Teaching ESL to Adults: Classroom Approaches in Action - New American Horizons Teacher Training Videos

Teaching ESL to Adults: Classroom Approaches in Action is a series of twelve videos aimed to support the development of ESL teachers.

New American Horizons Foundation
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
New American Horizons Foundation
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material

The New American Horizons Foundation aims to support the development of ESL teachers through the creation of a series of training videos, Teaching ESL to Adults: Classroom Approaches in Action. The project team includes MaryAnn Florez and Betsy Parrish, who are leaders in adult ESL teacher training. 

There are 12 videos in the series, 8 of which focus on a topic and include clips from a specific class and teacher. Additionally, four themed videos draw on clips from a variety of the eight core classes to illustrate a particular theme. Each video is approximately 30 minutes in length. In all 12 videos, voiceovers from experts in the field and clips from interviews with the teachers connect research-based principles with the classroom practices shown in the video. 

The eight videos topics are:

  • Lesson Planning for Life Skills
  • Building Literacy With Adult Emergent Readers
  • Growing Vocabulary With Beginning Learners
  • Working With a Multilevel Class
  • Developing Listening Skills With High-Intermediate Learners
  • Teaching Grammar in Real-Life Contexts
  • Cultivating Writing Skills at the Intermediate Level
  • Developing Reading Skills for Intermediate/Advanced Learners

Themed videos featuring multiple classes are:

  • Assessing Learning in the Adult ESL Classroom
  • Tasks to Promote Critical Thinking and Learning Skills
  • Effective Grouping Strategies in the Adult ESL Classroom
  • Tasks to Develop Oral Skills: From Accuracy to Fluency
Required Training

None, but as with all descriptions of research and practice, it is best to watch and discuss this resource with professional colleagues.

What the experts say

The videos in this series are an extremely valuable resource for the field. In these videos, the authors have identified questions that teachers often ask and have created video lessons to address them. Each 30-minute video contains a mixture of professional wisdom, connection to research-based principles, and examples of classroom practice.  The videos are both informative and engaging.

Classes filmed for this video series include beginning, intermediate, intermediate/advanced, and mixed-level classes. The videos feature classes taught by eight different teachers, each with a different teaching style. The variety helps to illustrate that there is no one “best” teaching approach and that good instruction can occur using many different teaching styles.

All teachers of adult ESL will find information in this video series. For example, novice teachers will see what different kinds of classes and students look like, as well as how to teach different skills, including life skills, grammar, listening, etc. Experienced teachers may find a new technique, such as strategies for working with multilevel classes or how to help emergent readers develop literacy for the first time. Any group of teachers interested in collaborative professional learning can use any of the videos (with or without supplemental readings) as a springboard for many different kinds of conversations about teaching.

There is almost no limit to what professional developers can do with the videos in the series. The eight topical videos provide a focus to answer common teachers’ questions while the four themed videos illustrate one issue over multiple classes, such as assessing learning or grouping strategies. In addition, the series is a resource that teachers can watch together and discuss, increasing their shared understanding of teaching and learning and how both play out in the classroom. 

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