This is a book review for Mastering ESL and Bilingual Methods: Differentiated Instruction for Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Students (with Myeducationkit) by Socorro G. Herrera and Kevin G. Murry.
A strong entry in the study of working with ESL and CLD students. It started with information on the various practices and then went into the theories behind it, ending in a chapter on professional practice. Personally I would have preferred the opposite approach; going from a higher level and then digging down into the practical aspects of applying the information. This is especially true since I do not approach this as a classroom teacher but rather as a technologist that wants to ensure that all the technology that I am a part of creating is grounded in what really works, not necessarily what is “cool” or “fun.”
I found this subject matter especially applicable to technology creation, as the main theme of this book is to ensure the culturally and linguistic diverse (CLD) students are properly motivated, encouraged, and accommodated to ensure that they learn both English and the subject matter. A true universal application has to keep this same concept in mind. As technologists we make the same mistake, and end up building products that appeal “to people like us” no matter what our anticipated audience may be. Instead, as Herrera and Murry talk about, we should be making sure that our work outcome will accommodate, encourage, motivate, and instruct as many people as possible, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background.
I was completely underwhelmed with the MyEducationKit from Pearson. It was difficult to use and most of the time would not render correctly in a browser. Several of the videos would not play in the browser as well, instead having to be downloaded and ran locally. With the YouTubes (or even HTML5) of the world this was ridiculous, and as a technology professional I found it almost personally offensive.
All in all – the book was good, the extra money for the education kit was a waste.