Adult Education Program
Adult Education Responds to COVID-19
In order to safely and successfully continue the program throughout the pandemic, the Adult Education program transitioned from traditional on-site classes to a blended learning model of both online and on-site lessons. This hybrid learning model allows for smaller class sizes at The Gray House so that students and staff alike adhere to social distancing best practices, as well as provide increased scheduling flexibility and instructional time for the students. Not only will this approach promote enrollment retention and community building, but it will also improve learning outcomes.
Adult Education Program Mission and Philosophy
The Adult Education program focuses on helping low-income migrants residing in Springfield to improve their English language skills while incorporating life skills. The goal of the program is to help them gain self-sufficiency, better integrate into their community and give them the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty. To accomplish these goals, the Adult Education program uses a three-pronged approach which includes Literacy and Beginner ESOL classes, English Conversation Circles for intermediate level speakers and the Community Connection Skills Series.
Using one-on-one and small group instruction which follow a set curriculum, The Gray House provides students with a safe, encouraging and supportive learning setting. Many of the students never received formal instruction in their native tongue, making the traditional classroom setting very intimidating. Not only are these students learning basic English language skills, but they are also learning how to learn and doing so in a supportive environment and community. Each class has a lead teacher assisted by trained volunteers. The ratio of teachers to students is typically 1:3. During the 2018-2019 Academic Year, 110 adult learners participated.
Students gain the educational skills needed to survive and succeed through this program which offers:
- Fundamental skills (reading, writing, math, finance, health and computer/digital) instruction
- Beginner ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes
- Literacy development
- Drop-in intermediate level English conversation practice
For more information on the adult education program and student eligibility requirements, contact Education@grayhouse.org
Schedules and Levels
English Conversation Circles
The 90-minute English Conversation Circles give intermediate and advanced English Language Learners (ELLs) the opportunity to practice their English conversation skills. The Gray House recruits advanced-level ELL volunteers to lead the circles and trains them in group facilitation. While the setting is informal, participants are expected to follow ground rules and each session begins with an icebreaker. This provides participants with the opportunity to get to know each other and practice working together. In large and small groups, the participants will complete a fun, challenging and thought-provoking team-building assignment. The English Conversation Circles provide a culturally aware and inclusive environment which allows participants to build vocabulary, expand their network, and converse.
Community Connection Skills Series
Each month, The Gray House Adult Education program will host presenters from several community agencies to acquaint the participants with the services they offer, answer questions and provide referrals for continued mentoring, coaching or assistance. The community skills scheduled for 2021 are:
- Financial Literacy
- Legal Aid
- Employment & Training
- Health Connections
Volunteers are crucial to the success of this program. On average, 35 individuals volunteer 1.5 - 4 hours a week. Training is required for all volunteers before entering the classroom. If you are interested in being a volunteer, see our volunteer opportunities or contact 413-734-6696 ext. 4.