FL Teaching bibliography

Before I forget, I want to mention a book I don’t own; it’s called Focus on Form by Dougherty and Williams. It might drive tprs people crazy but it is good b/c the top researchers in SLA, the ones who are skeptical of Krashen, talk about why it is important to highlight the forms aka grammar features of L2. Out of many SLA contributors, only one, DeKeyser, defends explicit grammar instruction. All the rest make it clear they are not talking about decontexualized language, let along cognitive code instruction.
OK. To start with, I think Frank Smith’s Joining the Literacy Club is essential. It is on how kids learn L1 and how they learn to read. His views on ed and learning are eye-opening and Krashen and he cite each other a lot.
For ed in general, I don’t think you can beat anything by Alfie Kohn.
Krashen started this. I don’t mean that others weren’t working toward what we call a communicative model of language acquisition, but he publicized it through his Monitor Theory, later known as the Input Hypothesis (they’re actually two separate hypotheses of 5 he laid out).
When you read his The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications OR
Effective SLA (the booklet he puts out at his presentations)
Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use where he reviews lots of research
you’ll realize that most people mischaracterize what he says. He does NOT say don’t teach grammar (that’s the monitor but it is of limited use). Input is not just oral or colloquial language (a presenter I wrote about on moretprs portrayed communicative teaching in those terms). And he does not say L2 learning is the same as L1 learning.
The classic that began to move the field and bring Krashen’s ideas to the fore was Alice Omaggio-Hadley, Teaching Language in Context. I think it’s in its 3rd or 4th ed.
Newer but excellent in its presentation of every area of fl teaching is Shrum & Glisan’s The Teacher’s Handbook. Susie and I just discussed Glisan. These authors present the whole field of fl teaching in a very broad way, although they clearly favor a Vygotskian conceptualization of learning. You’ll find the PACE model presented well in that volume. You’ll find a history of SLA theory plus their outcomes in classroom practice.
An old book (I have the 3rd ed, 1988) is Kenneth Chastain’s Developing Second-language Skills. I like very much the way he surveys the field and it’ll give you a feel for how various theories see the SLA process.
Another major figure whose book surveys the whole field is David Nunan. His Second Language Teaching & Learning has the advantage of being more recent (1999).
Another major figure is Bill VanPatten. Along with James F. Lee, he wrote a book, Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen, that allowed the field to move away from Krashen and toward more of a focus on introducing grammar features. It fits well, IMHO, with the focus on form idea. It would not match up too well with tprs b/c where tprs does grammar pop-ups, VanPatten’s “structured output” puts the grammatical features in the foreground and designs lessons aroud them.
Allied with VanPatten are Lee and Wynn Wong. VanPatten’s From Input to Output summarizes his approach nicely; Wong’s Input Enhancement tells how to bring the grammar in context into the classroom; Lee’s Tasks and Communicating in Language Classrooms bases instruction on task work.
All the strategies people use in SLA seem to be covered by Rebecca Oxford’s Language Learning Strategies. It is considered a major work in the field also.
Full of wonderful ideas for teaching fl, Helene Curtain’s Languages and Children: Making the Match is esp good for those focusing on younger children. I like the way she takes into account the developmental mental stage kids are at.
Related and a bit on the edge is the old Caring and Sharing in the FL Class by Gertrude Moskowitz. Right out of the 60s, it sees the classroom as a place of nuturance and personal growth. I came of age as a counselor in that era and really like it.
The ACTFL standards for each language are given in detail in ACTFL’s Standards for FL Learning in the 21st Century. The basis for the 5 Cs is covered and much other rationale is given.
A book I just liked – my copy is loaded with marginal notes I made in it – is A Philosophy of SLA by Marysia Johnson. I don’t know – I just liked it.
Specific areas of development like writing, reading, etc. have their own books but I can’t think of one particular one I would recommend. They all have good ideas. However, vocabulary development has one guy who has done a ton of work: I.S.P. Nation. I have his Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. I cannot vouch for it b/c I haven’t read it. In looking through it, it seems he is big on memorizing vocab in a decontextualized manner. I don’t know, but he does survey all the ways vocab acquisition has been tried and, as we know, vocab acquisition is a huge stumbling block for a lot of our students.
There are many other books I read. I often cite them as examples of how not to teach a fl or as examples of how the standard grammar-driven paradigm of this country is by no means the only approach teachers have used in the past. One example is an old Funk & Wagnalls book called New Spanish Self Taught, part of the Language Phone Series. Date – 1952. When you read the preface, it’s right out of Krashen.
Another one supports Krashen’s contention that his Natural Approach is the real traditional method with grammar-translation, ALM, & cognitive code being the upstarts. It was written about 1888 and is all Comprehensible Input! No grammar – you just listen and speak.
Well, I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any special interests and I will see what I have or know about.

Sept. 19, 2015 update – Vivian Cook has a couple of books out. He is critical of Krashen and has a British slant on things but he covers a lot in two volumes: Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition and SLA and Language Teaching.

One Comment

  1. Pat Barrett says:

    I own it now (8/11/17)

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