TLYSK 1 Only the Beginning

TLYSK 1 Only the Beginning - BTR-TESOL Unit 1A Lynn...

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BTR-TESOL Unit 1A © Lynn Henrichsen, 2010 Only the Beginning Congratulations on accepting an assignment to teach English as a second or foreign language! You are embarking on a great adventure. Being prepared for that adventure will allow you to better assist your students with their learning. It will also help you gain richer rewards for yourself as you teach. Scenario: Someone knocking on my office door Over the years, many individuals have knocked on my office door, called me on the phone, or sent me letters or e-mail. All of these people were about to become involved in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), but they had no preparation for doing so. They were going to teach English by virtue of the simple fact that they spoke English. These people have been of varying ages and have come from different backgrounds. Many have been young college students about to travel to a foreign country, quite a few have been older retired couples determined to do something useful in their golden years, some have been professors headed abroad, others have been literacy program administrators working with immigrants and refugees, and a few have been church leaders. Some were going abroad, to countries where people needed English skills to advance in their education or employment. Others were staying in their home communities, where they were working with refugees and immigrants whose English skills and financial resources were limited. Despite this diversity, they have all had one thing in common: they were all looking for “the book” that would tell them how to teach English to speakers of other languages. Well, on the bookshelves of my office, I have nearly 600 books dealing with many aspects of the complex, challenging process of English language teaching, but not one of them was precisely suited to the needs of these unprepared novices looking for “the book.” When they came to my office, I used to scare these well meaning individuals by waving my hand at all the books on my shelves and asking them which of these many books was “the book” they were looking for. Deep down, I sort of hoped they would be intimidated, realize the great challenges of teaching English, change their minds, and leave the work to the professionals, like my colleagues in the TESOL organization or the graduates of university-based TESOL teacher-preparation programs, such as the ones I have worked in. My current response, however, is different. Now I say, “This is your lucky day! I am writing the book that you are looking for. It’s title is Basic Training and Resources for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages . It’s subtitle is The Least You Should Know and Where to Go to Learn More . Why this change in heart? Well, because of the fact that English is now the international language of communication, there is a huge worldwide demand for English language skills, and 1
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there may never be enough thoroughly trained teachers to meet the instructional needs of the many millions of English learners. Furthermore, because many of the people who need English
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