Musings about TESOL & A Look at Oxford Picture Dictionary (Monolingual English)

I am preparing to venture into the world of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). This fall I have volunteered to teach and tutor ESL classes for students through two different local community organizations. I am excited about this prospect but also a bit apprehensive because, although I’ve taught English in the past to adult learners, teaching English to students from foreign countries requires an approach that differs from the methods I’ve used in the classroom.  As I embark upon this new journey, I’d like to periodically share with you my experiences and an assessment of the multitude of ESL learning resources for both teachers and learners.

After browsing through numerous reference books for students who are at a beginner’s level in learning to speak English, I’ve decided to use the Oxford Picture Dictionary (Monolingual English) 2nd edition as the primary medium for tutoring.

Oxford Picture Dictionary Book Cover

The book is divided into 12 relevant thematic units, and through my research, I’ve learned that teaching through a thematic approach may help adults to learn and process the language much easier than teaching vocabulary and grammar in isolation.  The book provides colorful, graphics and related vocabulary to help students begin speaking and reading in English. I really like the visuals because besides helping to build learners’ vocabulary, they also create interest in the topic to be discussed and are useful for small group and pair activities.  Each unit contains suggested  conversational exercises for learners to provide them with the opportunity to apply and practice what they have learned.  Although the book does include some related grammatical rules, the explanations are minimal,  and I can see the need to supplement the grammatical component with the use of additional handouts to help students fully understand the complexity of the English language.  I can’t provide a review of the book at this point, since I have yet to use it, but the reviews I’ve read have been very positive, so I’m going to give the book a try.

Purchase from Amazon: Oxford Picture Dictionary (Monolingual English)

Another major reason I selected this book for teaching is that you can also purchase the following instructional books to help you develop lessons and activities:

Lesson Plans OPD Book Cover

Oxford Picture Dictionary Lesson Plans with Audio CDs (3): Instructor planning resource (Book, CDs, CD-ROM) for multilevel listening and pronunciation exercises. (Oxford Picture Dictionary 2e)

Oxford Picture Dictionary Classic Classroom Activities: Teacher resource of reproducible activities to help develop cooperative critical thinking and problem-solving skills.



Since I know I’m going to need all of the help I can get, I’m definitely going to use these supplemental resources!
 photo BigBangTheoryYesplease_zpsb99acb3b.gif



I’ve happily discovered there are an abundance of ESL books and online resources available and easily accessible, and the more I look, the more sources of information I find. However, the downside is that it can become overwhelming in deciding what to choose. And, yes at this point, I am still a bit overwhelmed.  Although I’ve been told that I do not need to know a student’s native language in order to teach ESL, I think this will pose additional communication challenges for me, at least initially. I will primarily work with Latino learners, and my Spanish is very rusty. To a degree it’s true that “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” because I’ve forgotten quite a lot. However, as I’ve recently been brushing up, I noticed that I’m picking up the language again much more quickly than I expected. All the rules and vocabulary are slowly coming back to me. (I can say hello, ask where are you from and how do I find the bathroom, without any problems, lol)

I have a feeling that no matter how much I prepare, I won’t really have a better understanding into I jump into this, and I hope I’ll land on my feet rather than my head.

group discsussion 5

If you can recommend any resources that have helped you to learn another language I’d love for you to share them with me. Also,  if you have any tips or strategies that have help you in teaching and/or learning, I’m eager to listen or rather read them. One thing, I know about myself is that I when I listen to someone speaking Spanish, I need for that person to speak slowly if I have any chance at all of comprehending what’s being said. I’m going to make a special effort to do this with the students I’m working with.


So until next time…

Hasta Luego

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