ESL/EFL Cases—Contexts for Teacher Professional Discussions

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ESL/EFL Cases: Contexts for Teacher Professional Discussions is designed to provoke conversations on language teaching from multiple perspectives.

The format of the presentation of cases allows the reader to gain insights on teaching from the vantage point of the students’ proficiency, the teacher’s perspective, the writers’ questions and suggested answers and finally the critical commentary. Readers are treated as thinking professionals who are capable of analysing the acts of language teaching through the teaching excerpts and the dynamic lesson transcriptions. The questions and critical commentary encourage deeper and more critical processing rather than a superficial interpretation of the teaching act. The cases, derived from authentic teaching contexts

Pub. Date
Jul 1, 2007
208 pages
143 x 210 mm

The cases in this book are derived from the project "The Real Teachers' Project" so named because the cases are from teachers in their authentic settings. Real teachers are like real people, very complex and complicated with their own personal and profess

The cases in this book are derived from the project "The Real Teachers' Project" so named because the cases are from teachers in their authentic settings. Real teachers are like real people, very complex and complicated with their own personal and professional histories that are taken to the classrooms with them. Similarly, real classrooms are filled with students who bring their own personal learning histories, background knowledge and world experiences to the classroom, the sum of their numbers combined. When teachers bring all their human foibles, fears and frustrations to the classrooms, the challenges are substantial. And when those real teachers undertake different ways of teaching their students, the reader has to appreciate teaching from multiple viewpoints. And, in essence, that is what the cases in this book are about: rationalising and appreciating the complexities of the challenges of teaching from the multiple viewpoints of the teachers' and the learners' perspectives in their own particularised learning contexts.

We believe that you chose this book because you aspire to become a more effective teacher of English as a second/foreign language. As educators, we all desire to become better at what we do. As the writers of this book, we aspire to become more effective teacher educators. For us, this means making meaningful impact with our teacher learners whether they are pre-service, in-service, undergraduate or graduate teachers. In other words, how do we, and the other teacher educators who will use this book, help our teacher learners to become more effective in the classroom? This book is important to us because we saw a void in the ESL/EFL literature that did not adequately address the needs of teachers of English as a second/foreign language. We wanted a book that captured large slices of teachers doing their work and we wanted to use their authentic work contexts as a means to foster discussions about the teaching and learning of English. We have deliberately maintained the rich and messy contexts of teaching because we know that these will contribute to the fullness of your discussions and because these characteristics truly represent the realities of teaching. We believe that through your reflective reading, thinking, writing and discussions about our cases, we would be creating the spaces for improving the teaching and learning of English as a second/foreign language.

We envision communities of teachers sitting around a table in teacher development seminars, faculty workshops, teacher study groups or in the university classroom, talking animatedly about teaching and learning, not just planning the next test for our students or for teacher learners, how to pass the course. Instead, we hope for groups of teachers engaging in talk about how we can, through our interactions and instructional approaches, help our learners to become competent in all aspects of English. For teacher educators and the pre-service and in-service student teachers under their tutelage we hope that you too, can foster communities of learners through allocating time in your coursework to use our cases as authentic contexts to address the often cited criticism about teacher education lack of good classroom examples to support our theoretical orientations or to exemplify our pedagogical approaches.

The idea of community is critical to the success of our quest of becoming more effective educators. We are social beings and most of us function best through our social discourses with others and we believe that our cases provide rich contexts for promoting reflective and meaningful teacher discussions.

The first questions that we would like you to think about are:"What does it mean to be an effective teacher and how do we become more effective teachers of English?"

The next question that we would like you to think about is related to context."Which contexts and conditions are important for acquiring another language?"

As you read our cases, you will find many different learning contexts some of which you may deem to be more effective than others. We hope that you will use your understandings of how we learn and teach a second/foreign language to guide your discussions. Most of all, we hope that you will set directions for yourself and use our cases and the discussions that evolve from them as impetus to take appropriate action to become a more effective educator, something which we all desire to be.
Belinda HO
Summer 2007
1.  Critical Thinking
Case 1   Critical Thinking: Facts and Opinions, Writer's Purpose
2.  Writing
Case 2   Writing an Argumentative Essay
Case 3   Supporting Writing
3.  Extensive Reading and Using Class Readers
Case 4   Literature Circles
Case 5   Developing a Slogan in an ERS Lesson
Case 6   Using Class Readers
4.  Listening
Case 7   Answer Checking in a Listening Lesson
5.  Grammar
Case 8   Explanations in Teaching
Case 9   Making a Request
6.  Reading Comprehension
Case 10  Questions and Answers in Comprehension
Case 11  Group Work in Reading Comprehension
7.  Vocabulary Development 
Case 12  Elicitation in Vocabulary Teaching
Case 13  Building Vocabulary
8.  Classroom Management
Case 14  Classroom Management
9.  Possible Answers
Concluding Remarks