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The ESL Classroom

The ESL Classroom: Teaching, Critical Practice, and Community Development

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 175
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  • Book Info
    The ESL Classroom
    Book Description:

    Brian Morgan uses his own teaching experience in Canada and China to investigate the complexities of teaching English as a second language to those newly arrived in Canada and to suggest ways of becoming a more effective ESL teacher.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8120-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Key Concepts
    (pp. 3-22)

    My own initial training as an ESL teacher served several important purposes. It satisfied my early assumptions about the nature of language and provided me with a body of abstract methods and techniques that might safely guide me past the various landmines of the classroom. Soon after, however, I found myself fumbling with questions from students that went beyond my limited canon and experiences. Moreover, I tended to view such moments as disrespectful challenges to my newly sanctioned authority. Usually, in these times of threatened confidence, I would call upon some greater authority: the ʹlatestʹ research, famous ʹexpert,ʹ or in...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Teaching Politics in an ESL Classroom
    (pp. 23-40)

    For many of us, politics is a haphazard event of casting a ballot, followed by marginal interest in the process of governance. At a past TESL conference, Kevin Moloney addressed this problem succinctly by noting that democratic rights are often regarded ʹas if they fell from the skyʹ (Moloney 1991). There is little understanding of the past and current struggles that are essential for their attainment. Politics, as it affects most of our lives, rarely intrudes into personal discussions of physical survival. Accordingly, politics is perceived as only an occasional nuisance, distinctly separate from most areas of community life.


  6. CHAPTER 3 Critical Practice for a Changing World of Work
    (pp. 41-62)

    Finding a job may be the most difficult task facing a newcomer to Canada. In this regard, the ESL classroom is an obvious place to teach specific skills for the immediate and pressing need to find employment. Often, this is a frustrating experience, as teachers evaluate the effectiveness of job-related language programs in a changing world of work that appears increasingly unstable and unpredictable. ʹWhat should we teach? Is this material relevant for the jobs available to our students?ʹ Such questions are particularly unsettling as many ESL teachers nervously assess their own employment prospects within the context of increasing pressures...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Linking Dynamic Processes: Research, Identity, and Intonation
    (pp. 63-82)

    This chapter reflects upon what I judge to have been a particularly successful language lesson. What stands out most in this activity is how the foregrounding of social power and identity issues seemed to facilitate greater comprehension of sentence-level stress and intonation as strategic resources for (re)defining social relationships. Through reflection and theorizing, I hope to offer some insight on the weave of intended and unintended factors that determined the success of this lesson and make it important within the larger context of this book. First and foremost, the title and content of this chapter re-emphasize that critical practice and...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Community Policing and the ESL Classroom
    (pp. 83-107)

    This chapter came about as a response to a series of murders that occured within the immediate neighborhood of our school during 1991. Intensive media coverage at this time focused on the existence of Asian gangs competing over drug money, prostitution and gambling in Torontoʹs Chinatown. The sense of a ʹrising tide of violence in Chinatown,ʹ in the words of then Police Chief McCormack (OʹMalley 1991), was also compounded by reports in the media of difficulties the police had in gathering information and finding witnesses to crimes. Were they dealing with a ʹlanguage barrierʹ or an alternative set of evaluations...

  9. CHAPTER 6 A Dangerous Future
    (pp. 108-128)

    At a past press conference in Toronto to promote a concert, Chrissie Hynde of the rock band the Pretenders was quoted as saying that only men can really rock ʹnʹ roll. To the assembled, it appeared to be an astoundingly sexist remark coming from a most unlikely source: rock musicʹs most prolific and enduring feminist performer. A few media pundits speculated that it wasnʹt necessarily a compliment. What Hynde had been hinting at was that women didnʹt reallyneedto rock ʹnʹ roll, an art form infamous for its aggression, rebellion, and rage. Hynde was implying that women were more...

  10. CHAPTER 7 In Closing
    (pp. 129-134)

    I remember the first time I presented some of the lesson plans from this book at an ESL conference. I was part of a panel presentation that began with an introductory discussion on the importance of an understanding of language and power issues for the ESL classroom. Early on, a couple of audience members voiced their scepticism about the relevance of our focus. They said that our work was ʹtoo theoreticalʹ or ʹtoo academicʹ to be of any practical use. When my segment of the presentation was discussed, the responses tended towards extremes. Some teachers wanted to explore relationships of...

  11. Appendixes
    (pp. 135-140)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 141-152)
  13. References
    (pp. 153-162)
  14. Index
    (pp. 163-167)