Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms (TESMC)
Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms (TESMC) is meant as a starter for people teaching ESL students – something to dip their toes in. It can’t push people too far and too fast because these people have probably not thought of language at any time other than when they talk about spelling or when they look at students’ writing (and/or speaking) and tear their hair out!
TESMC sets out to answer questions such as:
- Who is an EAL learner, what do they know, what do they bring?
- Which theoretical understandings would be of most benefit to thinking about helping students?
- How can we support students in speaking in the classroom and what are the demands of listening?
- What are the ways of making meaning and generic patterns in written texts?
- What are some language resources for organising texts at the paragraph and whole text level?
- What are the two main resources students need to develop in order to make abstract and technical meanings?
How Language Works (HLW)
How Language Works (HLW) deals with developing an understanding of the role of language in learning, the patterns in language and understanding not only about language but why we do things the way we do them in language and what the options are. Each aspect touched on in TESMC is developed deeply in HLW.
HLW also covers things not touched on in TESMC and this includes more examples from literary texts and interpersonal language, ie. the language of uncertainty and obligation and how one is respectful in English.
HLW sets out to answer questions such as:
- How is what we do in our lives, especially schooling, achieved through language?
- What are the patterns of language at all levels that allow us to do that? These levels are at the whole-text level, the paragraph and sentence level, the clause level and the group/phrase level.
- How do we express the material things we do, how do we express our thoughts and likes, or express what we want to say or assert, and then, as our lives become more about issues than utilitarian existence, then how do we express those abstract meanings? How are these related to schooling and what each discipline focuses on – in the younger years, the middle years and the senior years of schooling?
- As we go through school, we are expected to not only be more technical and abstract but our texts (spoken and written) become longer and longer so what resources in the language have evolved for us to do that?
- How do we connect what we say at the clause level to how meanings are organised at the sentence and paragraph levels and then how are they connected to the whole text level? What options do I have? Which options are highly valued? How can students develop those options? How can this understanding help my reading as well as my writing?
- What kind of person am I when I am interacting with others in the various situations I find myself? What resources in the language exist for me to construct subjective or objective meanings? How do people manipulate others? How can I identify bias?
- Finally, how do I put all this together in the designing of my lessons and curriculum? And can we as a school work together to provide continuity and the support that students need from the time they enter our charge to the time they graduate?
If you’re still unsure of which course is right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.