Hi. I'm new to the listserve and would like to respond to Rebecca
Smollett's request for ESL resources. I'm a former ESL instructor and a
current English for Academic Purpose instructor at the U of A, Edmonton.
Rebecca Oxford has research and ESL books with helpful reading
strategies re: learning styles which are very interesting, especially if you
have a large group of Asian students. What I found very useful about
reading her research is the insight she provided about the students'
former educational systems which is, in my opinion a good place to start
in helping students attain good study skills. They often know how to
study, but don't understand the dynamics and accompanying expectations
of not only classroom interaction, but of our educational system.
What's taken for granted by many tutors is that the students, who have
not gone through our secondary school system, have knowledge of how
we at the post-secondary level assess student performance, write marks,
obtain marks, etc.
In other words, although memorization is helpful, students often have
difficulty understanding the relationship between lectures, textbooks and
exams, types of quizzes, the purpose of academic writing in assessment,
copyright laws, etc.).
Also, I personally have found that emphasis on helping students
become aware of their language learning metacognitive skills (also
Oxford's research) also goes a long way in helping them. I could go on
and on, but then, ESL is a field of study so I will simply recommend a few
textbooks that I have used.
Learner English" edited by Michael Swan and Bernard Smith, although
ideal for linguistic lovers, is helpful for a general overview of what might
happening for individual students from specific language background.
I have also used a reading strategy book named "Making Connections" by
Kenneth J. Pakenham. Although meant for students, this book is ideal for
instructors too since the margins of the readings suggest reading
strategies. The questions for each text cover a wide area of reading skills
(explicit (main ideas) and implicit meaning (also a section related-
"Making Connections"). In addition, questions are asked that require
lengthier opinions and responses from students, and finally there's a
section that many native speakers would find challenging (paraphrases
called "Same or Different").
We currently are using a very helpful book by Susan Anker, ideal for
students who need help with reading or writing assignments called "Real
Essays (with or without reading editions available). This last textbook is
especially helpful when used in conjunction with students classroom
I do not offhand know of any listserves- probably because I'm too busy
marking! Hope this helps. Gloria Michalchuk
Dance through Life: a NIA perspective!
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