Review ~ Writing from Within 1 Teacher’s Manual

An invaluable guide for instructors using “Writing from Within 1”, including lots of information and tips.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Margaret Bade
Writing from Within 1 Teacher’s Manual

Writing from Within 1 Teacher’s Manual

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 and tips on using the units in the Student’s Book and to give teachers an insight into how the authors envisage each unit being taught, ways of dealing with mixed and similar class levels, and their ideas on homework and how to evaluate students’ writing. It is therefore essential reading for any teacher before embarking on using the Student’s Book.

We find here further guidelines for the purpose of the journal – an option for teachers who want their students to do additional writing, and reasons why the authors chose to teach grammar and vocabulary indirectly through exercises, with students asked to notice key grammatical forms and vocabulary items. These are helpful for teachers who welcome background information and practical hints to help their teaching.

Reading the Teacher’s Manual will save time for the teacher when preparing lessons for the units. A quick glance at the Key Points section for each unit explains what students gain from each one; it also points out skills and techniques which students have already learned in previous units. Reading the information on each unit would allow a teacher to decide which units to teach and which to omit. For example, the Teacher’s Manual tells us that the units are graded and that features from one unit are recycled in subsequent ones. Similarly, a list of the minimum set of exercises to be completed for each unit is given.

Although teachers might work these points out for themselves, anything that saves time and gives supplementary ideas on how to teach parts of the units will be welcomed by teachers. Useful Language for the units is also given. For example, in Unit 8 (Movie Review), we are told that present and past tense verb forms, adjectives to describe movies, and pronouns will be used. In Unit 5 we are told that Useful Language for the unit includes prepositions of place and the connector “because”. In Unit 9 the Useful Language includes vocabulary to describe people and personalities, “will” and “would like”, and “so” to connect sentences. Quite apart from the answer key that it provides, Writing from Within 1 Teacher’s Manual is an invaluable guide for instructors on the use of the student book.

Reviewed by Margaret Bade for Teflnet June 2012
Margaret Bade lectures in the Advanced English Programme at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

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