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Market Leader Pre-Intermediate New Edition

Components reviewed: Course Book / Class CDs Publisher: Pearson-Longman Authors: David Cotton, David Falvey and Simon Kent As I have also reviewed the Intermediate level of this course, in this review I want to focus on different points and initially look at two particular features of this new edition: the quotes and the vocabulary reference […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Dave Allen

Components reviewed: Course Book / Class CDs
Publisher: Pearson-Longman
Authors: David Cotton, David Falvey and Simon Kent

As I have also reviewed the Intermediate level of this course, in this review I want to focus on different points and initially look at two particular features of this new edition: the quotes and the vocabulary reference list.

The quotes: Found at the beginning of each unit is a quote or proverb usually accompanying the initial picture(s). I suspect many of you reading this will have seen these quotations and have used them with mixed results. I have found that one of the worst things a teacher can do is open up the book, read the quote and check students comprehension of it, followed by discussion if this is possible. Let’s take the quote in Unit 1 – ‘Nothing will work unless you do’ (Maya Angelou, US Author). The unit theme is careers, the level is pre-intermediate, and it’s probably a new group or course. Skip it. If you burn with the desire to impart worldly wisdom upon your students or (in more a learner-centered fashion) wish them to become enlightened through their own discovery of such wisdom, you may want to return to the quote as you proceed through the unit- but I guess that depends on your group, and your steadfast determination. Another good example is in unit 6 – ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’. Needless to say the speaker was anonymous; otherwise he (or she) would definitely be footing the bill. Yet this tugs at the heartstrings of every teacher who is interested in the human soul- is altruistic behaviour actually possible for homo-sapiens? Are we really here just to make conditions more conducive to our own survival? A great debate, and very fitting for a unit on corporate entertainment (I guess the authors’ views are somewhat similar to Richard Dawkins’), but we should remember that this is pre-intermediate business English. Students need many things to improve their English, but the least of them is a lengthy discussion on the primeval motivations of mankind (or at least, senior management).

The Vocabulary Reference File: Unfortunately, this new, final section is largely redundant if your students record vocabulary as they learn it in the units, and review the textbook contents at least occasionally. The reference list is short, dull and much less useful than learning the vocabulary in the context of the unit and recording it appropriately. A largely unnecessary addition.

Thankfully, the new edition retains all of the other positive aspects of its predecessor. The units are interesting, challenging and present an appropriate amount of lexis and grammar in each unit. The skills work involves a variety of activities and the texts, both listening and reading, are authentic or semi-authentic and are suitable for all levels of business professionals. The written texts are mainly adapted from the Financial Times, but they also include texts from The Guardian, CNN, The Age and Business Wire. Many other comments made about methodological issues are similar to those for the Intermediate level coursebook (also reviewed in these pages).

Overall, Market Leader Pre-Intermediate is a comprehensive and inspiring coursebook which really does what it says on the tin – it leads the market in Business English coursebooks. Of course, depending on the teacher’s approach to the material some activities may work better than others. This leads us to a timely and useful quotation from African folklore (unit 10): “Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors” and, likewise, perfect textbooks do not make skilful teachers!

Reviewed by Dave Allen for TEFL.NET November 2008

One Comment

  • Hortencia Ortiz says:

    This book is one of the best English books to learn about business. I have learnt a lot.

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