This title is a self-study vocabulary book with accompanying audio CD designed for students who want to master the English of the oil and gas industry, whether for study or work purposes. It is part of a series of similar books aimed at different branches of engineering, insurance, retail, finance, accounting and hospitality.
The book contains the 500 most useful words for the field, and is designed to help students acquire a good working vocabulary as efficiently as possible. Each entry has a headword, pronunciation, variant forms and abbreviations, subject area (linked to thematic word lists), word forms, word class, a definition, sample sentences, synonyms and collocations.
The book starts with a very clear two-page spread to explain the layout of the entries, then there is a one-page guide to the pronunciation symbols Read on →
Earl Stevick’s influence on language teaching is undeniable. Whether you have read any of his books or not, making sure activities or teaching points are as meaningful as possible to students is a familiar concept. We have Earl Stevick’s influence to thank for that.
Stevick’s work is mentioned throughout, but this book is not a biography of the man, or a summary of his work. Rather, this is a book that details the way and ways educators have taken his ideas and used, adapted and pushed them in their teaching. It is not an entry level book on the subject though. It is a book for someone who believes in the importance of affect in teaching and wants to take it further.
The book is divided into three parts with each part containing several articles. Part A focuses on interaction between students. Part B looks at creating meaningful and effective classrooms activities. The final part gives us ideas about how meaningful action can change the dynamics of classrooms and institutions, and how to manage that change. Read on →
The entire ELT industry seems to go through sudden enthusiasms for particular kinds of book, and after the VYL (very young learner) and ESP (English for Specific Purposes) booms it now seems to be the turn of EAP (English for Academic Purposes). Garnet Education can hardly be seen to be jumping on this bandwagon, however, as EAP has always been their speciality. In fact, they have also been pioneers in the more specialist field of ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes) and many of their books are already on their second editions.
This new edition of English for Academic Study: Writing is at first glance the most conventional of all Garnet’s titles, being an undergraduate-level Read on →
How ELT Publishing Works is an ebook from the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series. This training course is a comprehensive introductory ebook for teachers and other ELT professionals who want to start a new career as an ELT writer.
This training course for ELT teachers starts with an introduction from the author, who is an experienced editor and has known many ELT writers. She can thus provide beginners in the field with sufficient and adequate information on how to write ELT materials. At the end of the introduction, a task is provided to challenge the reader’s knowledge of ELT writing and the process of producing it, then by reading the whole ebook you can get answers to each of the questions section by section. Read on →
The light bulb goes on in your head; you finally had an idea and have an awesome lesson planned for your language class. The activity is foolproof and fun! You teach the class in excitement only to find that not all students are as enthusiastic as you and you feel let down and a little confused. How did the lesson you put so much time and effort into flop? If this has happened to you then Spotlight on Learning Styles is the perfect book for you. It is a great new book in Delta’s Teacher Development Series. Just the title made me feel optimistic and I was not disappointed when I opened the book.
Every language teacher has struggled to motivate and get students participating eagerly in the classroom. Often it is not the teacher’s fault. Read on →
This book is an official Cambridge publication marking 100 years of ESOL qualifications like FCE, IELTS and CELTA from the very first CPE (Cambridge Proficiency in English) test in 1913.
I have to state straightaway that it is difficult to imagine any school or teacher actually paying money to buy this book, and I’m saying that as someone who is rather obsessed with industry trivia. However, the book does have some fascinating information, some of which I’ve shared below. I also imagine there’ll be lots of copies given away by Cambridge to celebrate their centenary, in which case it is certainly worth a look.
The book traces the development of Cambridge ESOL qualifications from CPE in 1913, what was to become FCE in 1939, PET and what was to become IELTS Read on →
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for new ideas on how to correct the pronunciation of my students – even the good ones with a great ear for music need all the help they can get, so this book is a bit of a gift.
Somehow, that “listen and repeat” routine just doesn’t do it for so many students. They need something more – something more tangible, some oral mechanics or technology, some help to isolate the alien sounds of English in order to access both aural recognition and oral production. The Book of Pronunciation aims to assist us in giving them just that. Read on →
The collaborative duo of Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada is one of the most well-known and respected partnerships in the field of SLA. The two are highly prolific writers and researchers in their own right and have coauthored numerous articles and books ranging widely in subject including oral communication correction, developmental readiness in SLA and L2 learner awareness of L1 influence, to name just a few. Here, they come together again for the newest edition of the widely-used and highly-acclaimed book How Languages are Learned.
Now in its fourth edition, How Languages are Learned has been highly valued for the way it relates language acquisition theory to classroom teaching and learning and draws practical implications from the research for the language classroom. One of the strengths of all editions of this book is the emphasis on looking at relevant classroom research in which to analyze particular aspects of classroom dynamics and classroom instruction. Through looking at prior researchers’ studies, various SLA topics are examined such as the dynamics of pair work, learners talking to learners, oral and written corrective feedback and teacher’s questioning practices. Read on →
Having written textbooks and scholarly articles for more than 40 years, Muriel Saville-Troike is an icon in the field of SLA. Coming primarily from a background in bilingual/multilingual education, she has examined an immense variety of SLA topics including contrasts in patterns of communication, achieving coherence in multilingual interaction, development of English language imagined communities and cross cultural communication in the classroom. In the second edition of Introducing Second Language Acquisition Saville-Troike shows again why she has been such an influential figure in SLA.
Aimed more at undergraduate students but practical as well for graduate students with little or no knowledge of linguistics, the second edition of this highly accessible book, like the previous edition, offers a clear and practical introduction to second language acquisition (SLA). Saville-Troike uses non-technical language to answer three key questions that the book investigates: how a second language is acquired, what the second language learner comes to know and why some learners are more successful than others. The book takes a step-by-step approach to Read on →
In this interesting, if not exactly groundbreaking book, George Woolard draws heavily on his own experience of learning Spanish to introduce an approach to language learning that he terms “messaging”. In this, he aims to provide a “fast and efficient” way of acquiring language that falls back on traditional methods of language pedagogy such as translation and Contrastive Analysis, but uses modern technologies (podcasts, media players) to achieve this.
