Review ~ English for Public Relations

A very useful title in an award-winning series for the very specific situation of students who are studying public relations.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Jesús García Laborda
English for Public Relations

English for Public Relations

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. Each unit addresses a different topic in the field, and comprises four lessons with the same structure: vocabulary; then reading or listening; reading or listening plus extension activities next; and finally a combination and extension of lessons 2 and 3. The vocabulary is related to public relations but is also enhanced by the integration of vocabulary for academic purposes. The book also has a strong use of visuals to orientate and trigger the acquisition and use of vocabulary. Most of the exercises have a strong oral component, which is so important in ESP and especially in public relations. The author also stresses the importance of vocabulary awareness and repetition, which facilitates individual pacing. Although the book does not emphasize it, grammar is not neglected either but rather emphasized in contextualized situations through functional chunks. In general, the book can be adapted perfectly to individual or class teaching, so teachers instructing large classes or those in individual tutoring will find strong support in the textbook and the listening activities.

I also found the teacher’s book very supportive and full of stimulating ideas. Each page reproduces the student’s book through a snapshot which guides the teacher’s actions and helps teaching to a great extent. Additional explanations in each unit facilitate teaching for those practitioners who may lack adequate experience and those who have been teaching in this area for some time alike. The teacher’s book also has an additional section where games, pairwork, roleplays and other original activities can be found.

The book is aimed at both in-service and pre-service professionals. In fact, due to the basic contents and problem-solving approach of certain sections, this book will prove much more than a language textbook by serving as an ideal tool for CLIL courses. In this sense, it differentiates itself from books of the same type and scope which generally aim at either content or language. The practicality of its exercises and the emphasis on specific language leads to a balance between content and language practice. As I said at the beginning, the book fills a gap that was necessary to cover in current ESP teaching in a globalized world. I am sure that prospective users will find English for Public Relations as valuable a title as I did and will enjoy teaching with it.

Reviewed by Jesús García Laborda for September 2012
Dr Jesús García Laborda teaches in the Masters of EFL teaching and the Faculty of Business at Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid, Spain). His main research interests are testing and CALL.

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