English for Work and the Workplace examines the communicative language needs of workers worldwide. There are twelve articles in this book, written by teacher researchers based all over the world (with the notable exception of North America). The focus is varied, from local case studies and workplace needs assessment to more fundamental questions as to the status of language education in lifelong learning.
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50 Steps to Improving Your Academic Writing
50 Steps to Improving Your Academic Writing offers students a step-by-step guide for creating well written and well-structured academic appropriate writings for non-native speakers of English. While addressing issues to writing and common problems students face when understanding the various steps involved in creating quality writing including: avoiding plagiarism, the differences in academic writing versus other forms of writing, using unfamiliar words, and other special topics necessary to create solid work. Speakers of other languages are able to focus on their specific needs and goals in order to improve their academic writing and the book is a great academic aid for students and teachers alike.
50 Steps to Improving Your Academic Writing is, as stated in the introduction, “…primarily intended for students who are new to or inexperienced in academic writing (5)” and focuses on university-level academic writing. It is primarily a self-study book made for students to use on their own, but teachers can also use it to help plan lessons.
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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.
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Instant Academic Skills
The Instant Academic Skills photocopiable resource pack is a much needed collection of materials for busy instructors’ academic preparation courses. This resource book is the latest offering from the Cambridge Copy Collection, which has brought us such favorite titles as Instant IELTS and Pronunciation Games. It can be used as the basis of a whole course, or even better as a great supplementary book for prepared materials. The materials are aimed at Upper Intermediate to Advanced students, meaning it would suitable for students from a level of 5.5 on IELTS or who had passed the Cambridge FCE.
The book is clearly organized into thirty ready-to-teach lessons which are in five separate general areas: Business, Health and Medicine, Science and Technology, The Arts, and Education. Each area is covered in three units containing two lessons. A lesson has three worksheets and a page with the teacher’s notes. The notes include step-by-step instructions on how to use the material, along with suggested follow up activities. The teacher’s notes are conveniently opposite the worksheets so you don’t have to root around the back for the answers.
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Cambridge Academic English
For those who have had the experience of preparing students for academic study using a general English course book, the notion of a series that progressively aims to develop the kinds of skills necessary for tertiary study in an English-medium institution should be immediately compelling. With a market existing for a series, Cambridge’s three-level (B1+ to C1) integrated skills course for higher education students at university or on foundation courses has an audience ready and waiting for books that deliver the goods. This is a review of the Upper Intermediate (B2) title.
The good news is that, in designing this integrated skills book specifically for students at university and on EAP foundation courses, the author has given due attention to the type of language and the actual academic skills essential for successful university studies across a number of disciplines. Indeed, in promoting this new series, author Martin Hewings makes note of the
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Cambridge English for Nursing Pre-Intermediate
Professional skills require specific language knowledge and it’s essential that students can express themselves clearly and unambiguously in their working lives. I can imagine few situations where it’s more important to have a firm grasp of the language than in medical contexts.
Cambridge English for Nursing is a book aimed at Pre-Intermediate level communicators. The book is carefully structured so that there is a focus on vocabulary acquisition, key expressions and terminology. There are also audio texts to practise recognising and responding to situations. There are no specific grammar reviews in the book itself, simply a focus on functional and communicative language. I particularly liked seeing development of the expressions which enable a sensitive approach, as is essential for this caring profession.
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English for Psychology
When Garnet Education’s ‘English for Specific Academic Purposes’ series won the English Speaking Union’s English Language book award in 2009, it was an indication that the provision of quality resources for EAP had entered a new era. Having seen how Garnet Education have raised the bar in terms of ESP course books, I approached the Psychology volume with high hopes. Once again, they have delivered the goods.
The series, to which English for Psychology is a new addition, is a collection of skills-based courses designed specifically for non-native students who are about to enter English-medium tertiary-level studies. One of the major gripes that teachers have with course books is that they rarely fit the context in which they are being used. Garnet have firmly broken the mould with the series in general and with English for Psychology in particular. By aiming for a small target audience – this book is specifically for university students and not the psychology profession in general – the author has delivered a course book that will provide a strong foundation in the language of the field.
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ATC, ATCOs, ETOPS, METAR, TAF, ATIS, ALAR, ILS and VOR DME all sound like something we would be writing in a text message or internet lingo. In actual fact they are all aviation acronyms and can be found in Cambridge’s new Aviation English textbook, Flightpath, by Philip Shawcross. Flightpath is a course for students who are pilots and ATCOs (Air Traffic Control Officers) who need an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) level 4 qualification. Shawcross has been working in Aviation English for almost 40 years, so he knows his stuff. To add to the authenticity of this textbook, it was reviewed by a panel of aviation experts.