As the title suggests, Woolard takes the meaning-before-form viewpoint of Michael Lewis’ Lexical Approach and expands upon it to create what he terms a “message frame”. This is a semi-fixed example sentence, which is (very!) similar to a traditional grammar frame, except for the fact that it has at least one fixed noun or verb. This message frame is then “chunked” into common collocations and then finally personlised by substituting the appropriate noun or verb – Woolard encourages noun substitution as he argues it is the noun that carries the most meaning, as in the Lexical Approach. See below for an example of this. He likens this way of learning to the way a holiday phrasebook works, a metaphor he repeats many times at the beginning of the book, but appears to forget about as the theory progresses and becomes more complex. Read on →
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. Read on →
I’m not usually keen on skills-based courses, as there can be a danger when focusing on individual skills that it takes away from the holistic approach to language learning that many students benefit from. However, these books from Garnet offer a variety of tasks, a crossover of language skills and engaging materials, and avoid feeling as forced or contrived as lessons can be when you try to isolate one particular skill.
The course is called Progressive Skills in English, and it’s fair to say the course title actually reflects the course. It is possible to make good, solid progress in language learning with this book. It is focused on working towards the IELTS Academic test or building university students’ academic English skills. However, I’ve also found this course book works very well with motivated General English small groups or individuals learning in a more intensive manner. Read on →
On very few occasions during a teacher’s career will they find a book that is universally hailed by educators and learners alike as a fantastic, indispensable resource. When Macmillan first delivered Paul Emmerson’s Email English back in 2004, it found immediate success in tapping into a market that had been crying out for a title devoted to this still emerging form of communication. Now, almost a decade on, what changes have been made to this classic text, and, importantly, how has this book adapted itself to meet the current conventions of email communication?
Like its predecessor, this second edition of Email English is primarily for learners of Business English who need supplementary support in the fine tuning of their writing of effective emails, as well as developing their social media communication (although by no means is it limited to this niche; as it is equally useful for General English). Perhaps the clearest benefit of Email English is that it is based on countless real life examples, systematically presenting its users with key language for constructing effective and convincing emails, as well as developing an appropriate style for interacting on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This feeling of working with authentic email communication is something that shone through in the first edition. This thankfully remains the case with this updated version. Read on →
Compact First is a textbook for students preparing for the Cambridge: First exam, commonly known as the FCE. Compact First was my main text early in 2013 and, I think this is one of the best such texts that I’ve come across. Its clear and thorough approach makes it very easy to teach from but still allows teachers to adapt exercises.
The ten units are divided thematically, each tackling a separate grammar and vocabulary point as well as one or two parts of each paper in the FCE. In addition to this there is: a writing guide supplying model answers for each writing question; a speaking guide with tips, visual materials and useful phrases; a wordlist; a grammar reference; and the CD ROM. All these elements made my class feel they had a good understanding ofwhat was required in the exam.
One thing I really appreciated was the fact that no space is wasted in this book. Although the content of the units only make up about half the total space in the book, there is more than enough material to cover. Any pictures are either directly related to speaking tasks or can be adapted for this purpose. Read on →
One of my most informative early experiences as a teacher happened while I was doing my Cambridge CELTA course. Until this time, I’d happily been carrying on, teaching the way I thought was best, in my own quiet way. But then on the course I met all these teachers who could stand in front of a classroom and hold their attention, whose charisma and natural show(wo)manship immediately seem to lift the students’ mood and make them more engaged.
I could only stand back in awe, because as a naturally introverted person there was no way I could do that. I didn’t have access to these skills, and I never would. And that led me to think that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this teaching game. Maybe there was no space for someone reserved like me, and teaching belonged those who could treat the classroom as their stage. Read on →
Although I’m a fan of Academic Vocabulary in Use (which I reviewed here five years ago), I’ve long been looking for an alternative that is lower level, covers less stuff more thoroughly, and concentrates more on the language that I think the majority of my EAP students really need at this stage – perhaps even something I can recommend to IELTS students too (rather than warning them not to waste their time with it until they’ve passed).
Garnet Education’s English for Academic Study: Vocabulary Study Book takes a very different approach. Firstly, it’s purely for self-study. More importantly, it’s based directly on the General Service List of 2,000 frequently used word families (GSL) and (mainly) the first 300 word families from the Academic Word List (AWL). The AWL contains vocabulary which is common in academic writing but not in the GSL. The GSL words are used to introduce the concepts needed to learn vocabulary (multi-meaning words, word classes, word families, word parts, collocations and word grammar) in the first five units, then these aspects of the first five sublists of the AWL are explored in the last five units. (The AWL is arranged into sublists by frequency, making the first five sublists the most frequent examples of the AWL). Read on →
This third edition of Objective First consists of a Student’s Book with CD-ROM (with or without answers), a Workbook with audio CD (with or without answers), and a Teacher’s Book with CD-ROM. This review focuses mainly on the Student’s Book with answers. All are for preparation for the high-Intermediate exam Cambridge: First (also known as FCE and Cambridge First Certificate).
Any book which aims to help students prepare for a standard test faces a major problem, since standard tests are designed to assess, with a fair amount of accuracy, the level of English that the candidate has reached. Any book helping students to pass a standard test without actually reaching the level of English certified by that test would undermine the credibility of the test itself. Teachers and editors alike therefore face a quandary, and CEFR level B2 is often a major hurdle. Level B1 is the first stage as “independent user”, and it is within the reach of most candidates. Level B2 demands greater depth of knowledge and much greater mastery of language. The Association of Language Testers of Europe (ALTE) recommends a certain number of guided teaching hours for each CEF level, indicating that it takes at least 100 guided teaching hours for a student to progress from level B1 to B2. Read on →
Exploring ELF has nothing to do with Santa’s little helpers but is in fact a new book in the Cambridge Applied Linguistics series, authored by Anna Mauranen and edited by Carol A. Chappelle and Susan Hunston. ELF stands for English as a Lingua Franca, a term which is becoming more widely recognized around the world, especially in the realms of academia among not only language researchers but also teachers. Exploring ELF covers a vast range of topics related to ELF and all are extremely relevant in the field of linguistics.
