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Resources for the Classroom

for Skills and Language for Work

This section includes resources (lesson plans, curriculum, readings, videos, podcasts, etc.) to use in class.

This webpage offers a variety of resources to promote adult literacy and help learners develop the soft skills needed for work. Workbooks and activities are available on the following topics:

  • Motivation
  • Attitude
  • Accountability
  • Presentation
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Adaptability
  • Stress Management
  • Confidence

Online courses are freely available on the following topics:

  • Stress Management
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork

A monthly e-newsletter announces new resources.

ABC LifeLiteracyCanada. (2021). Upskills for work resources.

The link connects to workbooks, videos, and online materials, developed and created through the support of provincial and federal funding. (Note: Individual AWES resources are described in separate entries below)

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (n.d.). Resources

This playlist includes videos, designed for newcomers to Canada, that target Essential Skills and Canadian workplace expectations.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2019). Newcomers and the workplace [Video playlist]. YouTube.

The workbook and accompanying video playlist are designed for CLB 1–2 learners. Learners build their document use, oral communication, and writing Essential Skills as they work through the following topics:

  • Starting Work
  • Working Well
  • Working with Others

The links to the workbooks below include H5P workbooks as well as PDF workbooks. They include a general vocabulary list, as well as vocabulary lists for dishwashers, housekeepers, and cooks. The playlist includes 10 videos, with focus questions in the workbook.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2019). Working faster, working safer CLB 1–2.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2019). Working faster, working safer . [Video playlist]. YouTube.

This playlist includes videos introducing diversity and inclusion topics, designed for newcomers to Canada.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2021). Diversity and Inclusion [Video playlist]. YouTube.

This workbook supports CLB 3–5 English language learners with skill-building activities that develop their language proficiency and workplace Essential Skills (document use, oral communication, and writing). Activities are divided into the following topics: Orientation to the Workplace, Workplace Communications, and Workplace Safety.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2017). Workforce participation workbook 1 CLB 3 to 5. (2017).

This workbook supports CLB 6–8 English language learners with with skill-building activities that develop their language proficiency and workplace Essential Skills (document use, oral communication, and writing). The workbook has three sections: Orientation to the Workplace, Workplace Communications, and Workplace Safety.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2017). Workforce Participation Workbook 2 CLB 6 to 8.

This workbook focuses on skill-building activities that support and enhance the English language skills and the Essential Skills of learners interested in working in the food processing industry. The document focuses on developing oral communication and document use Essential Skills. Topics include teamwork, workplace culture, and workplace Integration.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES). (2018). Language and skills for careers in food processing.

This is a database of resources and publications from ALIS Alberta that can be ordered or downloaded as PDF files. Search “Newcomers” and/or “Easy Reading” for a list of accessible work-related guides:

  • Find a Job
  • Keep Your Job
  • Be Safe at Work
  • Training for Work
  • Decide on a Job
  • Job Profiles
  • Work Laws and Your Paystubs
  • Working in Alberta

ALIS. (2001–2021). Tools and resources.

This page includes easy reading job profiles for 23 different jobs, along with an easy reading dictionary.

ALIS. (2001–2021). Easy reading job profiles.

Designed for CLB 5/6 learners, this Open Educational Resource is an e-textbook that focuses on developing language skills and pragmatic competence for the Canadian workplace.

Each chapter is organized according to language skill and includes skill-building and skill-using activities, videos/audios, and real-life tasks, and self-assessment rubrics.

Bow Valley College. (2016). In the workplace: An intermediate integrated skills textbook.

Includes an instructor guide and learner workbook designed to help CLB 4–6 learners develop the communication skills needed for working in kitchens, cafeterias and restaurants. 16 units are organized into 4 modules:

  • Interviewing and onboarding
  • Knowing your environment
  • Staying safe
  • Taking initiative.

Included are audio and video resources, comprehension exercises, listening/speaking activities, and self-assessment/reflection activities.

Bow Valley College. (2018). Here to help: Workplace communication skills for food services.

The following workplace-related curriculum resources are available by request:

  • Workplace Essential Skills Toolkit: Numeracy and Working with Others for Low Skilled Learners
  • Workplace Essential Skills Toolkit: Digital Technology for Low Skilled Learners
  • Educational Curriculum Manual: Employment Training for Low Literacy Immigrant Women

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2021) Resources.

A resource manual with unit summary charts, lesson plans, and worksheets for develop the language and essential skills related to the following unit topics:

  • Cleaning guest rooms
  • Customer care
  • Safety and emergencies
  • Introduction to the hotel

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2010). Customer care for housekeepers: Training materials for hotel housekeeping staff.

