Archive for the ‘Workplace ESL’ Category

Vocabulary Development for Workplace Communications – Presentation Slides

December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

On November 2, 2012 I gave a presentation for  the the Read.Write.Act 2012 Virtual Conference on national  literacy.  My topic was  “Developing Vocabulary for the Workplace”. Slides from that presentation are below.

If you would  like access to the sample lessons indicated on Slide 18, please message me with your email address. I will send you the link right away.



Vocabulary Development for Workplace Communications

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The Read.Write.Act 2012 Virtual Conference  convenes this Thursday and Friday, November 1-2, 2012.   The conference theme is: LITERACY AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY.

I will be presenting on the topic:  Vocabulary Development for Workplace Communications” on Friday at 1pm EST.

Why Develop Vocabulary?  Vocabulary is fundamental to every other literacy skill and for most communication skills. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers the Job Outlook 2012 report, employers want employees who can communicate.  Here’s how communication skills rated based on a five-point scale:

In my presentation I will discuss how we as  educators and literacy advocates can provide learning opportunities that are relevant for today’s workforce, engaging and appropriate for our population of learners, and that has enough breadth and depth to prepare them to meet their employer’s needs.

The registration fee  for both days is only $25. I encourage you to register, as the wealth of information you’ll receive is well worth the money.  Click here to see the full conference schedule.

I see a countless numbers of students complete vocational training programs in health care, accounting, computer applications, and more who – despite their high scores on these technical skills – cannot obtain and/or maintain employment because they’re unable to communicate with employers, co-workers and customers. For some, the employers gives them a try, just to see how it goes; but it’s not long before they’re let go.  We cannot neglect the importance of this skill as a core, foundational employment skill.

I hope you’ll join us for this workshop and conference.  Please check it out.

Michelle Walker-Wade
Workplace Literacy &
Career Strategy


Workplace Literacy Opportunity – Deli Clerk Needs Help

January 7, 2012 1 comment

I went to Safeway’s deli to order a sandwich the other day. I approached the countertop as the deli clerk said, “May I help you?” She was Hispanic, appeared to be about 30 years old, and had a strong accent. Since I work primarily with adult learners who are non-native English speakers, my deli clerk’s accent was not a challenge for me at all.  I proceeded to order my custom-order sandwich only to find out that the deli clerk did not know the names of meats, cheeses, produce and the variety of breads in English. She was able to carry on a general conversation with me, using language skills she could have learned in a general English as a Second (ESL) language class where the topical lessons are around Life Skills. She, however, lacked the language skills to communicate verbally on something like wheat bread, soft roll, focaccia bread, cheddar cheese, or havarti cheese.  She did not understand statements like “light mayo” or “extra pickles please”.

I felt for her and wished I could stay there long enough to do some workplace literacy vocabulary-building lessons, specially designed to prepare her to do well as a deli clerk. I know there is a real need to provide these types of literacy classes in my community. I can’t help but wonder how long this particular lady will be able to keep her job.  I do know that Workplace Literacy classes can help her succeed.