The book deals with different perspectives on ELF, academic speech as data, vocabulary in oral ELF, word grammar, discourse explicitness, and repetition and rephrasing, after the very interesting Introduction. I was a little apprehensive because it seemed quite long at fourteen pages. However, as I started to read it I was relieved to find that it is very interesting and informative. Mauranen introduces the world of ELF and its spread in a relatively easy manner and includes a number of references and studies relevant to ELF. She also outlines the chapters, making the book easier to navigate. The introduction ends with a detailed reference list which is extremely useful for anyone interested in ELF. I highly recommend looking at the introduction before diving into the book. Read on →
Breakthrough Plus 3 is an intermediate level, twelve-unit, multi-skills course. It is written by Miles Craven, who was one of the authors of the excellent Q:Skills series of listening and speaking books as well as the previous Breakthrough series. In style it is much like its predecessor Breakthrough. Each unit contains listening, speaking, reading and writing components based around a theme with fairly typical presentation and style. Four pages of each unit are spent on the presentation, form and practice of the unit’s core language point, while the last two “Expansion Pages” review and re-practice what has already been taught. Although it has parts focusing on all different skills, the main strength of this book is its easy to use and implement communicative activities.
Each unit follows the same pattern. Speculation on pictures and warm-up questions introduce the topic. The warm-up questions typically try to personalize the topic in some way by asking about the students’ own experiences or opinions on a topic. These questions provide a lead in to a recorded conversation on the topic, which in turn introduces new grammar and vocabulary for the unit. Brief vocabulary and grammar activities follow this to check comprehension. Read on →
Content and Language Integrated Learning (“CLIL” for short) is currently an area which is arousing much interest among ELT researchers and practitioners. Building on strong communicative approaches such as task-based language teaching, CLIL classes combine the teaching of content with the learning of a language with a focus either more on the former or the latter, depending on the context and course. As the amount of research into CLIL grows and as more teachers find themselves teaching using the method, a study into how language is manifested and can be exploited for learning opportunities in in the CLIL classroom would seem a timely addition to the professional literature. The Roles of Language in CLIL has been written to fill that position. Read on →
For the most part, graded readers need to be level-appropriate, well written and, most importantly, interesting. Macmillan’s new series of Factual Readers for young learners match all of these requirements. The 40 book series is divided into six levels covering the five topics of natural science, history, people, wildlife and transport. Full of pictures, tables and diagrams that bring the topics to life, these books offer a good alternative to the plethora of narrative-based readers that usually fill most extensive reading libraries.
The presentation of these books is very similar to what one would find in books for young native English speakers like Guinness World Records books or a Time for Kids Almanac. The presentation of information is bold, clear and well illustrated. For kids interested in general knowledge and unusual facts (as I was when I was a kid) they are perfect. While some of the lower levels may be by necessity rather basic, there are still some wonderful little bits of trivia for kids to digest. The pictures often raise questions which motivate the kids to read and find out what they are about. Read on →
Business people studying English as a second language have specific language needs, and it’s crucial that these language students can express themselves clearly and unambiguously in their working lives. Cambridge’s latest Business English course is dedicated to teaching English through authentic, realistic contexts and is engaging and practical for students of Business English. Read on →
English Pronunciation in Use Intermediate Second Edition
English Pronunciation in Use is back with a second edition and it’s updated, current and a joy to use. The author of the Intermediate version is Mark Hancock, whom many teachers will recognize from his indispensable Pronunciation Games, which is also published by CUP. He brings the same enthusiasm for the subject to Pronunciation in Use. This book deals with many of the pronunciation issues our students face at an intermediate level such as individual sounds, stress and intonation, and a final section focuses on listening and natural speech.
The first thing to note is the simplicity of the layout of the materials. There are 60 two-page units starting with basic issues like minimal pairs and moving onto more specific areas such as emphasizing corrections. Pronunciation explanations are on the left hand side and exercises are on the right. The explanations are easy to follow (a must for a self-study book) and the exercises offer specific practice for each pronunciation point. Read on →
English for Work and the Workplace examines the communicative language needs of workers worldwide. There are twelve articles in this book, written by teacher researchers based all over the world (with the notable exception of North America). The focus is varied, from local case studies and workplace needs assessment to more fundamental questions as to the status of language education in lifelong learning. Read on →
Why do university students write? What are they expected to write? To what extent do academics understand the process of setting a writing assignment, and – significantly – how proficient are they in creating appropriate prompts to elicit the kind of writing they expect? On first reading, none of these questions seem that demanding, nor might you expect them to have interesting answers. Nevertheless, it is precisely with such issues that Genres across the Disciplines concerns itself.
Those aspiring to read this title should know that it is intended for a fairly select audience. If, say, you’re currently doing an MA and at some point need to analyse student writing, this title will be at the top of your wish list. Indeed, it is with such an audience in mind, along with those tasked with preparing and assessing a writing-related curriculum and/or materials design, that this title has been written. As such, it presents the reader with what is ostensibly an unparalleled, forward-looking, corpus-based body of research into contemporary student writing in higher education. Read on →
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. Read on →
Published by Delta Publishing in conjunction with UK-based corporate trainers York Associates, Managing Projects is intended for learners at CEF level B2 to C1, and as such, is perhaps unsuitable for those not already at or moving towards a high level of English proficiency. It is principally viewed as a group learning resource but may also accommodate one-to-one teaching, as well as self-study. Its major selling points are its handling of cultural issues affecting work performance and communication, and its promotion of personalised goal-setting to monitor progress with learning diaries and action plans, both of which consolidate the learning process and encourage work-skills transfer. The book is one of a series of four entitled International Management English. It rests on the well-founded belief that to manage people and execute business plans effectively, non-native English speakers need access not only to appropriate language, communication and professional management skills, but also to a developed sense of intercultural understanding. Accordingly, these core competencies form the foundation of content in the eight units of Managing Projects in what is framed as a 48-hour/32-lesson course. The practice foregrounds speaking and listening through tasks that are designed to increase fluency, broaden the lexical resource, and cement a deeper appreciation of cultural considerations. It also offers strategies to help cope with the challenges of international project management more successfully.
