Book Review: Teaching Adult ESL


Reviewed by Clare Alsharif

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Title: Teaching Adult ESL: A Practical Introduction
Author: Betsy Parrish
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Year: 2004
Pages: 336

Teaching Adult ESL by Betsy Parrish, published by McGraw-Hill Education in 2004, is a practical guide to ESL teaching that covers many areas using easy-to-understand language and examples. The topics covered include but are not limited to theory, planning, developing specific skills, managing classes, selecting materials, and assessment. At the end of each chapter the author includes a list of recommended reading on the topic as well as useful websites. The book is presented to be used as a self-study guide or used in a group situation. The chapters start with a list of objectives, followed by the explanation of the topic with embedded graphics and exercises to help the reader evaluate their understanding of the material. At the end of the chapter, there is a key vocabulary list and exercises to practice applying the material.

The bulk of the book deals with a comparison of the communicative approach and content-based approach in practice. She discusses the different approaches and different types of programs, such as literacy, pre-academic, and job preparation. She concludes that most classes are a mixture of students and goals so teachers must use a mixture of approaches. Then she discusses developing communicative and content-based lessons that are appropriate for each individual class. She also discusses methods of error correction and factors to consider when correcting, such as fluency versus accuracy, student proficiency level, and order of acquisition. She includes meaningful examples of lessons.

Overall, this book was very informative and helpful. It is a practical guide to adult ESL teaching with many excellent examples and adaptable templates for use in a variety of classrooms. The author includes a lot of background information such as standards and accountability that are important for teachers to understand in order to meet the criteria of their individual programs. I would recommend this book to new ESL teachers to use as a guide when developing their teaching skills. More experienced teachers can also benefit from new teaching ideas and a look at ESL from several different perspectives including administrators and students.

Clare Alsharif is an ESL instructor at Rockford University, Rockford, Illinois.

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ITBE Link - Winter 2016 - Volume 43 Number 4