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Review ~ How to Write ESP Materials
Reviewed Jul 2013 by Carmela Chateau
How to Write ESP Materials

How to Write ESP Materials

How to Write ESP Materials is the first ebook book that I have ever reviewed, so the review will focus on the electronic reading experience as well as on the content of the book itself. As well as being readable on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, the mobi version can be read online, on a computer or tablet, using the freely downloadable Kindle app. The EPub version can be read on most other e-readers (except the Kindle), but also on a computer or tablet with the freely downloadable Adobe Digital Editions, or any other EPub app.

How to Write ESP Materials is part of a modular series from ELT Teacher 2 Writer, whose aim is to help ELT teachers become authors. However, as the author of this module points out on the ELT Teacher 2 Writer website, her first coursebook “like most ESP materials, is no money spinner.” So this is not intended as a get-rich-quick course, but rather a guide to the many facets of ESP materials writing. It starts with a pre-module task in which teachers reading the book are asked to think about the materials they use to teach ESP, and the rationale behind their design. There is also a series of relevant quotes to ponder, from key authors and researchers in the field of ESP.
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Review ~ Essential Teacher Knowledge
Reviewed Mar 2013 by Carmela Chateau

Essential Teacher Knowledge provides almost everything a language teacher needs in 110 two-page units, providing of course that the language to be taught is English (even though many of the ideas are valid for language teaching in general). Each of the tasty nuggets of essential teaching knowledge is clearly presented, with up-to-the-minute illustrations and excellent use of highlighting and colour to guide you through the book.

To see what I mean, you can download a couple of sample sections from the Pearson ELT Facebook page. This also gives you an outline of the book, mapping it on to the Cambridge TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test). You can also see a two-minute presentation of the book by the author, Jeremy Harmer, explaining the philosophy of the book. I suppose my main regret is that he makes it all seem so easy – experienced teachers who have worked so hard to learn their trade will undoubtedly regret that this manual did not exist when they were starting out.
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Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching, A Reflective Approach is a practical guide for a teacher about to start their student teaching experience. It gives any novice teacher insight into this often daunting rite of passage for all teachers. This would be an excellent guide to anyone entering his or her teacher training course and could easily be used as a textbook for such a course.

This book is well laid out and speaks directly to the student teacher with detailed advice on how to approach the student teaching classroom. It examines the student teaching experience and asks the teacher to reflect on how this experience will form them as a teacher. This book reads like a playbook for teachers, giving advice on what to expect when being evaluated, how to plan a lesson and what to do when you are finally in your own classroom.
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Review ~ The TKT Course: KAL Module
Reviewed Jan 2013 by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi
The TKT Course: KAL Module

The TKT Course: KAL Module

The TKT Course: KAL Module from Cambridge is a book containing official preparation material for the Knowledge About Language test, written by an actual test item writer.

Although not as well known as the CELTA or some other four week TEFL courses (including by myself when I received this book), Cambridge’s range of TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) exams are becoming increasingly popular as preparation for longer and higher level courses, as an alternative to or qualification to take out of online courses, or a (more or less) internationally-recognized qualification for those who do not have the time or language level to get a CELTA or equivalent. The format and related jargon is a bit confusing because TKT KAL is not part
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Review ~ A Course in English Language Teaching
Reviewed Jun 2012 by Kaithe Greene
A Course in English Language Teaching

A Course in English Language Teaching

This book is a completely revised and updated edition of A Course in Language Teaching by Penny Ur (first published in 1996) and focuses on English Language Teaching rather than language teaching in general. Although it contains many extracts from the previous book it has been extensively rewritten in the light of research, experience and feedback from teachers and trainers.

This book is ideal for use on an initial teacher training course, such as CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL, for either self-study or as a course book for trainees, or by trainers who wish to supplement the core material. It is also a great book for the experienced teacher to dip in and out of when looking for ideas or just for the sheer pleasure of an interesting read.

There are twenty chapters and a three page glossary. The individual chapters are independent of each other, and the author suggests in the short Using this Book section that the reader look through the contents page to find a topic of interest.
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Review ~ Materials Development in Language Teaching
Reviewed Feb 2012 by Jesús García Laborda
Materials Development in Language Teaching

Materials Development in Language Teaching

In 1998 I was giving teacher training courses in Bosnia. In those past and almost forgotten days, the whole country was trying to recuperate from a long and bloody war. So in one of my sessions, I came across a teacher who had no books and students who could hardly attend classes. I still remember her telling me the huge amount of materials she had made herself and asking for old-fashioned books that could be sent over there. This is very much the situation of many teachers across the world who rely on their own efforts to create materials. It could be because they are in countries where teaching materials are hard to get or just because the teaching materials do not fulfill their needs, as happens with many ESP teachers. In short, finding the appropriate teaching materials changes dramatically depending on a number of factors, and in not few occasions teachers need to create their own specific ones. This updated version of the classic title Materials Development in Language Teaching is aimed at all those kinds of people.
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Review: Teach TEFL DVD: Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary
Reviewed Jul 2010 by Carmela Chateau
Teach TEFL DVD - Teaching Vocabulary

Teach TEFL DVD - Teaching Vocabulary

This video is the first in a series “aimed at helping EFL and TEFL teachers around the globe improve their understanding of good teaching practice”. As such, it definitely corresponds to a real need, as observing is almost certainly a very good way of understanding what teaching is all about. The best way to learn is obviously through teaching practice itself, but unleashing unprepared trainees on students is a bit cruel (for both the students and the trainees). Video is a useful tool for teacher-training, but it is unusual to find a professionally filmed video of a classroom situation. The series will therefore fill a useful niche in an ever-developing market.

This vocabulary-based class is split up into short sections, each focusing on a separate part of the lesson. As the accompanying website www.teachtefl.co.uk indicates, the entire session lasted 90 minutes, but the overall runtime of the DVD is around 43 minutes. The parts of the lesson where the teacher is setting up the activities are presented in full, but the sections where the students interact have been abridged. The introduction (1.39 minutes) sets the scene. The teacher is female, and the voice-over commentary is male. There are nine adult students, four female and five male. It is a visibly multi-cultural, multi-lingual group (with students from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, Italy and Mali, according to the website), which will obviously reduce student interaction to what they are able to say to each other to only things in English. Although this is a realistic TEFL situation, the other type where the students all share the same first language (which the TEFL teacher does not necessarily speak with any degree of fluency) is perhaps more common. The website indicates that other levels, learning situations, and age-groups will be addressed by the remaining videos in the series, and even invites teachers to contact the team with special requests.
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