While the topics are a little daunting at first, when you look through the detailed contents page of this textbook you can quickly see that it is really well laid out and easy to use. The text itself is divided into four parts with a total of 10 units, and each unit is divided into Operational topics, Communication topics and Language content. The contents
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Engaging Writing: Essential Skills for Academic Writing 1 and 2 are designed to teach academic writing skills, with the two texts comprising a total of eleven thematic chapters. Topics range from level one’s accomplishments, occupations, and growing up in different cultures to level two’s units on role models, culture, identity, and homeland, and marriage and family. The textbook is designed for students of American English who have attained an intermediate (level one) to high intermediate or low advanced (level two) proficiency level.
Engaging Writing 1 contains six chapters, each of which begins with a reading and is followed by sections on the writing process and revising. The text does a fine job of preparing students for the respective reading passages
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Essential Business Vocabulary Builder
Having taken on a couple of new business groups, I was looking forward to the chance to road-test Essential Business Vocabulary Builder – and I wasn’t disappointed. Presentation-wise I wasn’t initially bowled over – its text-filled pages are not easy on the eye – and wondered how my students might react, but I was quickly put right. The strength of Emmerson’s text is not in pretty pictures or glossy pages, but in the depth of what it covers.
The main part of the book is split into three areas: Business Topics (companies and sectors, money and finance, management, etc), Effective Communication (Social English, Business Travel, Emails, etc) and a section looking at word families in a business context. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also speaking and writing practice sections linked to various lexical sets, and listening practice featuring both short phrases for practice of phonological aspects and longer listening comprehensions (the book comes with a CD). Somehow the author has managed to fit all this into less than 200 pages.
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Communicative Activities for EAP
I started teaching a new course this year at a private university, where I was asked to teach ‘speaking’ to first-year undergraduates in the first semester and ‘writing’ in the second semester. Apart from having a set of general aims and proposed outcomes for the course, which included EAP skills, I was pretty much left to my own devices in terms of planning the content. Coincidentally, I was also asked to review the present handbook of Communicative activities for EAP. So, I decided to plan the first semester using the activities from the speaking section of the book. This review is therefore based primarily on my experiences of using the tasks in the classroom and as such, should hopefully provide some practical information for teachers in similar situations.
The wide range of books in the same series as this title focus on providing practical activities, often using a particular task-type (e.g. dictation, discussion) or resource (e.g. dictionaries, literature). or focus on teaching a specific learner group (e.g. young learners). Step-by-step procedures with photocopiable materials mean teachers save time on planning and can adapt activities easily for their own teaching situations.
The present book has 6 chapters devoted to skills development: speaking, listening, reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar. Each chapter contains around 20 separate activities, and all focus on communicative activities for EAP – meaning topics are usually of an academic nature and the skills relate to those required at the tertiary level, e.g. research skills, presentations and writing essays. The level of the activities ranges from around intermediate level (one star in their three star system) and ending in quite advanced (three stars). For many exercises, the teacher needs to choose the actual text sources from websites etc, meaning the level can often be adjusted as necessary within these bounds.
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EAP now! Preliminary
EAP now! Preliminary is a textbook integrating a balance of skills and language and aimed at Intermediate students studying EAP (English for Academic Purposes) in a classroom context. This is possibly the first ‘textbook’ for EAP students that takes the successful formula for general language integrated-skills textbooks and applies it to EAP; but does it work?
EAP teaching is often defined by a focus on academic text-genres (e.g. research papers and critical essays) for developing awareness of language specific to academic discourse and learning skills for academic tasks (e.g. summarizing information and presenting findings). To do this, a reasonable level of ability with ‘general English’ is generally assumed necessary before starting to learn EAP.
However, many students want to get started as soon as possible on EAP, even when they are at the elementary stages of language learning. The question thus becomes how and when (if at all) do we combine the general with the academic? Take a typical grammar point at the intermediate level, modal verbs of possibility (may, might, could) – if students are aiming at studying English at the university level, do we teach these forms in contexts like ‘I might go to the cinema tonight, do you want to come, too?’ or ‘According to a recent article, Einstein’s theory of relativity may be incorrect’, or both? Should both contexts be taught in an EAP course, or be separated into general and EAP courses?