Complete IELTS: Bands 5-6.5, written by Guy Brook-Hart and Vanessa Jakeman and published by Cambridge University Press, is a welcome resource for teachers preparing students for the academic module of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) at the intermediate level (B2). The eight-unit Student’s Book is designed as a short course for IELTS preparation of around 50-60 classroom hours. It includes a full IELTS practice test as well as all grammar and vocabulary considered relevant to this level, informed by the Cambridge English Corpus, not to mention plenty of well-explained IELTS practice exercises in each unit. The full set of answers and CD-ROM are a bonus. There are also two Class Audio CDs which contain additional listening practice, as well as recordings for all the listening sections.
The 166 pages include a map of the units and an IELTS Academic Module: Content and Overview at the front, and at the back a speaking, writing and language reference (giving the additional descriptions of grammar covered in each unit) to give students more of what to expect “on test day”. A detailed word list of useful words from each unit is also provided here but some teachers could consider the detail given a little complex, and students might be better off finding the meaning for themselves. Read on →
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. Read on →
400 Ideas for Interactive Whiteboards is a practical resource book published by Macmillan Books for teachers as part of an accessible series edited by Adrian Underhill. This book follows other titles such as 500 Activities for the Primary Classroom and 700 Classroom Activities in providing an exhaustive set of ideas for the classroom. Written by Pete Sharma, Barney Barrett and Francis Jones, all of whom are established figures in the field computer-assisted language learning (CALL), 400 Ideas for Interactive Whiteboards is aimed at providing users of IWBs with a wider scope of activities than they may already be aware of, or for newcomers or buyers of the apparatus who may be looking for ways or reasons to introduce the technology into their schools or classes.
The core of the book is divided into four chapters, all dealing with different aspects of IWB usage. These chapters are preceded by a foreword by the authors and a brief introduction, which include a helpful assortment of explanations about the many IWB features there are as well as a page detailing the benefits of using IWBs. The authors also shed brief light on the challenges facing IWB users and some forecasts of their uses in the future. The four chapters of activities which follow are all preceded by a pair of case studies displaying firsthand experiences of IWB in action. Read on →
International Negotiations by Mark Powell is a textbook focused on learners who want to look at the area of business negotiations. Published by Cambridge University Press, as part of the Cambridge Business Skills series, it should interest any ESP teacher or learner looking for a comprehensive guide through this complicated area of business. The course book takes learners through the whole negotiating process from preparation to finishing the deal.
It is described by Cambridge University Press as a short course (15-20 hours) and it is aimed at learners from intermediate to advanced. My initial impression however is that in order to cope with the pace of the course and nature of the language, learners will need to have a fair grasp of the English language. Read on →
In The Company Words Keep the authors, Paul Davis and Hanna Kryszewska, put forward a strong case for adopting a more lexical approach to language acquisition. The title is divided into three main parts: part A outlines the theory behind the book, B sets out a number of exercises to be used in the classroom and the third encourages the instructor to reflect on his/her lessons and his/her learners. It also has suggestions of how to continue professional development in this area. To get the most out of this title in a language college setting, it would benefit from a workshop session led by someone who has read and cherry-picked activities relevant to the learners and equipment available. I found this book encouraged me to be more conscious of the elements of lexical approach that I was already incorporating in my teaching. Some of the exercises will probably be familiar to more experienced teachers (depending on the teaching methodology and coursebooks used) but there are so many activities that there’s bound to be something new. Read on →
Michael Swan’s name is well known among language teachers, particularly for his grammar guides such as Practical English Usage, which are liberated from bookshops en masse at the start of each new CELTA course. These books are very popular among teachers because they provide stripped down explanations of grammar points, presented in a comprehensible way, which can then by relayed to students. In the Oxford English Grammar Course series, Swan, along with Catherine Walter, have combined these kinds of short grammar explanations with the self-study elements of their earlier self-study books such as How English Works to produce a full three-level grammar course for self-study and for classroom use. The books are available at basic, intermediate, and advanced levels, and are designed to guide learners from the reasonably simple grammar of English to its more advanced elements. Read on →
Prolifically varied is a term that could be used to describe Jack Richard’s writing output in the last 30 or so years, as he has authored or co-authored numerous professional books for English language teachers as well as many widely used textbooks for English language students. Samuela Eckstut-Didier has also authored or co-authored many textbooks for English language students ranging from grammar-based books to integrated skills books to reading and vocabulary building books. Here, the two have collaborated to produce a useful and enjoyable reading textbook that can be used for self-study or incorporated into the classroom.
Strategic Reading 2 is aimed at high-intermediate young adult and adult learners of English. It is designed to develop reading fluency through the use of a variety of authentic texts including newspapers, magazines, books and websites. The book is divided into 12 units with three readings per unit Read on →
Grammar Sense 3 is a massive, multi-pronged attack to the question “How should I teach grammar?” 18 chapters each focus on one grammar point. At over 411 pages the book has room to teach each point’s form, meaning, and use in great detail. Reading, listening, speaking and writing exercises mean there is a lot to get through; using all this material effectively, especially without overwhelming students, will require careful planning. The book may need the teacher to be selective, but, if used well, can provide the grammar students need as well as a springboard to more meaningful communicative activities.
Each chapter is broken down into two parts. The first introduces the form. It does this through authentically-sourced readings, grammar tables and sentence building/completion exercises. The second half of each chapter delves into subtler points of use. It asks students to compare and analyze each grammar point’s different meanings. This knowledge is reinforced through speaking and writing exercises, and tested with critical thinking questions. Read on →
50 Steps to Improving Your Academic Writing offers students a step-by-step guide for creating well written and well-structured academic appropriate writings for non-native speakers of English. While addressing issues to writing and common problems students face when understanding the various steps involved in creating quality writing including: avoiding plagiarism, the differences in academic writing versus other forms of writing, using unfamiliar words, and other special topics necessary to create solid work. Speakers of other languages are able to focus on their specific needs and goals in order to improve their academic writing and the book is a great academic aid for students and teachers alike.
