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SLIFE: Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education

About This Session


Learn about the unique needs of SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) and how to tailor your teaching for ESL students who do not have strong literacy skills in their home languages.

What we'll cover:

These days, ESL students’ home languages are considered linguistic assets that teachers can build upon. But, what happens when students have limited literacy in their home language due to war, poverty, refugee status, etc.? These students are referred to as SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) and usually require additional support, as they often do not have foundational literacy skills to transfer from one language to another.

In this session, we will learn about the unique needs of SLIFE students and how their educational backgrounds impact language acquisition. We will also consider ways that ESL teachers can provide instructional scaffolds and supports to accommodate SLIFE students.

During our time together, we will answer the following questions about SLIFE learners:

  • Who are these students?
  • What makes them unique from other beginning ESL students?
  • What assets do SLIFE students bring with them to the classroom?
  • What scaffolds/supports can teachers provide to accommodate this type of learner
  • What free and widely-available research/tools/resources exist for SLIFE?
  • What resources does Cambridge Ventures curriculum provide for teaching low-literacy learners?

Topics & Focus

Primary Topic Area
topic - English Language Learning, ESL, ELL
Session will also cover:
topic - instructional theory, methodology, research

Handouts & Materials

SLIFE Presentation (breakout slides – PDF)

Welch, Katie

Presenter: Katie Welch
Organization: Welch Education

Session sponsored by Cambridge University Press & Assessment
visit Cambridge in the Exhibitor Hall!

ROLE classroom instructors
LEVEL beginner
Case study?
Other info:

While Cambridge materials will be referenced in this talk, this topic is applicable to all ESL teachers regardless of which curriculum they currently use.

Many free and publicly available resources will be discussed as well.

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