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Raise the Issues
Raise the Issues is subtitled ‘An Integrated Approach to Critical Thinking’. ‘Integrated’ means what it means in the TOEFL exam. Rather than being treated in isolation, the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are brought together, with students responding to spoken and written texts by speaking and writing themselves. Reading matter is drawn from American publications such as ‘The New York Times’ and audio recordings from the American ‘National Public Radio’ (NPR) syndicate, edited into pieces lasting approximately 3 minutes each. It is generally oriented towards classroom use, with many exercises involving group or pair work. There are ten units, each with a distinct ‘issue’ and they all follow a similar pattern. Topics include law, sports, education, immigration and genetics. There is an introductory section giving suggestions for usage, and a teacher’s book (although a copy was not available at the time of writing this review: I managed without it).
The first thing to say about Raise the Issues is that to get to most out of it, you will need the audio CD. There are some exercises that work without recourse to it, but there is so much cross referencing between text, audio and written exercises that you would be left with half a book or less. But this CD is expensive and hard to get hold of- mine had to be imported from the USA. If I were intending to use this book in a course, I would order the CD in good time before it started. It is a shame it is not included with the book.
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Professional English in Use: Engineering
Part of the major Cambridge “in use” series, this addition is one title from the Professional English in Use sub-series that includes vocabulary for Marketing, Finance, Medicine, Law. Thanks to the burgeoning popularity of ESP, you name it, Cambridge are writing a vocabulary book for it.
There are 45 units, with 9 themes, such as Design, Measurement and Energy. There are two pages per unit, with the right and left fulfilling different roles: The left page has words in context and the right page has exercises for the target items.
The texts in which the words are given in context are from textbooks, magazines or other sources. The target audience includes both engineering students and professional engineers. The level is Intermediate and above (B1-B2 CEF), so although the texts may be largely authentic they’re probably edited to keep the incidental lexis level down. The texts by and large read like an explanatory text from a textbook. For example,
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EAP Essentials is a comprehensive and pragmatic resource book for all teachers of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). The content is delivered in line with current learning methodologies – that is, it includes input sections followed by case study examples and tasks, many of which are reflective in nature, to involve the reader in a process of self-paced learning.
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EAP Essentials provides an excellent introduction to EAP, and is particularly useful for any teacher new to English for Academic Purposes. This book aims to provide a guide to principles and practice, and is designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice. It achieves these aims through a measured blend of rationale, practical tasks and a selection of interesting case studies.
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Introduction to International Legal English
Introduction to International Legal English is targeted toward intermediate-level learners who are either studying or currently practicing law. It focuses on commercial law vocabulary, since this is the most widely used in the International Legal Community.
While this text and CDs are not a preparation for the ILEC exams, they should provide a good lead in for those headed that direction, as Krois-Lindner and TransLegal are also responsible for the exam prep text, International Legal English.
Each of the book’s 10 units focuses on a different area of commercial law and the book provides 3 actual
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Part of the "Cambridge English for..." series
Teachers flipping through the pages of any one of the books in this attractive new series from Cambridge – Cambridge English for Nursing, Cambridge English for the Media, Cambridge English for Engineering, and Cambridge English for Job-hunting – will likely be transported to memories of in-company classes in their past: Classes in which they struggled to find material that was truly appropriate for their students, whether for lack of time or lack of knowledge of a particular field. In my case, the most noteworthy of these was a class of six beautiful young women working in a PR firm who yawned uncontrollably with the general Business English photocopy material I mawkishly cobbled together each week. Oh, Cambridge English for the Media, where
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Cambridge English for Job-hunting
Cambridge English for Job-hunting takes students step by step through the process of applying for a job in English. The first chapter looks at preparing to apply and understanding job adverts then chapters two and three aim at producing a CV and cover letter. The remaining three chapters look at interview skills, including telephone interviews and how to follow up on either success or rejection. It is aimed at upper intermediate and advanced (CEFR B2-C1) learners and comes with two audio CDs. A teacher book and extra activity sheets are available as PDF downloads from the publisher’s website.
Students with clear goals will find this course very useful, and when it is finished they will have a usable CV, a polished cover letter and a good idea of what to expect in an interview. I was especially impressed by the outcome of the chapter on
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Apart from boasting one of the longest, most acronym-heavy bibliographic references in the history of TEFL.net reviews, this collection of 22 articles is brimming with ideas and experiences of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) practitioners from across the globe.
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