We Are New York was a really good experience for my students… They saw different kinds of people and they connected really well with the themes, the topics and the characters.”

— Lizelena, ESOL Instructor, Brooklyn

In 2009, The CUNY Adult Literacy Program and the former New York City Mayor’s Office of Adult Education launched the ESOL TV program “We Are New York” (WANY). This Emmy-award winning drama series, designed to help adult immigrants learn English in realistic situations, is telecast weekends on Channel 25 and selected cable channels. The goal of the series is to reach some of the estimated 1.6 million adult English language learners in New York City without access to classrooms. In addition to the free cable TV program and DVD distribution, “We Are New York” episodes are available online, along with downloadable self-study materials, magazines for further reading, and classroom lesson plans.

For “We Are New York” episodes and materials, visit: www.nyc.gov/learnenglish.

There are many ways in which “We Are New York” episodes and teaching resources feature key CUNY best practices for the adult literacy and language classroom:

  1. Recognize adult learners as experts in their communities. CUNY classroom practices acknowledge adult learners as experts who bring with them a rich array of life experiences that inform their learning. Likewise, “We Are New York” episodes show English language learners in leadership roles, working together to better their communities.
  2. Provide opportunities for adult students to learn English for everyday life.“We Are New York” episodes show adults using English in real-life situations such as parent-teacher conferences, speaking with the doctor, or calling 311 for information. Communication skills such as asking questions, asking for clarification, and making requests provide opportunities for classroom study, review, and elaboration.
  3. Connect adult learners to community services. “We Are New York” episodes emphasize adults as problem-solvers and suggest resources for further research into possible sources of information, including the NYC information hotline (311) and useful resource sites on the internet.
  4. Address topics and themes relevant to students’ lives.“We Are New York” episodes address issues of relevance to adult immigrants, such as getting around New York City, understanding American customs and expectations, navigating the school system, advocating for healthcare solutions, finding free or low-cost health insurance, or domestic violence prevention.

News & Updates

Starting December 2nd, 2013, you can watch our new episode produced in 2013 in collaboration with the NYC Office of Emergency Management. Click here to watch episode 10, “The Storm,” and find related study materials.

“We Are New York” is currently affiliated with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

In 2012, “We Are New York” was a featured activity resource in the English Language Learner University (ELL-U), National English Language Learning Professional Development Network.

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