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Source Reviewed:

"Adding English: A guide to teaching in multilingual classrooms" (Coelho, E., 2003)

Audience:

ESL and Subject-area teachers

Topic:

Promoting Inclusivity

Description:

“Adding English: A guide to teaching in multilingual classrooms” is a valuable resource for both ESL and subject area teachers. It provides guidance in creating inclusive classroom environment where second language learners can get short and long-term support while they are grappling with the mainstream curricula. Teachers are encouraged to analyze their beliefs about teaching and requested to adopt integrated approach that would allow them to attend both to the subject matter and the language issues. For that, they are offered multiple strategies and recommendations for designing activities that might contribute to the learners’ cognitive development, language awareness and ‘rules of use’ in the academic discourse. The book paints a ‘big picture’ of learning and teaching in a culturally and linguistically diverse classroom



Strengths:

The breadth of topics covered in the book is undoubtedly one of its strengths. Teachers might prioritize this resource over others because of the importance of the issues discussed, because of the depth of the elaboration of the strategies and techniques.

The clarity of the language, ways of presenting the material and the overall organization of the material in the book also contribute to its strengths.

The practical value of the book is enhanced by providing multiple references to other resources on the topics and supplying the criteria for making judicious choices.


Weaknesses:

None

Comments:

The resource might be considered as a mini-encyclopedia for ESL teachers and subject area teachers because it provides rich information on ‘how language works’, how language awareness can be raised in multilingual schools, how instruction can be organized and what strategies can be used to ensure students’ learning. The guide helps teachers to articulate the needs of the second language learners in a mainstream K-12 program and become sensitive to those needs. Multiple recommendations and strategies for creating inclusive curriculum and inclusive classroom also add value to the resource. Both ESL and subject area teachers might find the sections on how to provide guidance in reading and writing instructions especially revealing. Many would appreciate the chart on page 134 that presents ‘features of instructional text that pose special challenges for English learners’ (Coelho, p.135). Teachers might also benefit form guidance on designing special activities, or from multiple examples of scaffolding techniques and useful templates for organizing students’ responses in reflective journals or learning logs. Some teachers might be interested in the author’s recommendations on working on the research projects, which often present difficulties to second language learners. Special credit should be given to the criteria that the author proposes to use when choosing the resource materials; these criteria hold both for content-area readings and for non-print resources (with a slight adaptation). The value of this book can hardly be overestimated in terms of ensuring the classroom environment that supports language learners.



Your Recommendations:

I would strongly recommend to ESL and subject-area teachers to draw heavily on the author’s advice and recommendations. It might help in designing the inclusive activities and developing lesson plans that would address the needs of the diverse student population and create conducive learning environment.



Submitted by: Tetyana Ryaboshapko

 

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