50 Steps to Improving Your Academic Writing is, as stated in the introduction, “…primarily intended for students who are new to or inexperienced in academic writing (5)” and focuses on university-level academic writing. It is primarily a self-study book made for students to use on their own, but teachers can also use it to help plan lessons. Read on →
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 Read on →
This title was of particular interest to me: I am head of an institution with a considerable number of ESOL learners at Pre-entry level, and there seems to be little suitable published material available for them. As well as being too high level, many materials are also cultural-specific: beginner-level course books tend to assume a working knowledge of Western culture and values, which is an incorrect assumption with many learners at Pre-entry level.
The book is divided up in the same way as most of the photocopiable Cambridge ESOL resources – theme-based chapters that each have three units (speaking and listening, reading, and writing). The themes have been chosen sensibly – starting with classroom language and college life, and progressing on to jobs and transport – and each section is mapped to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. Within the units themselves there is a lesson plan for each activity that includes resources needed and suggested differentiation activities. Read on →
As a PhD student and a newcomer to the world of research I found Replication Research in Applied Linguistics to be a useful extra textbook for research courses at universities along with other sources the professors introduced. Most of the time the doctoral students are encouraged to try to make a contribution to the overall knowledge of the field when it comes to selecting a topic for their research by doing something totally new. However, after reading this book, I found that we CAN contribute to the knowledge of the field even by doing appropriate replication studies, provided that we know the proper and accurate way of doing such research. If you want know how to replicate research and are eager to know the technical practices of replication in applied linguistics, then this book is written for you.
The book is organized carefully in three parts. First, we are introduced to the field by the editor of this collection with a comprehensible introduction to replication research in scientific thinking and practice, especially in applied linguistics. The book starts by explaining some introductory issues and then continues by explaining some practical aspects such as how to do and write replication research. The last part of the book provides two real examples of qualitative and quantitative replication research. Read on →
Michael Swan is well known in both the teaching and applied linguistics field and has written numerous articles and books over the years. This book is a compilation of his most cited and well-known articles. It has a generic index which lists the title of each article and is followed by an interesting Introduction written by Swan. The book is then divided into 2 parts. Part 1 contains eighteen pedagogic and academic articles which were published between 1985 and 2011. Most of them include a short introduction to the article telling readers about the context in which he originally wrote them and at times includes a reflection and how he would write it differently. Part 2 contains seven satirical pieces on the world of language teaching.
Part 1 includes articles on a wide range of topics within the field of language teaching and theory. It covers topics such as English as a Lingua Franca, text-based teaching, grammar, language teaching versus teaching language, vocabulary, task-based instruction Read on →
Bringing Extensive Reading into the Classroom is a gentle polemic on the virtues and common sense practicalities of allowing students access to the benefits of a well-executed extensive reading program. Most of the book concerns itself with just that, how to set up and run an extensive reading program: the cost, the administration, and the pedagogical considerations. However, there are also examples of well-thought-out lesson plans and activities to engage students inside the classroom. A more fitting title might have been “Bringing Extensive Reading into the School”, but that in itself can be a challenging thing to do well. This book could certainly help avoid wasted time and money in setting up an effective library and program.
The first chapter outlines the authors’ strong belief in the advantages of extensive over intensive reading. For those teachers not sure of how “just reading” can be beneficial, this chapter lays out some convincing arguments for the adoption, in part at least, of extensive reading as a viable classroom activity. It stresses that a teacher’s role in such an extensive reading program is both to enthuse over the benefits of extensive readings and Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) in the classroom, and to orient and guide students through the levels of graded readers, all so that they gain the most benefit from a program. Read on →
Transcribing the Sound of English: a Phonetic Workbook for Words and Discourse, is designed for students of linguistics, and those who wish to learn how to write the sounds of English in a universal format. It offers something for everyone, from the complete linguistic novice, to the more experienced transcriber.
The book is divided into two parts: Words and Discourse. As a one-time student of linguistics, what I find particularly strong about this book is its presentation. The flow of information can be likened to a pyramid. It begins with a sweeping and simple look at individual phonemes, or sounds. As the text progresses, the information systematically moves from sounds in isolation, to sounds within words, to words within context (or the way in which they would naturally occur in spoken discourse). Since, of course, sounds rarely occur within isolation, the author builds upon each facet of the English sound system with increasing detail, affording the reader a most thorough explanation.
The first two chapters are great for students who are new to the topic, as they provide a comprehensive approach to transcribing the sounds of vowels and consonants. Both chapters include ‘quick tests’: short assessment exercises for the learner to gauge his or her progress. While these tests offer meaningful practice and useful measurement, the answers are not as accessible as some readers may like. Rather than included within the text like most workbooks, the Quick Tests’ answer keys are published on the accompanying website. This may be less than convenient for the learner who is away from his laptop or tablet. However, the keys are in pdf format, and thus easily printable. What is great about the website is that it includes an audio clip of each word and phrase included in the book. Thus, the learner can listen to the pronunciation, if need be, during transcription. Read on →
Ever since David Marsh and Anne Maljers ushered in the era of CLIL in 1994, this new methodology has remained a source of hot debate in ELT. While many teachers are suspicious of or indeed resistant to the very notion of Content and Language Integrated Learning, others view it as the future of language teaching. For those unfamiliar with the concept, CLIL is an approach which aims to marry the learning of content to the acquisition of an additional language, thus teaching both the subject and the language simultaneously. While several notable books have been written on this methodology, our profession has been crying out for a definitive guide to CLIL: it is with this mission in mind that Liz Dale and Rosie Tanner have created this book.
Turning to the content pages, it immediately becomes evident that CLIL Activities stands out when compared to other publications on the subject. This resource book has clearly been written by experienced CLIL practitioners. CLIL Activities is split into three parts; Background to CLIL; Subject pages, and; Practical activities. This no-nonsense layout serves to suck the reader in from the start: first you are told what this phenomenon is, you are then shown clearly how this might play out in your specific subject area, before finally you are given a large number of adaptable activities to help you in your teaching. Read on →
After reading this book I think I may have found the Rosetta stone for my ESP teaching in the field of public relations. The quality of the book is unquestionable (the series to which it belongs won the English Speaking Union’s English Language book award in 2009). The book’s methodology intends to provide skills-based graded practice for non-native-speaking learners. Its use is also quite flexible and teachers will be able to use it with students from upper-intermediate to proficiency level (CEF B2-C2 or IELTS 5.0-7.5+). The book has a sound design integrating contents, language skills and vocabulary.
