understood.
In this proposal I recommend the modification of the adult education Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course provided by the city to include project-based language learning (PBLL) as used in peace education. I propose these changes will facilitate immigrant’s safe integration into the local community by clarifying social expectations and norms to reduce the potential for misunderstandings and violence.
The proposal will also address criticism of peace education and conclude with potential community objections and benefits to our community by making these adjustments to our adult TESOL programming.
(Kruger 2019, 20-21) states, "According to Harris and Morrison (2003), one of the goals of peace education is to identify problems of violence and to provide the necessary non-violent skills to address those problems. Thus, if people are faced with conflict and the problems arising from it, they will choose to address the problems in a peaceful manner."
During the process of learning English, immigrants encounter situations where they are not able to communicate effectively. In some cases, communication problems lead to misunderstandings which contribute to actions which appear aggressive, resulting in violence.
I propose the reasoning used in the previously quoted goal of peace education applies to the stated problem faced by immigrants as they integrate into our community. When immigrants experience confusing situations due to English language deficiency and lack of knowledge concerning local behavioral norms, they face conflicts and additional problems due to inappropriate reactions which lead to violence. When they understand acceptable community norms of behavior used in these situations, they will choose to apply these behaviors.
Project-based Language Learning (PBLL)
Constructive adult learning experiences require thoughtful consideration of methods to empower successful learner interaction in the classroom. (Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Galiropoulos, C., & Hioctour, V. 2015) PBLL combines activities based on real-life experiences with language instruction. These activities provide opportunities to develop knowledge which may be used to successfully resolve problems to the benefit of the individual and society. When peace-related goals and objectives incorporating PBLL activities are part of the curriculum, instructors facilitate the development of informed community members. These individuals will be empowered through knowledge to contribute to their safety and peace in our community. (Kruger, 2012)
By modifying the TESOL curriculum to include PBLL activities relating to problems faced when learning how to respond to unfamiliar situations, TESOL programming can provide learners with tools to react in ways that conform to local expectations of appropriate behavior. Application of these tools will reduce misunderstandings and potentially violent situations.
Criticism of Peace Education
Concern exists related to the possible lack of consideration of local meanings and peace-related experiences in peace education. (Kroger, 2012) This proposal emphasizes local norms of acceptable behavior and the identification of circumstances where miscommunication leads to potential conflict. By incorporating local norms of behavior and experiences into PBLL activities, we avoid the potential problem of neglecting the consideration of local meanings and experiences.
Possible Community Concerns
Based on personal beliefs regarding the causes of violence in our community, some may feel that TESOL classes are not the appropriate place to address situations involving law enforcement and other civil servants. Additionally, some may question whether this is an efficient use of resources.
The new TESOL curriculum will foster community unifying activities through partnerships with law enforcement and other civil servants. The modified TESOL will prove to be an efficient use of resources because portions of departmental cultural sensitivity training will combine with the adult education program. Resource sharing will result in the fiscally responsible use of funding.
While change may be difficult and require us to move beyond our traditional approaches to problems it creates new opportunities for growth. The process of modifying our TESOL program’s goals and objectives to include PBLL activities will require community conversations to identify community behavioral norms and experiences with violence.
It is important to design collaborative training to incorporate real-life experiences and needs of the learners. (Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Galiropoulos, C., & Hioctour, V. 2015). PBLL activities based on the results of community engagement will benefit our community through violence reduction and the advancement of peaceful social interactions.
Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Galiropoulos, C., & Hioctour, V. (2015). The Andragogy, the Social Change and the Transformative Learning Educational Approaches in Adult Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(10), 46–50. Retrieved from http://proxy1.ncu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1081666&site=eds-live
Kruger, F. (2012). The role of TESOL in educating for peace. Journal of Peace Education, 9(1), 17–30. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1080/17400201.2011.623769
Lewsader, J., & Myers-Walls, J. A. (2017). Developmentally appropriate peace education curricula. Journal of Peace Education, 14(1), 1–14. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1080/17400201.2016.1228527