Becoming a Language Teacher A Practical Guide to Second Language Learning and Teaching

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-29
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Becoming a Language Teacher, by respected author and experienced language teacher Elaine K. Horwitz, gives pre- and in-service teachers the skills they need to meet the needs of all language learners in today's diverse classrooms-while encouraging them to develop a personal approach to language teaching. Using a warm, supportive tone, the author clearly explains the fundamental concepts of second language acquisition and language teaching. A much-needed resource at a time when it is critical for all mainstream teachers to focus on language, this guide describes how to develop language for academic needs as well as for communication purpose and addresses the latest trends in language teaching.

Author Biography

Elaine Horwitz is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She was born in Washington, DC, and attended the Montgomery County, MD, public schools where she studied French and Spanish. She began her language teaching career in seventh grade when other students would ask her to explain what her teacher was saying.


Professor Horwitz earned her BA at the University of Maryland at College Park and her MA and PhD in Second Language Learning and Teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, she was a Title VII Bilingual Education Fellow and supervised foreign language, ESL, and bilingual student teachers.


She first taught French, Spanish, and English in the Prince George’s County, MD, public schools and later went on to teach at University High School in Urbana, IL, and as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Illinois. Before moving to the University of Texas, she taught courses in French, language teaching methodology, and bilingual education at the State University College of New York at Buffalo.


At the University of Texas, Professor Horwitz is Director of the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education and teaches courses in language teaching methodology, second language acquisition, language testing, and second language research methods. She is well known for her research on language anxiety and student and teacher beliefs about language learning. In addition to numerous scholarly articles and chapters, she is the co-editor with Dolly Young of Language Anxiety: From Theory and Practice to Classroom Implications. Her assessment tools, the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale and the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory, are widely used to help teachers and researchers better understand the needs of second language learners. She has been an invited lecturer and consultant on improving language teaching throughout the world.


Table of Contents


Part I • What Do Language Teachers Think About?


1    What Should I Know about Language Learners and Language Teaching Settings?      

Types of Language Learning Settings   

Learner Characteristics

Younger Learners and Stages of Cognitive Development           

Identity and Language Learning


2        What Should I Know about Second Language Acquisition?    

Theories of Second Language Acquisition        

The Critical Period Hypothesis 

How the Theories Differ on Important Language Teaching Issues          

Implications for Language Teaching     


     What Should I Know about Language Teaching Methodologies?        

Language Teaching Methods   

What Is the Best Language Teaching Method? 

Content-Based, Sheltered-Immersion, Learner-Centered, and Task-Based Approaches to Language Teaching         

From Teacher-Centered to Learner-Centered Approaches         


Part II • How Do You Teach a Language?    


4        What Should I Know about Teaching Listening?         

The Importance of Listening Comprehension     

Obstacles to Teaching Listening Comprehension          

The Listening Process 

Some Guidelines for Developing Listening Activities     

Activity Ideas   

Assessing Listening Comprehension    


5        What Should I Know about Teaching Speaking?         

The Importance of True Communication in the Language Classroom     

Obstacles to Teaching Speaking          

The Development of Speaking Ability    

Some Guidelines for Developing Speaking Activities     

Activity Ideas   

Assessing Speaking    


6        What Should I Know about Teaching Reading?           

The Importance of Reading      

The Reading Process  

Types of Second Language Reading    

Learning to Read in a Second Language           

Types of Reading Materials      

Helping Students Develop Effective Reading Strategies

ESL Teachers and Content Reading     

Some Guidelines for Teaching Reading

Activity Ideas   

Assessing Reading Comprehension     


7        What Should I Know about Teaching Writing?

The Writing Process    

Types of Second Language Writing      

Helping Students Develop Effective Writing Strategies  

Some Guidelines for Teaching Writing  

Activity Ideas   

Assessing Writing       


8        What Should I Know about Teaching Academic English in Content Classes?            

The Development of Academic Language         

Generation 1.5 and Transnational Students       

Scaffolding, Contextualized Input, and Thematic Units   

Promoting Second Language Development in Content Classes  

Academic Literacy        166

Integrating Language Skills Using Thematic Units and Task-Based Activities    

Some Guidelines for Teaching Language through Content         

Activity Ideas   

The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA)

Assessing Language in Content Classes          


Part III • How Do I Know What to Teach?    


9        How Do I Assess Language Learning?


Issues in Language Testing     

Testing Approaches     

Testing for a Variety of Purposes         

Testing the Standards  

The TOEFL, the ACTFL OPI, the IELTS, and the TOEIC           


10        How Do I Plan My Classes?   

Planning for Your Students       

Common Language Teaching Activities

Differentiating Instruction and Supporting Learner Autonomy


Part IV • Where Do I Go from Here?            


11      So, Am I Now a Language Teacher?  

Thinking of Yourself as a Language Teacher    

Becoming Open to New Ideas about Language and Language Teaching

Becoming a Better Language Teacher  

Your Future as a Language Teacher     

Beginning Your Journey as a Language Teacher          


Appendix A: The Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI ) Revised ESL Version       

Appendix B: Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS)        

Appendix C: Teacher Foreign Language Anxiety Scale (TFLAS)




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