August 2021
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BOOK REVIEW: 50 STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Dr. Anna M. Burnley, Flagler College, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Herrell, A., & Jordan, M. (2020). 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Pearson.

For higher education professionals teaching pre-service educators (PSTs), the sixth edition of 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners (2020) delivers exemplary content while providing carefully detailed and thoroughly-described teaching strategies to fully support the PST who will teach both English as an additional language (EAL) and content areas to English learners (ELs). Teachers-in-training require structured teaching strategies for their TESOL toolkit and simultaneously need to know how to use those tools in practicum, internship, and future classroom settings; this undergraduate-level education-specific textbook fulfills both requirements.

The text contains 50 teaching strategies, bookended at the front by an alphabetical quick list of the strategies and a theoretical overview of concepts related to second language acquisition and EAL teaching. At the back, the textbook includes a multiple intelligences survey, grade-level language development profiles, and a glossary. A new and welcome aspect of the sixth edition is its inclusion of a much-needed index. The textbook is available in print and virtual formats and includes access to the Pearson Enhanced eText course materials. Virtual course materials include text passages, videos, hover-over definitions for bold-print vocabulary words, and multiple charts and tables; YouTube videos are noted in the print edition as links for learners who prefer to view them on their phone. Of particular interest to teacher educators are the data collection tools that track the percentage of class members who viewed the readings and the amount of time spent on them, as well collect data for students who don’t access at a high level. Also new to the sixth edition is the addition of color in the print text. Visual learners can more easily access sections within each strategy by noting that charts have a red bar as the header, textual subheadings are green, language development approximation behaviors are noted in purple, and teacher self-evaluation rubrics are in blue.

A critical aspect of the book is its relevancy to today’s fully online, hybrid, and in-person teaching formats. Throughout the text, references have been updated from the fifth edition, as has been content within each strategy. The fifth edition strategy #9, “Read-Aloud Plus,” (2016) has been replaced by “Choosing Technology Based on Student Needs: Advancing Progress in English Language and Content Learning,” (2020), which is entirely relevant in this era of online teaching and virtual learning. The formula from previous editions is followed for each strategy chapter and includes an introduction to the strategy, step-by-step instructions for delivery, vignettes describing the use of the strategy in believable classroom settings, concluding remarks, language development behaviors, and references; however, changes have kept the book fresh and very helpful. New to the sixth edition are additional charts in various chapters guiding PSTs to adjust their teaching to the language proficiency levels of ELs, a skill that can be fortified through the additional online resources. Although the fifth edition (2016) contained several “self-evaluation rubrics,” the sixth edition (2020) has added many more and has explicitly labeled them as “teacher self-evaluation rubrics,” to encourage reflective teaching practices.

This textbook is highly effective in demonstrating sheltering of instruction through following the chapter formula each time a new strategy is introduced. It promotes access through a methodical approach to the perspective that teachers and PSTs should be able to quickly locate and then easily implement teaching strategies specific to second or additional language teaching. The content is explicitly taught and therefore is highly relevant for PSTs, beginning teachers, and teachers acquiring the ESOL endorsement or fulfilling certificate courses. Although PSTs will purchase or rent multiple textbooks during their undergraduate careers, this book of strategies is one that they can keep and continue to utilize well into their professional career. Teachers-in-training and teachers in the field can benefit from recognizing the many strategies that work for all learners, including ELs, but the textbook is noteworthy in that it provides pathways allowing educators to shelter their instruction through modifications to already-understood teaching strategies. As an example, graphic organizers, a familiar mainstay in education, can be easily modified to support content and English language learning by ELs, and the books explain how to make this happen. Pre-service educators who are learning to write lesson plans can include specific strategies from the textbook to support sheltering of instruction while also learning implementation of the strategy.

References

Herrell, A., & Jordan, M. (2020). 50 Strategies for teaching English language learners. Pearson.

Herrell, A., & Jordan, M. (2016). 50 Strategies for teaching English language learners. Pearson.


Anna Burnley, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor and ESOL Specialist at Flagler College – Tallahassee where she teaches the ESOL Endorsement sequence. Dr. Burnley’s research focus is in pre-service educators’ perceptions of English Learners, particularly as it relates to teacher choices of childhood cross-cultural literature. Having an interest in global folktales and fairytales, her focus is on building the K-6 classroom library to promote inclusionary classroom practices for all learners. She has presented at conferences in Canada, England, Germany, Scotland, and the US.
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