The book is organized into twelve units including topics such as a definition of public relations, its main goals and scope (unit 1), a review of the common activities involved in the field (unit 2), jobs in public relations (unit 4), regulations, and legal matters and communication (units 5-7). The book also includes a vocabulary bank, some additional materials and the tapescripts. Read on →
Sociocognitive Perspectives on Language Use and Language Learning
Theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) have tended to converge on two main notions; that language learning is either primarily cognitive (informed by processes ongoing within the brain of the learner) or primarily social (emerging as a result of social interactions). Of course, researchers have long understood that these two domains must be to some extent interrelated, but the argument remains as to which is the driving influence behind SLA. This collection of edited papers seeks to integrate the two approaches, and provide a number of perspectives on the manner in which the social and the cognitive dimensions affect and interact with each other.
The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the theoretical perspectives advanced by researchers into sociocognition, while the second takes a more empirical route, presenting studies into the interpersonal and intrapersonal functions of sociocognition among learners. Perhaps for most prospective readers the final section, concerned as it is with the practical classroom applications of sociocognitive perspectives, will be the most important and anticipated. Each of these three sections will be Read on →
The Instant Academic Skills photocopiable resource pack is a much needed collection of materials for busy instructors’ academic preparation courses. This resource book is the latest offering from the Cambridge Copy Collection, which has brought us such favorite titles as Instant IELTS and Pronunciation Games. It can be used as the basis of a whole course, or even better as a great supplementary book for prepared materials. The materials are aimed at Upper Intermediate to Advanced students, meaning it would suitable for students from a level of 5.5 on IELTS or who had passed the Cambridge FCE.
The book is clearly organized into thirty ready-to-teach lessons which are in five separate general areas: Business, Health and Medicine, Science and Technology, The Arts, and Education. Each area is covered in three units containing two lessons. A lesson has three worksheets and a page with the teacher’s notes. The notes include step-by-step instructions on how to use the material, along with suggested follow up activities. The teacher’s notes are conveniently opposite the worksheets so you don’t have to root around the back for the answers. Read on →
The English Vocabulary in Use books have been around for a long time and are, I feel, invaluable classroom resources, so I was eager to see how the latest edition fared.
As in previous editions, the book is comprised of stand-alone units offering clear explanations and practice exercises which are ideal for supplementary class materials or self-study practice.
The book has 100 Units practising different vocabulary areas. There are 35 general topic-based units covering areas such as the weather, describing people, education, food, health, crime, money, and many more. The next nine units then look in more detail at feelings and actions, covering beliefs, likes, feelings and senses. These units also dealt with commenting on problematic situations and ways of offering praise and criticism, which I felt were useful areas to cover. Basic concepts, including time, quantity, dimensions, texture, are covered in the next ten-unit section. Linking words, word formation, words and pronunciation, (un)countable nouns and phrasal verbs all have individual sections of at least three units each after that. The final section introduces variety and style and looks at (in)formal language, similes, proverbs Read on →
Oxford are the first, but probably won’t be the last, to start moving their readers series to the iPhone and iPad (but no Android versions yet). In February this year, these faithful adaptations of the original books topped the iTunes charts in Japan (a chart typically dominated by TOIEC and Brain Training). It’s easy to see why. With many on sale now for as little as 85 yen (one dollar) they represent great value for money. They are easy to navigate, beautifully presented, and wonderfully illustrated. If students are looking for a convenient, digital alternative then these come highly recommended. All levels and tastes are catered for, with 55 books from levels 1 to 6 of the series available.
The app versions come with some nice extra features. Complete audio is included. This can either be listened to as you read or played like an audio book. Another addition to the app is a glossary of new keywords, which can be highlighted in the text and tapped on to Read on →
The Cambridge Guide to Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching
Need a book that has a number of good articles covering the important issues and approaches in current language teaching? The Cambridge Guide to Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching could be what you are looking for. This book is a compilation of short up-to-date papers covering a wide range of topics in second language teaching. The book begins with a very informative Introduction written by the editors. Many people usually skip the introduction and dive straight into the content, but with this book it is highly recommended to read this part first as it is very interesting and extremely informative, giving an overview of the issues relevant to pedagogy and methodology today. It is written in a way that even readers new to the field can understand, tells you where to find the relevant articles, and ends with a list of additional references. Following the introduction, the book contains 30 papers or “chapters” which are divided into five sections. They are well-categorized, making it easy to jump around the book for chapters relevant to your interest. The editors have written brief useful introductions at the beginning of each section. Read on →
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System taken by many students who need an English exam in order to study or work in English speaking countries. The IELTS Language Practice book is aimed at students of all levels preparing to take the IELTS exam.
IELTS Language Practice can be used as preparation for the IELTS exam. It is divided into sections covering grammar, units based on different vocabulary themes (e.g. on the natural world, the arts and attitude and opinion), and sections that focus on topic-linked words and phrases, including sections on academic essay writing.
The first 40 units deal with different aspects of grammar with three to four pages dedicated to each aspect such as the various tenses, articles, and modal verbs. Each section starts with an explanation and examples, followed by exercises. The explanations Read on →
For those who have had the experience of preparing students for academic study using a general English course book, the notion of a series that progressively aims to develop the kinds of skills necessary for tertiary study in an English-medium institution should be immediately compelling. With a market existing for a series, Cambridge’s three-level (B1+ to C1) integrated skills course for higher education students at university or on foundation courses has an audience ready and waiting for books that deliver the goods. This is a review of the Upper Intermediate (B2) title.
