Resources Worth Reading

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I’m sharing 5 teaching resources I have read and often revisit. They have helped me consolidate theoretical knowledge with my teaching practice (praxis). My hope is that in your response to this post, you will add a resource that you feel has helped you shape your teaching. The list is in alphabetical order:

  1. Daniels, H., Cole, M., & Wertsch, J.V. (2007). The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky. New York: Cambridge.

In 14 chapters, the editors of this book include the voices of the top experts in Sociocultural Theory (SCT), emphasizing the process of human development as defined by the social, cultural, and historical determinants of each individual.  If one chapter is to be read, it is Chapter 12 titled “Pedagogy”, written by Harris Daniels, one of the editors in this book.  This chapter focuses on the application to SCT theory and gives clear examples of a variety of applied research on how to go about teaching using SCT, including reciprocal teaching, proleptic instruction, instructional conversations, harnessing funds of knowledge, the fifth dimension, and third space pedagogy.  This is an excellent book for anyone in the field of second language education and for anyone teaching with diversity because it offers concrete tools on strategies educators can use in order to engage students in learning.

  1. Fulcher, G., & Davidson, F. (2007). Language testing and assessment: An advanced resource book. New York: Routledge.

This textbook is a must for any second language educator who wants to learn about how to assess second language learners. The book is divided in three sections: A. Theory; B. Case studies, and peer reviewed articles; and C. ‘Hands-on’ practical exercises to support learning.  Topics include the history of second language assessment, theoretical underpinnings and frameworks, rubrics, validity, reliability, and fairness.  Activities in section (C) are excellent because they challenge second language educators to reflect on their assessment practices while exploring ways to improve on their assessment techniques.   It also has an accompanying  website that reinforces concepts using videos, expert interviews, and podcasts.

  1. Jenkins, H. (2010). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Building the field of digital media and learning.  Illinois: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

In this 72 page document, Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains how medial literacy can and should be incorporated in the curriculum and what types of skills instructors and students need to have in order to benefit from the many affordances digital media brings to the teaching and learning landscape.   The chapters in this paper cover topics such as collective participation, how to achieve it, ethical considerations, core literacy everyone should have, and a comprehensive list of sources for anyone wanting to learn more on this topic.

  1. McKeachie, W. J., & Gibbs, G. (2011). Teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (college teaching). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.  

This strategy-driven book provides excellent advice and tips that are based on sound educational research, offering educators the tools to help their students benefit from their learning experience while in school.   The advice and tips in this book make this book the Chicken soup for the soul for academia, making it a book worth having and reading.  Topics of special interest include college/university culture, lesson preparation, encouraging class discussion, and assessment.

  1. Swain, M., Kinnear, P., & Steinman, L. (2010). Sociocultural theory in second language education: An introduction through narratives.  Toronto, Canada:  Multilingual Matters.

This book provides an easy to understand overview of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory (SCT) through the use of narratives and case studies from the point of view of second language educators and students.  In 7 chapters, the authors explain all aspects of Sociocultural Theory:  mediation, zone of proximal development, voicing and languaging, activity theory, and dynamic assessment and include an eighth chapter with 2 case studies that the reader is left to analyze by following the theoretical underpinnings of SCT.  This resource is bound to update anyone interested in the field of second language acquisition on the latest pedagogical considerations required to understand second language learners.

Now it’s your turn. What book or books do you recommend?

Hi, my name is Cecilia. I love taking part in good brain awakening discussions. Blogging, I find, lends itself for that. I also believe in sharing my skills through scholarly practice, which is why I write regularly and have presented at several conferences, including TESL Ontario, TESL Toronto, CALL, and at Seneca College. My M.A. in applied linguistics along with my skills and experience have led me to my current position at Centennial College, where I teach English and ESL in the School of Advancement. I'm truly passionate about what I do: teaching, writing, creative expression, and helping my students (both L1 and L2) gain agency and take control of their own learning. Thank you for your readership and I look forward to reading and answering your comments. You can find me on Twitter @capontedehanna


7 thoughts on “Resources Worth Reading”

  1. Thanks for those recommendations. The first one sounds most intriguing to me. I’ll see if I can get it on interlibrary loan soon. My “go to” books include:
    *Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching by S. Thornbury and L. Meddings
    *Radical Presence: Teaching as Contemplative Practice by Mary Rose O’Reilley
    *Teaching Tenses by Rosemary Aiken, and…
    *Teaching American English Pronunciation by Avery and Ehrlich
    I’m also very excited to have recently purchased Uncovering Grammar by Scott Thornbury. Now if I could just find more time to read from it each evening!

  2. “Language testing and assessment: An advanced resource book” is available online here [link removed]
    I prefer “Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices”
    by H. Douglas Brown, Priyanvada Abeywickrama

    1. Hi Jason,
      Thanks so much for these resources. In order to adhere to stricter copyright guidelines, I have had to provide readers with only the title of the resources and their respective authors. Because the link you have provided does not come from the copyright owners of the material, we cannot house the link here. For those who would like access to the resource, they would have to pay for the download from the copyright holders. We apologize for the edits, but we must be respectful and maintain professional integrity.
      The two resources provided in the comments are
      Brown, H. D., & Abeywickrama, P. (2010). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Person Education.
      Fulcher, G., & Davidson, F. (2007). Language testing and assessment: An advanced resource book. New York, NY: Routledge.

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