Issues in Teaching Speaking Skills to Adult ESOL Learners

This resource offers an excellent review of the primary issues involved in assessing and furthering adult ESOL learners’ oral skills. 

Bailey, Kathleen
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Informational Material
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This resource offers an excellent review of the primary issues involved in assessing and furthering adult ESOL learners’ oral skills. It also highlights the need to intentionally teach speaking skills as they are necessary for success in the workplace, to achieve citizenship, and to generally function at higher levels in society. The author provides a thorough review of how language structures impact English language acquisition, why oral skills are important, differences between written and oral skills, communicative competence (including an appendix delineating the NRS Speaking Skills and Competencies), shifts in language teaching theory and methodology, effective practices and standards, types of assessment, and curricular issues. Also included, is a section on implications for practice, research, and policy. An additional bonus is the extensive reference list.

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What the experts say

This exceptional resource is easy to read and provides a useful, sound and dynamic way of considering this key aspect of teaching English. It deserves to be widely read. It speaks to many audiences: teachers, administrators and policy makers. It makes deep and thoughtful points about teaching speaking skills, particularly, the need for direct instruction in spoken English. Too often ESL instruction has an academic bias and focuses most extensively on reading and writing while leaving the need for spoken English relatively unattended to. It also contains a critique of current instructional practice, the lack of available resources, and the inattention to credentialing and staff development of ESL teachers. Whether the reader is new to the field or an experienced professional, there is useful, thought-provoking information here about the components of spoken English and the different language teaching methods that have evolved over the years from the Grammar-Translation method to the Language Awareness method.

The information provided is both theoretical and practical. Bailey gives concrete examples and then applies the information so meaning is explicit to the reader. The thorny issue of assessing spoken English is confronted in fresh ways.

Sections are self-contained and would make excellent discussion material for teacher study circles. Bailey takes a proactive stand on teacher preparation and professional development setting out a course of action for institutions concerned with turning out well-prepared teachers.

The resource is well documented: many studies are cited and the reference list is extensive. The author has brought a lot of experience and research to bear on this subject.

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