The good news is that, in designing this integrated skills book specifically for students at university and on EAP foundation courses, the author has given due attention to the type of language and the actual academic skills essential for successful university studies across a number of disciplines. Indeed, in promoting this new series, author Martin Hewings makes note of the Read on →
Super Simple Songs consists of three CDs, available separately, which have twenty or so action songs each. Most of the songs are original or adapted from their traditional versions to make them super simple- exactly as their name would suggest! While having “Great for ESL!” written on their covers might make you think they are just adaptable for our kinds of classes, I’m guessing from how well they work and the fact that they come from Japan that they were actually designed for EFL classes of two to eight year olds and the publishers are just trying to expand their appeal outside that limited market. Having said that, my own English-speaking daughter loves some of the songs and The Bath Song (CD 1) has become part of our evening routine. Read on →
Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is still a contentious and disputed concept; hailed by some as a paradigm shift in our conception of languages, and by others as an overly politically correct proposal that robs the English language (and consequently ELT) of a firm grounding. Despite this tension, the increasing research into and accompanying literature about ELF perhaps make it inevitable that handbooks instructing ELT professionals in the teaching of ELF will be produced. Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca by Robin Walker is an example of just such a handbook.
The lack of agreement among linguists and teachers over the necessity for ELF is reflected in the structure of the book itself, as the first half is almost entirely given over to explanations of, and justifications for, ELF. These sections are very well written, and explain the case for ELF in a cool-headed and accessible way. In brief, the argument runs as follows: English now has more non-native than native speakers, and analysis of non-native speaker interactions reveals certain recurrent patterns Read on →
Speakout (Upper Intermediate), written by Frances Eales and Steve Oakes and published by Pearson, is a general English course covering speaking, listening, reading and writing and featuring authentic material from the BBC.
The book (Students’ Book with Active Book) comes with a CD that includes the e-book of all the materials, including all audio and video content as well as additional material. This was the first time I had seen this format and while I am not yet completely familiar with how everything works, it seems to be excellent and hopefully other books will adopt a similar approach in the future. Having the audio and video included with the student book (rather than just a few as in the Face2Face textbooks) means that students can really make the most of the book outside of lessons as well as during class. Read on →
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. Read on →
Writing from Within 1 Teacher’s Manual, written by Arlen Gargaliano and Curtis Kelly and published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, is an essential accompaniment to Writing from Within 1, the first of a two-level writing series for high-beginning (A2) students. Not only is its content indispensable to the teachers, with its comprehensive overview of each of the twelve units, but extensive guidelines for dealing with each unit of the Student’s Book are given, as well as the answer keys for the exercises.
The Teacher’s Manual is a slim 63-page paperback, smaller in size than the Student’s Book, containing, in addition to the things mentioned above, the contents page and a two-page plan of the Student’s Book. According to the authors, its main purpose is to give specific ideas Read on →
Writing from Within 1, written by Curtis Kelly and Arlen Gargagliano and published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press, is designed to be used by teachers to teach their students at high-beginner level how to generate topics and develop their ideas into one- and two-paragraph compositions. Teachers could use the book as a supplementary resource for their usual coursebook, or, indeed, as a stand-alone coursebook for a writing course for low-level learners. Writing from Within 1 prepares students for a variety of writing assignments in its clearly-formatted twelve units, each ten pages long and including a model for each writing assignment, self-reflection and optional “fun” writing activities. Read on →
ATC, ATCOs, ETOPS, METAR, TAF, ATIS, ALAR, ILS and VOR DME all sound like something we would be writing in a text message or internet lingo. In actual fact they are all aviation acronyms and can be found in Cambridge’s new Aviation English textbook, Flightpath, by Philip Shawcross. Flightpath is a course for students who are pilots and ATCOs (Air Traffic Control Officers) who need an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) level 4 qualification. Shawcross has been working in Aviation English for almost 40 years, so he knows his stuff. To add to the authenticity of this textbook, it was reviewed by a panel of aviation experts.
While the topics are a little daunting at first, when you look through the detailed contents page of this textbook you can quickly see that it is really well laid out and easy to use. The text itself is divided into four parts with a total of 10 units, and each unit is divided into Operational topics, Communication topics and Language content. The contents Read on →
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. Read on →
Grammar One (part of the Oxford "Grammar" series for children)
The Grammar series of student books from Oxford neatly deals with the thorny issue of how to teach grammar to young learners in a communicative way. The series can be used as class books to prepare for the Cambridge ESOL Young Learners English Tests or as supplemental material to illustrate a specific grammar point. It all begins with Grammar Starter and Grammar One, which correspond with the Starter exam and then towards Movers. Grammar Two prepares young learners for the Movers tests and on towards Flyers. Finally the last of the series is Grammar Three, which works on the Flyers test and beyond. So you can use these as the main exam preparation book for your young learner classes for many different levels and grades.
Each book covers around twenty distinct grammar items that relate to the appropriate Cambridge exam. The item is presented in a short text or written dialogue to illustrate the meaning. The grammar explanation is on Read on →
Engaging Writing: Essential Skills for Academic Writing 1 and 2 are designed to teach academic writing skills, with the two texts comprising a total of eleven thematic chapters. Topics range from level one’s accomplishments, occupations, and growing up in different cultures to level two’s units on role models, culture, identity, and homeland, and marriage and family. The textbook is designed for students of American English who have attained an intermediate (level one) to high intermediate or low advanced (level two) proficiency level.
Engaging Writing 1 contains six chapters, each of which begins with a reading and is followed by sections on the writing process and revising. The text does a fine job of preparing students for the respective reading passages Read on →
Digital Play, written by Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley, is the latest in Delta Publishing’s Teacher Development Series, an impressive strand that includes Nickly Hockly and Lindsay Clandfield’s guide to Teaching Online and Scott Thornbury and Luke Medding’s seminal Teaching Unplugged. This book concentrates on the use of computer games in language teaching.
The book is divided into three sections. The first looks at the wider place that video games occupy in society, how they are currently used in education and how they can be used with language learners. The second part includes a variety of activities, concentrating on all four language skills and the full spectrum of technical scenarios. The final part highlights the ways that video games can be incorporated into a syllabus and offers suggestions for how they help teachers to develop. Read on →
English for the Australian Curriculum (Book 1) is a new textbook aimed at teaching English and literacy in an Australian context for junior secondary (Junior High School), but I decided to try it in two of my university EFL classes in Japan where students were in their 3rd and 4th year of English study.
