This research investigated course content in ESOL classes by asking ESOL learners to evaluate the usefulness and importance to them of a range of topics which they may encounter in their language class. A survey was administered to 117 learners ranging from 16-60 years old at ten locations. The results showed that these learners identified as ‘most useful’ and ‘most important’ content which was of immediate practical application in their daily life. In contrast, content which appeared to be of less immediate utility was ranked ‘least useful’, and ‘least important’ to ESOL learners. These results have implications for the design of classroom materials in contexts where policy mandates (associated with employability, citizenship and integration) require the incorporation of specified content.