Theory to Practice and Back in TESOL
From Theory to Practice and Back
Rebekah Sidman-Taveau, M.A., PhD
Marie Takai, M.A.
TESOL students and teachers often express the challenge of translating educational theory
into feasible and effective teaching methods. Misconceptions about a linear link between theory
and practice complicate the task. Further compounding the issue is the situation of the teacher
who has had a lifetime of experience with Audiolingualism or other traditional methods but who
must grapple with newer theories that lend themselves to more alternative methods. This
presentation offers a less encumbered perspective showing that the link between theory and
practice is not necessarily a one way street and that theory may be applied consciously or
instinctively, pre-lesson or post lesson. In the presentation, we share the experience of a non-
native English speaker from Japan and her journey from an unhappy English pupil studying
under traditional methods to a successful ESL Instructor in an adult ESL classroom. We detail the
interplay between the teacher’s innovative practice and recent learning and second language
acquisition theories, and explain how the teacher developed and implemented lessons using her
experiences to make both instinctual choices and conscious theory applications. Readers will
take away concrete examples of theory application in TESOL and gain understanding of the
multiple routes for achieving the theory practice connection.
Table of Contents
Title Link to the file Description
1 Summary Word Document This document. The Summery and Links.
2 Presentation w PowerPoint 40 min presentations with text and visuals. Videos
videos are inserted.
3 Presentation wo PowerPoint 40 min presentations with text and visuals. The links
video to the videos included.
4 Handout Word Document Hound out. Guide to theories and references.
5 Recipe book PDF file Student written and illustrated recipe book produced
in ESL class
6 Video 1: Video on YouTube How to make an Enchilada. Students’ final
7 Video 2: Video on YouTube The opening of the lesson.
8 Video 3: Video on YouTube A bodily kinesthetic activity in the lesson. Students’
use of an imperative: “show me”.
9 Presentation Word Document The notes for PowerPoint.