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Summertown's 'Success with BEC' textbook series

Posted: 06 Jul 2009, 12:01
by gec
I am preparing to teach both Vantage and Higher from September using the 'Success with BEC' series of textbooks, having previously taught with the 'Pass...' series from Summertown. I have twenty-six 135 minute lessons.
Having planned the first few units for Vantage, I can see that the Business Topic and Business Skills parts of the modules each have enough material for a single lesson. With 12 units, these will take 24 lessons to teach, leaving no time for the Exam Spotlight parts of units (with material for 60 minutes or so), and little time for revision.
I am wondering what other teachers do - beyond the obvious answer of making selective use of materials (and setting some for homework) in order to go faster!
Have others found it possible to complete the second and third parts of a unit in a similar time to the first part?
Thanks for any thoughts from people with experience with these books.

Re: Summertown's 'Success with BEC' textbook series

Posted: 07 Jul 2009, 06:50
by gec
I contacted the publisher yesterday, who in turn very kindly contacted two of the authors - who equally kindly gave me their time and well considered views. I've reproduced them below in case anyone else might benefit from them...

Re: Summertown's 'Success with BEC' textbook series

Posted: 07 Jul 2009, 06:51
by gec
There is a lot of material in the books and I'm glad that we erred that way, rather than put in too little, although I'm sorry it has left you with this conundrum.

For me three things are essential:
1) that students understand exactly what is expected of them in the exam. This means class time must be devoted to going through at least the first part of the the Exam Spotlight sections that deals with the description of and then strategies for each paper and section. You could then get them to do the exam practice itself for homework.
2) that students learn actively the vocabulary necessary for talking about a particular topic - this tends to be at the beginning of each unit
3) that students get masses of speaking and writing practice. The writing can be done outside class (but the preparation should be done in class). The speaking and the teaching of the functional language that will facilitate a mini-presentation or a mini-meeting must also be done in class.

I would begin to build my syllabus on these premises and then see what else (in particular reading tasks) I could fit in around it. So selection of a reading text to use in class within a unit may be determined by length, but more probably would be determined by how much class discussion it is likely to generate. The listenings may not be so generative but need to be given priority since students need as much listening practice as possible
I hope this is helpful
Best wishes
Paul Dummett (Success with BEC Higher)

Re: Summertown's 'Success with BEC' textbook series

Posted: 07 Jul 2009, 14:26
by gec
And from John Hughes, the author of Success with BEC Vantage:

"If I understand your situation correctly, you are preparing students on a relatively intensive program. In which case I'm afraid I have to give you the 'obvious answer' of making selective use in order to go faster and this is what other teachers do.

However, with regard to what you use, I think you have to make sure you do the Exam Spotlight sections in class because you need to be certain that all the students are familiar with every part of the exam and know the exam techniques they need. If this then means that certain parts might be missed from elsewhere in the units I'd set homework from the book. Typically, the section where students can do the work on their own is from the opening Business Topic spread where there is usually a reading and some vocabulary work. My approach would be to ask students to study at home before the lesson where I intend to start the unit. That way, I can still do any speaking tasks with the students and talk about the reading which they have prepared.

I appreciate this isn't the ideal way but - as usual with teaching - there usually has to be some compromise involved!
John Hughes (Success with BEC Vantage)"