Five ESL Mentors You Must Meet
Posted by Issa and Published on Apr 04, 2013
Like any loyal fan, I'm really excited to share with you the ESL mentors whom I admire most. I consistently follow them online for their transforming and inspiring ESL teaching talks and research breakthroughs. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Stephen Krashen. Every serious ESL teacher must never skip Stephen's free online book Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Krashen dreams of an ideal world where second language teaching methodology is informed and influenced by Second language acquisition (SLA) theory, applied linguistics research and ESL teachers' ideas and intuitions. He succinctly puts his SLA theory in the following lines:
"The best methods are therefore those that supply "comprehensible input" in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are "ready", recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production."
2. Rod Ellis. I don't think Rod was opposing Krashen's theory of acquisition when he suggested guiding principles in Second Language instruction. Rod is mainly concerned with how teaching practice can facilitate language learning. He came up with task-based approach, where he wrote tasks focusing specifically in speaking and writing. He formulated 10 intriguing Principles in Second Language Teaching every ESL teacher should reflect upon.
3. Scott Thornbury. I fell in love with this man in print. His amazingly slim yet info-packed books in our university library were my favorite reads - books that I consumed not to pass a test or excel in my class but simply out of amusement. Scott is my ESL teaching rock star. If you want to know why I like him so much, you can check out some of his books and works on this site.
4. Judy Gilbert. Finally a lady on the list. Judy might have that smoker's voice but she was the first ESL teacher to address the problem of teaching pronunciation to ESL learners. Although I have read pronunciation books before (by Marianne Celce-Murcia and Ann Cook, respectively), Judy's approach to teaching pronunciation is truly refreshing. Check out her free Teaching Pronunciation booklet from Cambridge University Press.
5. Jose Carillo. The only Filipino on my list of ESL mentors. Carillo was introduced to me by my PNU professor, Merry Ruth Gutierez, a consistently animated and eloquent English professor from Philippine Normal University. Anyway, in Jose Carillo's book, "English Plain and Simple", he will treat you into intellectually-stimulating ESL discussions, I promise. Don't forget to check out his blog.
As a plus, you can look them up on youtube and watch them talk. Be mentally prepared to absorb their wisdom.