This is a set of 7 manuals designed to help employees in the gaming industry develop their Essential Skills. The manuals that are most relevant to ESL learners include those on Casino Document Use, Casino Writing Skills, Casino Oral Communication Skills, and Casino Reading Skills. Also included are Casino Thinking Skills, Casino Math, and Casino Skills for Working with Others.

Each manual has two sections. The Foundations section includes skill-building materials to develop that Essential Skill, contextualized in various gaming industry occupations. Most of these are general enough that they would be relevant to many groups of ESL learners. For instance, the Writing manual targets writing notes, emails, daily logs, reports, memos and letters. The Oral Communication manual targets professional communication, effective listening, non-verbal communication, responding to difficult situations, and contributing to meetings.

The Job Families section of each manual includes skill building activities for the targeted essential skill in each of the different gaming industry occupations: bank, customer services, food and beverage, housekeeping and grounds, retail, security, warehouse, uniforms, and slots/electronic gaming/bingo. While some of these are very specific to the gaming industry, many of these topics are broader

Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence. (2012). Essential skills for the gaming industry.

This resource includes Can Do Statements for CLB 4–10. These statements have a workplace/employment focus.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2013). Canadian Language Benchmarks: Can Do statements for employment.

This webpage links to resources for developing each of the Skills for Success/Essential Skills. It includes workbooks on Essential Skills for Life and Job Search resources.

Skills for Success Quebec (2022).

This manual provides an introduction to intercultural communication in the Canadian workplace. The first two chapters cover topics of culture, identity, and migration. The third topic describes cultural encounters in the workplace, and includes short dialogues of intercultural misunderstanding set in the workplace and the classroom.

Fantino, A. M. (2016). Cultures at work: Intercultural communication in the Canadian workplace. The Muttart Foundation.

(This resource can also be accessed at this link:

This website provides an introduction to the framework of skills identified by the Government of Canada as needed to thrive and participate in learning, work, and life. Previously called Essential Skills, these are now called Skills for Success and include the following: adaptability, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation, digital, numeracy, problem solving, reading, and writing. This site introduces the Skills for Success.

This government website links to a series of skill building tools and assessment tools developed to assist individuals and organizations address workplace essential skills challenges. Included are fact sheets, workbooks, success stories, online checklists, assessment tools that indicate skill level, self-assessements, and training guides.

ES Profiles provide detailed information about the tasks and Essential Skills that people in an occupation need, ranked on a 1–4 complexity scale.

Learners may refer to these profiles to learn more about a target occupation and to set learning goals.

Government of Canada. (2021). Essential skills profiles.

This resource includes a series of short quizzes to help learners identify Essential Skills strengths and gaps. Pre-tests and post-tests are provided for numeracy, document use, and reading. (Note: The tests are not specifically designed for second language learners.)

Government of Canada. (2021). Welcome to the essential skills indicator!

This workbook includes 24 lessons on vocabulary that are common in the Canadian workplace. Each lesson includes a list of words, definitions, and a variety of activities (e.g., crossword puzzles, matching, filling in the blank, analogies, and reading comprehension). Large print, braille, audio cassette, audio CD, e-text diskette, e-text CD, and DAISY are available on demand.

This links to a large collection of resource material developed for LINC learners at CLB 3 and CLB 5. There are 12–15 modules on workplace topics (e.g., Employment Goals, Introduction to Work, Job search, Workplace Safety). Each module has an average of 130 hours of learning and includes a module plan, detailed lesson plans, skill building and skill using activities (handouts, audios, PowerPoints, etc.), and Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) tasks. Also included are needs assessments and reflection activities.

Note: On Tutela, you can download the activities in H5P form for Interviews, Job Basics, and Employment Goals (Search LINC Works H5P).

The Essential Skills Assessment Tool gives a snapshot of ESL learners’ workplace Essential Skills levels in reading, document use, numeracy, writing, and listening. It can be used as a one-time test to identify Essential Skills levels and gaps, or as a pre-/post- assessment test to evaluate improvement and gaps.

This resource includes 20 short videos illustrating a breakdown in intercultural communication in the workplace. Also included are an introduction video, an activity guide, scene-by-scene breakdowns, and video transcripts. The scene-by-scene breakdown includes characters, background, perspective points, and informed actions for each video. Also included is a list of cultural orientation dimensions.

This resource includes audios of 4 interviews and follow-up interviews, as well as interview scripts. Also included are two guides with a detailed analysis of the interviews, one from the perspective of a candidate and one from the perspective of an employer.

See the following article for an orientation to these materials.

This resource includes 3 interactive online simulations:

  • Responding to leadership requests
  • Responding to leadership feedback
  • Responding to onboarding

Also included are an instructor guide, activity cards, handouts, post-simulation activities, and a document that relates these materials to ATESL’s ICC strands, the ES, and CLB Speaking.