At first glance it is very colorful and glossy and its layout is well constructed and easy to navigate, although it is a little big and heavy to carry. The text begins with an informative Contents page, followed by a Foreword from the editors, information about the authors and also advice on how to use the book. The textbook itself is divided into 7 chapters which are color-coded, making it easy to access. Their titles are My Story Our Stories, Poetry Activated, Getting Animated: Genre and Narrative in Animated Films, Ghosts, Ghouls and Doppelgangers: Exploring Gothic Horror Stories, Fairytales Revamped, Meanwhile Somewhere Else: Three Films from Iran, and Dream On: Storytelling, Reality and Identity. Read on →
Teaching spelling has long been deemed a daunting task by ESL instructors. Frequently considered a chore at best, the presentation of orthographic rules and patterns is often sidestepped in the wake of more important class-time affairs. Johanna Stirling aims to shed light on the importance, and perhaps, ease of spelling instruction in Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners.
The text is written for teachers of adult English Language Learners, although the author points out that teachers of young learners and native English speakers would also benefit from the presented methodologies. Divided into sections, this guide deals with the problems associated with teaching spelling, and offers solutions to those problems through pedagogically focused activities. Read on →
English in Mind (Second Edition) is a course that the publishers claim is fresh and inspiring, especially designed to motivate teenagers, with 100% up-to-date content and extra attention on developing fluency. It has a Student’s Book DVD-ROM that contain games, extra exercises and video dramas featuring the photostory characters. The photostories also have a “videoke” function for students to record themselves taking part in the dialogue.
The books are level 3 which is B1 council of Europe level. They are standard A4 in size with a purple jacket. Inside, the student book is divided into 14 sections, with each one covering a different aspect of grammar, based around different topics. The first section is a recap of tenses previously Read on →
Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics by Diane Larsen-Freeman and Lynne Cameron forms part of the Oxford Applied Linguistics series. However, you don’t need a great deal of prior knowledge of Applied Linguistics to read this book, as the main focus is on the complex systems part of the title. For that reason, it may be that some background in science would be helpful. Alternatively, a scientific background may have you throwing this book against the wall, for reasons explained below.
Complexity theory tells us that the behaviour of certain systems, known as “complex systems”, cannot be predicted because unmeasurably tiny changes now lead to completely different results later. This concept is best grasped using an analogy with a pile of sand. If you keep adding grains of sand to the pile, an avalanche is sure to happen, but it’s impossible to predict when, and in which direction, and how much sand will fall. All we can do is look back, and offer a retrospective account of what happened: the pile collapsed after adding such-and-such a grain, and fell in such-and-such a way, something that doesn’t allow us to predict similar events in the future because that “…depends on the day of the week… the time of day…” and a thousand other interconnected and uncontrollable factors (p235). It doesn’t take much scientific knowledge to realise that this runs contrary to the conventional picture of science that most of us learnt at school, with its regularly moving pendulums and models of the solar system. Complexity theory has been heralded by some as a paradigm shift, one that could revolutionise areas outside the natural sciences like economics, education and business. However, others believe that when it is exported to those other areas it usually becomes pseudo-science at best (hence the potential for angry scientists). Read on →
The Primary iDictionary 2 is an interactive picture dictionary CD-ROM published by Cambridge. It is designed for primary school aged learners of English with the vocabulary being suitable for children preparing for the Cambridge Movers exam.
The program contains over 300 words divided into 14 vocabulary topics ranging from animals to weather, as well as language-focused units on things like adjectives and past simple forms. In each topic, the vocabulary is presented via images with the accompanying word. The pronunciation of each word can also be listened to, as can the spelling of the word.
Each unit also contains a song, a story and a game, all of which draw on the vocabulary that is presented. The songs can be listened to with the lyrics or without, or in the ‘karaoke’ mode that allows the child to sing along. There are 4 different types of game: a drag and drop game in which words are matched to pictures; a drag and drop game in which items are added to a picture based on an audio description; a listen and match game in which a description of an item or action is listened to before choosing the corresponding image; and a memory card game in which matching pairs of cards need to be found. Read on →
Exams are challenging to prepare students for, and as there are not an unlimited number of practice tests out there this book is a useful addition to a TEFL resource library. I was excited by the idea of reviewing this new “testbuilder” with its promised “tests which teach” and was keen to see whether it lived up to its claim.
The book offers two full length practice exams along with an answer key. Unlike a traditional answer key, it explains the reasoning behind the correct answers, as well as detailing the type of question each one is: vocabulary, gist, fact, inference, and so on. For the reading and listening parts of the test this information about why an answer is correct is just what a student needs!
After doing this so well, the book then falls down. For the speaking and writing test components, although sample responses are offered, there is no indication as to whether these are good or appropriate responses, what kind of mark they’d have achieved in the exam, what could have been improved, or any guidance for the student as to what a good response would be like. I was disappointed by this. Read on →
These readers are described as being for ages 6-12, from Beginner to Pre-Intermediate level and I reviewed 6 readers from levels 1-4.
First flicking through these readers I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of pictures and details which had gone into the books. They are beautifully illustrated and a wide range of kids will appreciate the stories and be drawn in.
What really adds to the stories are the activities at the back of the book, practising the language covered in the reader. Another excellent factor is the picture dictionary, also at the end of each book.
Levels 1 and 2 have a short simple story to work from. The two books I reviewed were Hide and Seek and The Fancy Dress Competition. These are fun topics which would open up a range of extension activities for the classroom, using the readers as a basis. Read on →
Each of the books in this collection has a very bright and colourful cover illustration or photo, including the classics, which was a welcome change to the old style classics sadly accumulating dust in my school. The photo of David Beckham on one of the books was particularly popular with some of my female students!
Some of my students were kind enough to read a few of the books and their comments have been included in my review. I also asked them to make an additional comment about the activities included.
The Big Bag Mistake by John Escott
Two young students Ricardo and Gisela are travelling from London to their homes in Rio de Janeiro and they meet on the plane. They have very different personalities and Ricardo´s attempts to chat to Gisela en route are not successful. When a thief steals Gisela´s bag, Ricardo and Gisela cross paths again.
Between Two Worlds by Stephen Rabley
Joanna is an Australian nurse living in Woomara. A very ill baby has to be taken to Sydney for treatment, but the mother is unable to leave behind her other children so Joanna offers to accompany the baby. After some time in the big city Joanna has to make an important decision. Read on →