Vol. 6. No. 3 — December 2002
Implementing the ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students through Teacher Education
Marguerite Ann Snow, (Ed.) (2000)
Alexandria: VA: TESOL.
Pp. x + 278
Following the educational reform of the mid-90s to develop standards for K-12 curricular areas, ESL educators realized that their curriculum was to be left out of the standardization process. ESL Standards were thus born out of this lacuna. The goals and standards for Pre-K-12 ESL students were first published by TESOL in 1997. Since that time, a number of supplemental texts have come out which serve to clarify and illustrate the standards in action (Short 1997), or to position them in the context of an area of teacher training, such as professional development (Short et al. 2000) or assessment (TESOL 2001). The purpose of this edited volume is to assist both in-service and pre-service teachers, as well as teacher trainers in implementing the standards in their respective classes.
The ESL standards consist of three primary goals each with three accompanying standards. The main goals are the following: 1) To use English to communicate in social settings; 2) To use English to achieve academically in all content areas; and 3) To use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways (p. x). The standards added to each goal serve to specify how each goal is to be carried out. These main goals serve as the framework for the ESL standards- the central focus of the text at hand.
A variety of authors have contributed to this volume, including those who played a large role in not only the drafting and creating of the standards, such as Deborah Short and Emily G—mez, but also teacher educators and researchers who have worked to integrate these standards into teacher education programs such as Marguerite Ann Snow, Margo Gottlieb, and Nancy Cloud.
The book centers around a range of themes dealing with the implementation of the standards. The history of the standards, diversity in schools, the role of SLA, curriculum development, and assessment are some of the main issues addressed in the volume. [-1-]
Cloud introduces the standards in the prologue of the volume. She first highlights the necessary relationship between educational standards and reform and the standards that dictate students’ expected knowledge and skills. Then, Cloud delves into the issue of incorporating TESOL’s standards into teacher preparation courses. She discusses ways in which relevant TESOL-produced literature concerning the use and implementation of the goals and standards can be integrated into both theoretical and methodological components of ESL pedagogy. Finally, Cloud presents her reader with useful Internet resources for research on ESL Standards. In sum, this preliminary section serves as an overall quite practical and utilitarian prologue.
In chapter 1 Kuhlman and Murray address the crucial matter of diversity in schools. They support their claim that school populations are much more protean (in terms of language, cultural, and ethnic diversity) than before with both facts and figures. Program models are discussed with respect to the types of populations that can be served by the particular models. The authors also outline types of teacher preparation for those who wish to concentrate in second language or multicultural education. An informative synopsis of issues present in the U.S. educational setting was provided in this section, as well as were useful references and glosses given, however, the focus fell squarely on the U.S. A more inclusive vision would perhaps serve to draw the interests of more educators from similar, diverse settings.
G—mez traces the history and development of the standards in chapter 2. She further addresses the future trajectory of the now termed ESL Standards and Assessment project. In the third chapter, Gersten and Hudelson also trace a history of sorts. They review the major theoretical developments that have underscored and informed TESOL’s beliefs and practices since its relatively recent inception. They present SLA theories in vogue and discuss ‘canonical’ literature of the field since 1966. New directions of the field are also discussed in this comprehensive literature review of SLA in TESOL.
In Chapter 4, Short describes how the ESL standards are implemented in curriculum development. She discusses how the ASCRIBER (alignment, standards setting, curriculum development, retooling, implementation, benchmarking, evaluation, and revision) model can and has been integrated into curriculum.
Chapters 5, 6, and 7 deal with assessment and the implementation of the standards. Katz reviews important developments in the history of testing and assessment and outlines four vital components of the assessment process. These include: planning assessments, collecting and recording information, analyzing and interpreting assessment information, and using information for reporting and decision making. She stresses that students, parents, educators, as well as administrators are an integral part of the current paradigm for assessment. Gottlieb describes the advantages and disadvantages of large-scale (and I might add, high-stakes) testing for ESOL students. Not surprisingly, she concludes that this kind of testing is likely not the best option for language learners. Performance based and portfolio assessments are suggested as options which will better serve ESL students’ needs, while adhering to the tenets of the standards. Malone moves into the classroom in chapter 7 and provides examples of how the standards can be applied to guide classroom assessments.
Hamayan concludes the edited volume with a description of how the standards are disseminated and to whom. She details purposes and ways in which the standards can be put forth for use by teacher trainers, educators and support personnel in the school system and elsewhere, pre-service teachers, and by parents and community members.
This text provides an overall quite practical and informative guide for understanding, implementing, and using the ESL standards. Laid out as both a student text and a reference, it includes a variety of additional resource information such as websites and an extensive glossary, as well as a number of teacher tasks to examine issues in further detail.
As earlier mentioned in regard to one of the chapters, I feel that the volume would be better served with a more international perspective. While the volume indicates that the ESL standards came about in the U.S. in response to the problem of a gap in the area of standardization coupled with an increasing population of ELLs, they do not acknowledge that many nations are also dealing with similarly diversifying populations. As TESOL is an international organization, it should try to include its international readership; the issue of standards implementation is one that is pertinent to many. [-2-]
This volume is a very readable resource book for pre-service and in-service teachers alike and would be a beneficial addition to the professional library of most TESOL practitioners. Due to its informative, useful, and comprehensive perspective, I therefore recommend this text to any teacher who would like to develop a wider knowledge base with regard to TESOL standards and their implementation.
Short, D.J., Gómez, E.L., Cloud, N., Katz, A., Gottlieb,M., Malone, M., with Hamayan, E., Hudelson, S., & Ramirez, J. (2000). Training others to use the ESL standards: A professional development manual. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
TESOL. (1997). ESL standards for pre-K-12 students. Alexandria, VA: Author.
TESOL. (2001).Scenarios for ESL standards-based assessment. Alexandria, VA: Author.
The University of Texas at San Antonio
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