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Review ~ Progressive Skills in English
Reviewed Jul 2013 by Clare Welch
Progressive Skills in English

Progressive Skills in English

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.
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Review ~ ESOL Activities: Pre-entry
Reviewed Jan 2013 by Saul Pope
ESOL Activities

ESOL Activities

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.
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Review ~ English Unlimited (A1)
Reviewed Dec 2010 by Glenda Inverarity

English Unlimited

English Unlimited

English Unlimited (starter) is a fresh new approach to teaching and learning English because the main goal of the course is to achieve specific communicative goals which are then broken down into smaller goals that are the overt starting point for each of the ten units. Importantly, the goals are based on the CEF curriculum descriptors then adapted and supplemented from the authors’ research. This course has been planned to be practical, authentic, international and flexible.

It is practical because it has been designed around the CEF requirements for the course. Therefore when the students complete this course they will be able to move from this A1 level to A2. It is authentic because the author based it on the Cambridge International Corpus. This means that they searched the corpus for the most common words and expressions that can be introduced for this level of student. Likewise, the grammar and keyword sections have utilized this researched approach to authentic language. The author has made it a truly international course by using speakers of English with a variety of accents and features in every unit that address culture. Finally, it is flexible because the first six pages of each unit could be used for a 40 hour course and the additional two pages could be added on if the course length is 50 to 60 hours. Should the course be 90 hours, there is additional material in the teacher’s book for a further extension.
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Elementary Language Practice
Reviewed May 2010 by Glenda Inverarity

Elementary Language Practice presents 77 units of grammar practice and 13 “checkpoint” units that consolidate previous units that have been grouped together. The grammar is presented in good progression, beginning with present simple of be before moving onto present continuous, past simple, past continuous, present perfect and future. With the tenses completed, the units then present topics such as passive, imperatives, gerunds, contractions, modals, plural nouns, prepositions, pronouns, possession, adjective order, adverbs, and much more before
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New English File (beginner)
Reviewed Mar 2010 by James Taylor
New English File

New English File

There has been a great deal of recent discussion about the value of textbooks. On various blogs and discussion forums, educators have been debating the merits of textbooks (Oxford’s New English File range being one), and their role in the classroom. The overriding view among a number of experienced educators is that an over-reliance on these books is indicative of a lack of imagination, effort or ability on the part of the teacher and it is his or her duty to create lessons that are more closely tailored to the needs of the students. It is felt that a dependence on a textbook does more than just provide a teacher with a framework, rather it provides him or her with a straitjacket. I’d like to suggest an alternative to that viewpoint. I believe that the best course books (and in my opinion, the New English File series is one of the best available) can allow inexperienced and untrained teachers a valuable support system which can lead to successful teaching.
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New Framework Elementary and Pre-Intermediate
Reviewed May 2009 by Lydia Schrandt

If you ask any English language teacher what they find most frustrating about their textbook, many of the complaints would probably be the same: it’s outdated, the language isn’t natural, it doesn’t have enough material, etc. This new edition of the Framework course has updated content and artwork that give the material
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Reviewed Oct 2008 by Vikki Williams

Authors: Herbert Puchta & Jeff Stranks, et al.
Published by:
Cambridge University Press
Components reviewed:
Student’s book

This is a general English textbook using British English designed for Junior High School Students. However, I have used it with a group of older students who are false-beginners. Both the students and I have enjoyed using this book.

The units are designed to practise all four language skills. The topics are relevant (especially to teenagers) and are set out in an easily-navigable form. There are numerous examples of the target language and good use of colour photographs, pictures and text make for a visually interesting book. Grammar is presented simply and there are ample opportunities for
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Language Leader Elementary
Reviewed Sep 2008 by Dave Allen

Publisher: Pearson Longman

Components: Coursebook and CD-ROM, Class CD, Teacher’s Book and Test Master CD-ROM, Workbook and Audio CD

Authors: Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees (Course book and Class CD), John Waterman (Teacher’s Book), D’Arcy Adrian-Vallance (Workbook)

Summary: The book has a truly global feel to it, and this is possibly its most unique selling point as a general English coursebook.
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Just Right American Edition Elementary
Reviewed Sep 2008 by Troy Teshirogi

Components: Student’s book, Student’s Audio CD, Workbook, Workbook CDs, Teacher’s book, Class CD
Jeremy Harmer, Carol Lethaby, Ana Acevedo
Marshall Cavendish Publishing
Just Right will help the elementary student gain ability and confidence in English without a lot of fuss and pain.

This will sound a little cliched, but the title of this new series from Marshall Cavendish certainly fits.  It is “just right” for elementary students – not too wordy, not too simplistic, not too goofy.  Just Right covers the usual EFL territory of grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading and writing – all with a contemporary flair and a kind of
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