English in Mind Level 3

Title: English in Mind Level 3
Author: Herbert Puchta and Jeff Stranks
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Reviewed by: Agata Wasielewska
Review date: December 2005

English in Mind Level 3English in Mind is a new four-level course for lower secondary school students, strongly focused on grammatical and lexical items. The components of the course are:

  • student's book
  • workbook (including self-study CD-ROM)
  • teacher's book
  • teacher's resource pack (including extra photocopiable materials, diagnostic and progress tests)
  • class audio CDs/cassettes
  • web support

The student's book consists of four Modules. Every Module is divided into four Units + "Check your progress" section. At the end of the book you can also find four Projects, Pronunciation exercises, Speaking exercises ­ extra material, Irregular verbs and Phonetic symbols and a Wordlist.

Having a close look at every Module we can observe that they are well organized and clear for students. At the beginning there is an introductory section from which students find out what they are going to learn. (This section is written in English, which is a good idea for students learning English at a pre-intermediate level. However, I am not quite sure if at lower levels students will be able to understand it.)

Every unit has many different exercises. Students practise all four skills: receptive (reading ­ humorous as well as informative texts; listening ­mainly dialogues and read and listen exercises) and productive (speaking ­ many communicative pair work exercises; writing ­ guided writing tasks). You can also find many exercises providing integration of different skills (especially in Project sections). The only idea I do not like here is the Read and Listen section where students can look at the text while listening to it. In my opinion, it is not a good listening comprehension exercise. Instead I would suggest including a list of tapescripts at the back of the book ­ which this course is missing.

In the book there are also nice pronunciation exercises from which students learn about individual sounds, stress, intonation, etc.

Grammar is introduced in an inductive way ­ from given examples students discover the rule. You can also notice a clear presentation ­ practice ­ production pattern of teaching new structures.

Most vocabulary items are introduced in thematic blocks (e.g. Travel, Appearance, Jobs and work, etc.) and they are taught using different techniques. There are also nice Everyday English exercises which introduce structures used by native speakers. What is more, I think that the topics are appealing to the age group the course is addressed to. The list of words (with the pronunciation) included at the back helps students to revise the learned vocabulary, e.g. before a test. However, it is worth mentioning here that the list lacks L2 translation which, in my opinion, lots of students would find helpful - especially at lower levels.

The overall impression of the book is satisfactory. The visual materials are interesting and colorful. They enhance the learning process.

To sum up, I would like to say that the book is worth recommending to use with lower secondary school students because of its:

  • Clear layout
  • Clear and short instructions
  • Use of different teaching techniques
  • Use of exercises and techniques adjusted to different learning styles
  • Practise of all four skills
  • Exercises that integrate the four skills
  • Communication activities
  • Teaching of pronunciation
  • Grammar introduced inductively + using the PPP pattern
  • The coursebook can be used by students alone at home, and teachers can monitor their learning processes
  • Adjustment to students' interests and needs
  • Additional teachers' support (Teachers' resource pack)
  • Web support
Agata WasielewskaTEFL.net ESL Reviews & ArticlesAgata Wasielewska. Upper-secondary education teacher from Poland. agata@interpress.pl