The CBET Handbook for The Oxford Picture Dictionaries by Carmen Waszak
With the passing of California Proposition 227, a state funded program for parents was de- veloped. The purpose of this program, called the Community Based English Tutoring (CBET) Program, is for local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide free or subsidized programs of adult English language instruction to parents or other members of the commu- nity who pledge to provide personal English language tutoring to English learners (http://www.cde.ca.gov/cilbranch/cbet). For the most part, publishers have not focused on Community Based Tutoring and as a result, CBET resources for teachers have been scarce.
However, Oxford University Press is one publisher that has taken an interest in CBET by publishing The CBET Handbook for The Oxford Picture Dictionaries. This handbook is part of an English Language Development program which includes workbooks, picture dic- tionaries, a teacher1s resource book, and Classic Classroom Activities, all published by Ox- ford.
One of the best attributes of the handbook is its simple organization. This makes the book manageable even for the novice teacher. The book is divided into three major sections: strategies for teaching with the Oxford Picture Dictionary Programs, lessons on tutoring skills with reproducible readings and worksheets, and lessons on organizing and planning skills. The target audience is ESL/CBET instructors; however, the contents may be helpful to any adults who have children, adults who would like to tutor, or adults who lack experi- ence with reading strategies and organization skills.
The first section of the book will be useful to teachers who have access to Oxford1s other materials; ie. The Oxford Picture Dictionary, Classic Classroom Activities. In this section are procedures on introducing a new topic and presenting new language along with a few activities. A few of the activities involve using picture cards, which are not included in this handbook. However, you can either make your own picture cards or use reproducible pic- ture cards from another source. Students seem to enjoy the activities in this first section, giving them the opportunity to become actively engaged with the material and each other. They may also become more familiar with the new vocabulary in a much shorter time period using these activities. Also, the students, in turn, then could teach these 3games2 to other students, making learning more meaningful.
While the first section holds some enjoyable activities, the second section is likely to be the most important part for the teacher. In this section, all the lessons have one goal in mind: to teach adults how to tutor reading. Nevertheless, these lessons are also useful to students in the early stages of literacy by teaching them strategies and activities for independent read- ing. This section may also be indispensable for new ESL instructors to become familiar with strategies beginning readers use.
The lessons in the second section are presented in order, from the first lesson on how to start a conversation with a student to the last lesson on how to give praise and correct errors. Each lesson is divided into three parts: the first part begins with Teacher1s Notes (the objec- tive, background information for the teacher, and background knowledge required of the student). The second part is a reading for the student, and the last part a practice worksheet to practice the new skill.
The last section is Teaching Organizing and Planning Skills to Your Adult Students serves as an extension to section two and is self-explanatory. It is organized in the same manner as in the previous section with Teacher1s Notes, student reading, and practice worksheet. These lessons focus on teaching students how to be independent. Students learn to use and create a monthly calendar, create a place to study, plan a tutoring session, and record tutor- ing goals and activities. These play a valuable role in becoming a successful student as well as a successful tutor.
Although the last section of the handbook plays a valuable role in student success, it re- quires a higher level of English proficiency. For example, one lesson objective is 3to help tutors prepare for, plan, reflect on, and chart their tutorial sessions2, which requires students to fill out four different forms in one lesson; whereas in section two, there was only one practice sheet per lesson. Thus, the last section may have limited success in a beginning level class.
Overall, the handbook serves as a nice start in teaching tutoring, reading, planning, and or- ganization skills to adult students. It is advisable to present the lessons sequentially since they tend to build on each other. The most beneficial part of the handbook is section two, which can be used alone as long as you make or have access to picture cards. The lesson plans are easy to follow and concise. They allow students to practice tutoring skills and strategies before entering the classroom, making the transition from student to tutor much smoother. Students also build planning and organizing skills that help students achieve suc- cess in school.