In this immensely useful book, Nadia Prokopchuk has drawn on her many years of experience as a bilingual teacher, curriculum writer, English-as-an-Additional Language program manager, and university teacher educator, to distill the essential knowledge base required for teachers to support second language learners across the curriculum. The content of the eight modules is presented concisely, using engaging visuals and links to relevant video resources. The major focus of the modules is on the instructional initiatives that teachers can implement in their classrooms, but the rationale for these initiatives is consistently and lucidly rooted in the theory and research that form the knowledge base for effective second language instruction.
What struck me in particular as I read the book is the respect for the reader that is shown throughout. Readers are given many options to engage with the ideas presented in ways that reflect their learning preferences. The modules and supporting multimedia resources also lend themselves to discussion among teachers across a wide range of second language teaching contexts. This book represents an invaluable resource for the development of school-based language policies that respond to expanding diversity of student populations across Canada and internationally.
Dr. Jim Cummins, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1), University of Toronto, Canada
My professional collaboration with Nadia Prokopchuk began with the delivery of short courses for language teachers at the V. Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University in Ternopil, Ukraine. The goal of the short courses was twofold. Firstly, we wanted pre-service teachers to increase their knowledge of language teaching methodologies used in Canada. Secondly, we wanted professors to observe and incorporate the innovative teaching strategies modeled by Nadia Prokopchuk into their academic teaching practices. The short courses achieved both goals. Faculty and students were particularly struck by the consistent use of visuals, technology, demonstrations, and varied strategies as tools to motivate learning.
Given the success of Nadia Prokopchuk’s short courses, our university has eagerly awaited the release of the online text ‘Language learning in K-12 schools: Theories, methodologies and best practices’. Introductory modules offer a concise overview of second language pedagogy, highlighting the contributions of key researchers Vygotsky, Krashen, and Cummins. The modules that follow provide information about instructional strategies in the four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. These strategies are closely aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), an internationally recognized scale that has gained momentum in Ukraine’s language programs. The CEFR chart of ‘can-do’ language descriptors in Appendix B will be helpful for monitoring student progress at all levels of language learning. Finally, the concluding pages of the text draw attention to culturally responsive teaching and a shift from superficial cultural celebrations to a deeper understanding of student identity.
I have no doubt this text will become a primary source of information for language teachers in Ukraine. I am very proud to be associated with the inception of this valuable online resource.
Dr. Olena Huzar, Director, Centre for Teaching Excellence, V.Hnatiuk Ternopil National Pedagogical University, Ukraine
Language teachers in general, around the globe, are somewhat familiar with the concept of method, which traditionally has directed the form and function of language teaching, curriculum design, syllabus structure, materials preparation, instructional strategies, and assessment techniques. A term, which is heard and used very often but hardly time is given to think about its meaning. Method refers to the theoretical principles and classroom practices and also means what practicing teachers currently do in their classrooms.
‘Language learning in K-12 schools: Theories, methodologies, and best practices’, a resource text authored by Nadia Prokopchuk precisely answers this understanding of the method. This online text is a response to the methodological dilemma of a group of teachers from the region of Maule during their stay at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2022, who found themselves struggling between what was imposed on them and the other that is improvised by them. The online material is a collection of first-hand information on topics of language teaching methodologies, instructional planning, efficient teaching strategies, and culturally responsive teaching. These topics are highly relevant to the teaching of the English language and are based on research that reflects the dedicated academic life of Nadia Prokopchuk as a bilingual classroom teacher, curriculum writer, and language teaching specialist.
Resource materials that do not include teaching and learning elements of local, individual, institutional, social, and cultural contexts become irrelevant and are finally destined for failure. In this sense, this book is just not a repetition of what has been said all through the ages in the teaching of the English language but critically examines methods and strategies, providing elements crucial for teachers to pause, think, and finally find meaning in their teaching. Hence this text is not only a needed resource material but also very beneficial for all the teachers of English as a foreign or second language around the globe.
Dr. Andrew Philominraj, Director, Doctorate in Education in Consortium, Universidad Católica de Maule, Chile