Japanese designed site meant for starters in English language. In it are so many great links that are not only useful but also interesting to kids and other ESL learners. The reason for making it interesting is that kids may get bored if the material is not appealing to them. This site is maintained by TESL, the internet journal and the input is from teachers across the globe. This gives a lot of credibility to the site. Several books also have information meant for ESL learners and teachers.
One of them is Oxford’s (1990) Language Learning Strategies outlines what a teacher should know in his/her quest to make learners be competent in English as a second language. It gives all the strategies, their pros and cons, the appropriate level of learners’ cognitive abilities that are in tandem with each strategy and the methods of evaluation of the learners’ understanding after a new concept is initiated. The book cannot be said to fully cover all the participants in the learning environment. Teachers and what they should know have been heavily outlined but the learner has been considerably left out.
The ESL competence of the learner will by and large depend on what the teacher has to offer and not what the learner can do to improve his/her ESL competence. Mayer, in Weinstein (1988), Learning and Study Strategies: Issues in Assessment, Instruction and Evaluation tackles issues pertinent to holistic ESL learning namely assessing, instruction and evaluation. The learner needs to be instructed, assessed and evaluated on the much that a teacher has taught him/her. The book is therefore a masterpiece in enabling a well structured acquisition of ESL competence by a learner.
The focus here is on the learner and has he teacher as guide, an assessor and evaluator of the progress the learner has made after a given time. The kindergarten kids have been catered for those teaching them will gain the skills to lead them in becoming competent. Elly (`1991), in his book Acquiring Literacy in a Second Language maintains that other than using structured audio-lingual programs , children should be exposed to a variety of story books and motivated to read and share what they get with other children. This way, they are able to acquire the second language easily.
Their grasping of vocabularies becomes easy since they find them in the books they read as opposed to teaching them vocabularies non-contextually. The implication in Elly’s book is that practical as opposed to theoretical approach to ESL teaching and learning should be adopted. In terms therefore it content value, this book is invaluable. Boyle and Suzanne (1990) in Literary Scaffolds outline the strategies for firs and second language leaders and writers. It provides scaffolding activities which enhance successful intercourse with the print works and shows children how to read and write.
Scaffolding is discussed and how it enhances writing and reading. Teachers and students of ESL can find invaluable information in this book. Genishi (1989) in Observing the Second Language Learner: An example of Teachers Learning illustrates how a kindergarten teacher recorded her observation of some ESL learners thus making critical points on effective language teaching and learning. She observed, according to this book, that each learner followed his/her own timetable and a unique path in learning a second language.
It also states that it is important to enhance the activities and situations that provide an opportunity of talking by learners. Lastly, it emphasizes the central part the teacher plays in the language learning environment. This way, they are able to practice what they already know via exchanging with others. This book borrows from the Psychological aspect of behavioral learning whereby children learn from the environment and thus cutting a niche in being one of the best books for use by both teachers and college or University students learning or preparing to teach ESL.
In conclusion, the books used are generally relevant based on their individual assistance to learners and teachers of ESL although they most of them are a decade old. The sites too provide the necessary information for those teachers of ESL wishing to help kindergarten kids acquire ESL competence. Students of ESL in colleges and Universities will find these sites vital. References Starters in English language, (2005), available at http://www. aitech. ac. jp/~iteslj/ESL. html: retrieved on 12 Feb 2009.
Strategies for learning English as a second language, (2007), available at theenglishweb. com, retrieved on 13 Feb 2009. English as a second language, (2008), available at http://cla. univ-fcomte. fr/english/index_s. htm: retrieved on 14 Feb 2009. ESL for Kindergarten kids, (2006), available at http://home. earthlink. net/~mediadesigns/Calendar. html, retrieved on 12 Feb 2009 ESL teaching strategies, (2007), available at http://iteslj. org/Articles/Lessard-Clouston-Strategy. html retrieved on 10 Feb 2009.
Oxford, R. (1990): Language Learning Strategies. New York, Newbury House Mayer, R. (1988): Learning Strategies: An Overview, in Weinstein, C et. al (Eds. ) New York, Academic Press. Genishi, C. (1989) Observing the Second Language Learner: An Example of Teacher’s Learning New York, Prentice Hall Elly, W. B (1991): Acquiring Literacy in a Second Language, Baltimore. Collins Publishers Boyle, O. F & Suzanne, F. P. (1990): Literacy Scaffolds” Strategies for First and Second Language Readers and Writers. New York, McGraw Hill