Language Leader Pre-Intermediate

Components: Course book and CD-ROM, Class CD, Teacher’s Book and Test Master CD ROM, Workbook and Audio CD Authors: Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees. Publisher: Pearson Longman Summary: For learners who ‘only want to talk’ this is probably not the best textbook. But for students who ‘want to learn’, Language Leader is a very solid […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Dave Allen

Components: Course book and CD-ROM, Class CD, Teacher’s Book and Test Master CD ROM, Workbook and Audio CD
Authors:
Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees.
Publisher:
Pearson Longman
Summary
: For learners who ‘only want to talk’ this is probably not the best textbook. But for students who ‘want to learn’, Language Leader is a very solid and inspiring series.

Review:
As this is my third review of this series, I’ll approach it from the perspective and impressions of my students.

The texts have generally been well-received by the students – the themes are universal and get the students thinking. Take the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki, Mother Teresa and Stephen Hawking, for example.

The scenario section is where the students may really feel that they are using English for a purpose. This is where they have the opportunity to develop their fluency and to re-use vocabulary which they have learnt. I have alternated between including the language focus before and after the main task – this is because sometimes weaker groups get overloaded with the task input, language required and then, the new language presented before the task.

The CD-ROM is a big-hit with many of my younger students or those who tend to use a computer a lot at work or at home. Of course, there is still a percentage of learners who would prefer to plunge nine-inch nails into their eyes than go near a computer – however these are quite rare in my classes overall and once students see that the activities are somewhat ‘game-like’, they get quite enthusiastic about them.

The students have responded well to most of the communicative activities found in the teacher’s book when I have used them to support learning and give extra practice of language points. In fact these have been some of the most lively parts of the class. The communicative speaking activities at the end of some units have also been particularly successful.

As usual there are some learners who don’t mix well with an inductive approach to learning – thus the grammar presentations sometimes need to be approached with care, and more traditional presentations are sometimes required. Some learners also seem to want more ‘everyday English’ and conversation snippets, which the coursebook doesn’t explicitly seem to have so much of. However, where some texts give a lot of phrases and little material to stimulate the conversations, this text has plenty of opportunity to develop conversations on almost every page.

For learners who ‘only want to talk’ this is probably not the best textbook. But for students who ‘want to learn’, Language Leader is a very solid and inspiring series. It is a good choice for students wishing to learn general English but who think they may need English for academic or business in the future. As for teachers, I am sure most of you will enjoy using this book.

Reviewed for Teflnet by Dave Allen
October 2008 | Filed under Level B

One Comment on “Language Leader Pre-Intermediate”

  1. EJ Sepp Says:

    I have been teaching ESL for 19 years and have used so many course books at various levels. For the last year I’ve been using Language Leader Pre-Int at a school in New York City. It is my opinion that this is one of, if not the worst book I have ever had to use. This is a strong opinion and I don’t expect everyone will agree, but I have three serious problems with using this book in the United States or any country, for that matter.

    1. The listening sections are absurd. The “actors” they use have the most incredibly strange accents. They constantly try to mimic American and Australian accents but the actors are clearly neither and they do a horrible job. In the first unit which is about the fascinating topic of weather, the word HURRICANE is pronounced by everyone in the segment. They are supposed to be American’s in Florida. The absurdity of this is fantastically annoying and sets the book off on a bad note. It just gets worse as things move along and I have taken to completely ignoring all the listening in this book at this point. It’s useless as far as I’m concerned.

    2. The topics are not appropriate for Pre-Intermediate students. They are dry and uninteresting for the most part and cover things that the majority of my Asian students are not interested in. A good example is a 2-page lesson about Steven Hawking that, while it could have worked if done properly, is excruciatingly boring and much too complex for the level.

    3. The grammar points are not paced well. This book goes from basic verbs (up to the present perfect) to conditionals, which would be fine except that the subtleties of the conditionals are for high-intermediate students while the basic tenses are just that…basic. The grammar point worksheets in the back are awful too. The Instructions for 2nd Conditions teach using WAS for first and third person verbs in the IF clause as the primary way to do it! I was appalled at how backward that was.

    I cannot recommend that anyone use this book.

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