Introduction to Teaching Adult ELLs

Published by Cambridge University Press, Teaching Adult English Language Learners is a fully revised and updated edition of Betsy Parrish’s definitive textbook Teaching Adult ESL, which has supported novice and experienced teachers since 2004. It retains the accessible style, comprehensive coverage, practical focus and real world examples of the original, while reflecting the changing focus of Adult ESL teaching over the last 15 years.

As the author explains in her introduction, these developments include a shift in focus from life-skills competencies to “far more emphasis on preparing adults for the demands of work and school in the 21st century, which includes academic language, digital competence and strategies for accessing complex texts…the field is now acknowledging the need to assist adult English learners to transition to new opportunities at school, work, and in their communities that takes them well beyond survival English. Instruction needs to provide support that allow learners to thrive in their new communities.”

Another significant change is the global focus of the new edition. While the original book was written primarily for a U.S. audience, it now includes research, resources, and examples that reflect the teaching of adult learners from around the world

Devotees of the original publication will be glad to see that the overall structure remains the same. The book is organized into 10 chapters which guide teachers through topics including Working with Adult English Language Learners, Approaches and Programme Options for Adult English Language Learners, Teaching Language for Meaningful Purposes, Developing Listening and Speaking Skills, Developing Reading and Writing Skills, Planning for Teaching and Learning, Managing Learning in Adult English Language Classes, Selecting Instructional Materials and Resources, Assessing Learning and Teaching, and Standards and Accountability.

Chapters are clear and informative. They each include points to consider before starting the chapter, clear explanations, tasks, vignettes, tables of key terms and activities to help teachers to reflect on and apply what they’ve learned. Each chapter also includes a list of recommended reading, which is supplemented by additional information on the book’s website, enabling the author to provide teachers with the latest relevant resources. www.cambridge.org/Parrish

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