________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 14 . . . . March 16, 2001

cover The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook: ESL for Every Classroom Teacher.

Barbara Law and Mary Eckes.
Winnipeg, MB: Portage & Main Press/Peguis Publishers, 2000.
300 pp., pbk, $22.00.
ISBN 1-894110-53-6.

Subject Heading:
English language-Study and teaching as a second language.


Review by Patrick G. Mathews.

*** /4


This book has been written for those of you who are regular classroom teachers, both elementary and secondary, to give you a place to start, and enough knowledge and strategies to help you cope and to help your ESL students learn. There are things you can do, using the resources you have in the classroom and the community to help.
The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook, Second Edition, is an excellent update of a resource needed by a majority of classroom teachers both in Canada and the United States. There are several excellent resources for ESL teachers in schools (e.g., Kidd, R., & Marquardson, B., 2001. The Foresee Method: Teaching Language Through Content. Winnipeg, MB: Portage & Main Press, Peguis Publishers; ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students, 1997, Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Inc.; Mohan, B. A. 1986, Language and Content, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley). However, The More-Than-Just Surviving Handbook is the best (and, perhaps, the only) resource book for regular classroom teachers working with ESL students.

      Like the first edition, this second edition shows teachers how to marshal their wealth of pedagogical knowledge and skills and the resources of the school and community to assist ESL students "more than just survive" in our schools. The second edition moves from "whole language" to an "integrated approach," clarifies concepts, and provides additional teaching strategies in all sections (First Days, Testing and Placement, Language Learning, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Content Area Instruction, and Resources), but the biggest addition and improvement is the 25-page section on Literacy and the Four Skills. In this section, Law and Eckes provide teachers with knowledge and skills to help ESL students develop the single most important life-skill that our schools provide to our children and young people, literacy in English.

      Teachers of classrooms which include ESL students are well advised to begin with The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook, Second Edition, but not to stop there. For a rich resource of language and content teaching techniques see Kidd and Marquardson; for teaching practical and theoretical knowledge frameworks, see Mohan (1986); for principles and strategies for teaching ESL, see Brown (Brown, H.D. 2000. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Second Language Pedagogy, Second Edition. White Plains, NY: Addison, Wesley, Longman, Inc.); for helping students with English grammar, see Azar (Azar, B.S. 1999. Understanding and Using English Grammar, Third Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents), and Celce-Murcia and Hilles (Celce-Murcia, M., & Hilles, S. 1988. Techniques and Resources in Teaching Grammar. New York: NY: Oxford University Press.); and for helping students with English pronunciation, see Gilbert (Gilbert, J.B. 1993. Clear Speech: Pronunciation and Listening Comprehension in North American English, Second Edition. New York: NY: Cambridge University Press).


Pat Mathews is an Associate Professor of Education, specializing in ESL/Bilingual Education, at the University of Manitoba. He is Co-editor (with Dr. Sandie Kouritzin) of the TESL Canada Journal.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364