Includes EAL lesson plans and materials for teaching pragmatics for the Canadian business context.

  • Apologies (CLB 5+): Lesson plan, 9+audios, learner handout
  • Feedback (CLB 6–8): lesson plan, audios, learner handout
  • Complaints (CLB 6­–8): lesson plan, audios, learner handout
  • Compliments (audios with shoe compliments)
  • Requests (audios with requests)

See the following article for orientation to these materials: begins with an illustration and a video, and introduces the pragmatics materials.

Louw, K., & Abe, Y. (2016, July). Pragmatics: When the unwritten rules of language break down. TESOL Connections.

NorQuest College. (n.d.). Pragmatic patterns for business: Resources for EAL instructors.

This resource includes two listening lessons on building workplace community. Also included are two listening lessons, one on listening skills, and one on being open to feedback. Each lesson includes a listening activity, answer key, audios, and transcripts.

With a focus on pragmatics (adjusting word choice, tone, and register to the context) and the workplace, this resource has online activities to support the teaching and learning of workplace language skills for newcomers. It includes the following:

  • A Facilitator Guide
  • Five videos for the Office context
  • Five videos for the Industry context
  • Language Study tables (short videos with a language/culture focus on the following aspects of pragmatics: idioms, requests, responding to a request, giving feedback, small talk, urgency, asking for support, complaining, giving advice)
  • Something’s Up! Intercultural resources: 10 video clips along with a “Something’s Up” explanation which takes participants through the Something’s Up cycle (Topics: hockey pool; meeting deadlines; keeping a client; following the agenda; comparing cultures; leaving work early; work safety; driving conditions; going to site C; coming to a meeting)

This resource is designed for CLB 4 learners and includes intercultural awareness and pragmatics materials on how to interrupt, make a request, clarify, apologize, make suggestions, request and give opinions, agree and disagree, complain, deal with conflict. It includes a Facilitator’s guide and a Workplace Training Manual.

This curriculum resource includes background information, classroom activities, handouts and visuals for the following 6 modules:

  • Introduction to Safety
  • Basic Vocabulary for Safety
  • Watching for Hazards
  • Hazardous Materials and WHMIS
  • Working Safely
  • Safety in Light Industry

Petit, L. (n.d.). Workplace safety and health in basic language: A collection of safety and health resources for the Canadian Learning Benchmark 1–3 audience.

This resource includes the following:

  • Short 30-second videos introducing each Essential Skill
  • Essential Skills workbooks designed for youth
  • Teacher resources for several professions (cooking, electrical installation, hairstyling, and more)
  • Essential Skills Mobile App Assessment Tool for teachers and students

Skills Compétences Canada (2021). Skills for Success.

Includes activities to build the language proficiency and essential skills of CLB 5/6 learners looking for a job.

Toronto Catholic District School Board. (2010). Chapter 4: Looking for a job/job search strategies. In LINC 5–7 Classroom Activities Volume 1. (Or see the online interactive version of those materials here:

This website includes essential skills and workplace-relevant materials. Create an account and sign in to Tutela.

Under the Collections tab, search for the following collections:

  • Employment Teaching Resources. This includes assessment tools, module plans, and a list of other teaching resources.
  • Employment Curriculum. This includes curriculum for the trades, service/retail, office/business, education/health.
  • LINC Works CLB 3
  • LINC Works CLB 5
  • LINC Works H5P
  • LINC Works Supporting Materials

This website includes a collection of lesson plans designed to help ESL and ESL Literacy instructors incorporate Essential Skills into their lesson plans. Lessons are organized according to Essential Skill; they can also be searched by theme. Each lesson plan includes an Essential Skills focus, a task, outcomes, materials, method, and handouts.

Winnipeg School Division Adult EAL Program, & Manitoba Immigrant Integration Program. (n.d.). Essential skills activities.

This resource includes essential skills “Can Do” checklists in the form of report cards (MS Word). It includes checklists for Literacy Phases 1–3, and well as CLB 1–4.

From this page, you can also link to pre-/post Essential Skills tests for Literacy Phases 1­–3, and CLB 1–4.

You can also link to 3 essential skills modules:

  • Reporting an injury at work (CLB 1 listening and speaking; Phase 1 reading/writing/numeracy)
  • Read and follow a work schedule (CLB 4 listening and speaking; Phase 2 reading/writing/numeracy)
  • Responding to a traffic offence (CLB 5 listening and speaking; Phase 3 reading/writing/numeracy)

Winnipeg School Division Adult EAL Program, & Manitoba Immigrant Integration Program. (n.d.). Embedding the essentials: Can Do checklist.