Listen and Learn English

Title: Listen and Learn English (Starters, Movers and Flyers)
Publisher: Delta Publishing
Course Components: CD-rom with Teacher's Handbook (3 levels - Starters, Movers and Flyers)
Reviewed by: Kaithe Greene
Review date: May 2006

Designed for use with Delta's Activity Packs for Young Learners which cover Cambridge's Young Learner exam syllabi, these CDs are, on the whole, excellent. Used with the activity packs, these materials form a comprehensive and well-designed package aimed at young learners and their teachers preparing for the Cambridge YL exams. If you are preparing students for these exams, and have access to a computer room in your school you will find this software very good value for money. Oh, and the activities are great fun to do too!

I was unable to install and run the CDs on my laptop using Windows XP, so I emailed the support centre listed in the teacher's handbook. They were also unable to install or run the software on a laptop using XP, but did manage to get it installed and running on a desktop using XP. They have been both communicative and helpful, and at the time of writing they are still seeking a fix for this difficulty. However, I was able to install and run the CDs on another computer using Windows ME.

Why, oh why can't we have CDs which you simply pop into the CD-rom drive and use? Am I the only low-tech EFL teacher on the planet? I have no wish, nor the technical knowledge, to apportion blame either to Delta or Microsoft, but have to say that this sort of problem is a real waste of time, and something which I feel someone could have sorted out a long time before this otherwise excellent material appeared on my desk.

The teacher's handbooks give a thorough outline of the contents of the programmes, together with illustrations of, and instructions for using, the on screen menus and icons. The handbook is well illustrated and itemises each activity, at three levels, with the vocabulary, and a script of the soundtrack making it a very useful and useable book. Being able to refer to it will streamline lesson and course planning, and cut down on the time needed for familiarisation with classroom materials. With these handbooks, I would feel confident that even the most inexperienced teacher would be able to take a group of young learners into the school computer room and conduct a worthwhile lesson.

As well as the activities for young learners, the CD includes a training guide for teachers which would be of great value to new teachers, or any teacher inexperienced in using Computer Assisted Language Learning with young learners. It could also be useful for in service training of CALL.

Overall, a great package for those who can make use of it, both in terms of technology and exam preparation. ESL Reviews & ArticlesKaithe Greene, MA in Education & Applied Linguistics and grandmother – teaching EFL with IH Torres Vedras most of the time and doting in Hounslow, UK at every possible opportunity.