The purpose of this select annotated bibliography is to direct novice (and experienced) instructors to key works that are accessible and written for a broad audience of language teachers.
Cocky, Sheila W., ed. Teaching World Languages: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. National Capital Language Resource Center, 2014-15.
Available online free of charge in English, Arabic, and Chinese.
Doughty, Catherine J., and Michael H. Long. The Handbook of Language Teaching. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.
This Handbook is an invaluable reference guide to language teaching. The impressive team of international and interdisciplinary contributors offer a comprehensive and unique breadth of coverage which is divided into eight sections: An overview to language teaching; Social, Political, and Educational Contexts of Language Teaching; Psycholinguistic Underpinnings of Language Learning; Program Design; Course Design and Materials Writing; Teaching and Testing; Teacher Education; Assessing and Evaluating Instruction.
Lightbown, Patsy, and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
A very clear presentation of the main theories of language acquisition, considering their bearing on language teaching and thus helping teachers assess the merits of different methods and textbooks. It discusses the effects of factors such as intelligence, personality, and age, examines the characteristics of learner language (the learner’s imperfect version of the foreign language), and gives advice for best practice .
Van Patten, Bill, and Alessandro Benati . Key Terms in Second Language Acquisition. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010.
This book explains terms that language teachers and students of Second Language Acquisition are likely to encounter working or studying in this field. It contains clear and concise summaries of key issues in SLA. There is also a section with a list of key readings in SLA to direct the reader toward important foundational articles and books.
Methodologies and Approaches
Kumaravadivelu, B. Understanding Language Teaching. From Method to Postmethod. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2006.
In this book Kumaravadivelu presents a well-documented history of the most prominent language teaching methods up to date. In spite of its in-depth content, it is an effortless read that examines the field’s current transition from method to post-method and calls our attention to the importance of the relationship between theory, research, and practice.
Larsen-Freeman, Diane, and Marti Anderson. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
This extremely useful, jargon-free little book devotes each of its chapters to a different language teaching method or approach. After a brief introduction, the authors describe a sample lesson in great detail, and then show how individual features of the class correlate to a principle of the method. They then analyze those principles in terms of their goals, the roles ascribed to teacher and students, use of L1 and L2, etc. and list and review the techniques favored by the method. It is an excellent, concrete introduction to the main methods and approaches that have left their mark on the field of language pedagogy.
Focus on the Learner
Rubin, Joan and Irene Thompson. How to Be a More Successful Language Learner. 2nd ed. Boston: Heinle and Heinle,1994.
Although the title of this slim volume suggests that its target audience is the learner, language instructors will find its straightforward presentation of the many factors (psychological, cultural, practical, etc.) involved in second-language acquisition extremely valuable. Furthermore, as the authors present learners with the tools and strategies that can help them to take charge of their learning, they also suggest a quantity of ways for teachers to facilitate their students’ progress.
Pachler, Norbert , Michael Evans, Ana Redondo, and Linda Fisher. Learning to Teach Foreign Languages in the Secondary School, A Companion to School Experience. 4th ed. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2014.
Very useful to the beginning foreign language instructor. Although it was primarily written as a textbook for beginning high school teachers in Great Britain, it is useful for any new foreign language instructor. It is full of tips on what to do and what not to do as a new teacher. It gives an overview of different teaching methods and pedagogical approaches, but the main focus is on the practice of day-to-day teaching. Useful chapters include, for instance, Teaching in the target language, Planning and reflecting on classroom practice, Teaching receptive skills, and Teaching productive skills. Every chapter gives theoretical background, practical applications, examples from the teaching practice, and tasks and assignments for the student teacher. The chapters end with a summary and a list of books for further reading.
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