Products & Papers


Bright Ideas: A Growing Body of Useful Information

Our Bright Ideas project builds on and extends practical research in how adults best learn English and how programs can implement promising practices. We are creating a variety of products related to the project. These include learning materials for students, tips for teachers, and assorted papers of use to teachers, policy makers, and other researchers in the field. The Bright Ideas project is continually evolving. Not all of the documents posted are in final form, and they are likely to change over time. But feel free to download them and let us know if they are useful.

Bright Ideas ESL-Civics Curriculum
for Very Beginning Learners
15 Curriculum units that include strategies and step-by-step instructions for teachers of very beginning ESL learners, as well as learning materials for students.
Bright Ideas Tips for Teaching ESL to the Elderly (Word) This paper looks at some of the key issues that impact how the elderly learn English and how programs can build effective ESL programs for older immigrants.
10 Steps to Success in the Bright Ideas Classroom (Word) Describes basic strategies for teaching ESL to the elderly. Emphasizes the use of visual materials and engaging learners through field trips and projects.
Basic Principles of Adult Learning (PowerPoint) This is a single PowerPoint slide that describes what students need to be able to learn effectively.
Assessment and Accountability: A Modest Proposal (Web link) This paper describes some of the shortcomings of standardized tests and suggests some alternative approaches.
What Does it Take for Adults to Learn? (Word) A paper listing basic principles of how adults develop language and literacy skills. Learning opportunities are related to the principles.
Citizenship Education in Illinois: What Works? (Word) A historical look at citizenship activities in Illinois and the U.S., and discussion of pertinence to the present.
Knowledge in Action: The Promise of Project-Based Learning (Web link) A piece from 1998 that discusses project-based learning, its history and functional context.
“What do you say?” Bright Ideas Students Talk About Their Problems with English (Word) Suggestions and materials for teachers to use to encourage students to talk about their problems related to English. Includes some short scenarios.
I Have a Problem: Scenarios and Situations for Just-in-Time Civics (Transcript in Word) This is an illustrated transcript of the video of the same name. It is to be used by students to follow along with the tape. Check it out as an example of a tool to use with videos.
Teacher Guide to Coming to America (Word) This Teacher’s Guide is to be used in conjunction with the video, Coming to America, and the accompanying Student Guide.
Student Guide to Coming to America (Word) This is the student guide to be used with the video, Coming to America. To review this video, go to the Videos page. Note: this draft file is nearly 4 MB in size – lengthy download for dial-up connection.
Guide to Field Trips (Word) PowerPoint presentation on how to prepare students to use English before, during, and after a field trip.
Services for Older Refugees: Achieving Independence and Citizenship (Word) This project targets underserved, elderly (60+) refugees who will arrive or already live in northeastern Illinois.  It links them to Older Americans Act (OAA) services and places them on the path towards engagement and citizenship, which are keys to a quality life and income security.

Kansas – What Works in ESL Literacy v4 by Heide Spruck Wrigley
(Click here to download PowerPoint presentation)

53 West Jackson, Suite 1340
Chicago, IL 60604
312-461-0812 / 312-461-1466 (fax)