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Review ~ Practical Grammar 3

Practical Grammar offers students of intermediate to high-intermediate proficiency level the opportunity to improve their accuracy by embedding grammatical rules in real-life situations. The text would be best used for self-study or as a supplementary text for students of British English.
Reviewed for TEFL.net by Sara Randrianasolo
Practical Grammar 3

Practical Grammar 3

Practical Grammar is a three-part series, the third of which is reviewed herein. The textbook is designed for students of British English, with the third level focusing on those who have an intermediate to high-intermediate level of English proficiency. As such, the book shifts its content from introducing new grammatical forms to improving accuracy of use with known grammatical rules.

The textbook itself is broken down into 100 units, with groups of four units focusing on different grammatical points and every fifth unit being a review of the preceding four. For example, units 71 through 74 cover reported speech; reported statements; reported questions, requests, instructions and orders; and reporting verbs respectively, and are followed by a review in unit 75.

A particularly refreshing feature of Practical Grammar is its use of real-life scenarios at the beginning of each unit. These texts and short conversations offer students a glimpse of each grammatical point being used in appropriate contexts. The inclusion of such material seems a ready answer to the ever-persistent push toward developing students’ communicative competence and should be a welcomed attribute to all those claiming their allegiance to communicative language teaching. Such dialogues are further exemplified by Practical Grammar’s inclusion of two audio CDs, with which students can listen to the language being spoken by native speakers.

Beyond its use of grammar in real-life contexts, Practical Grammar looks like most other grammar books on the market. Grammatical points are introduced briefly, followed by a series of exercises (e.g. open and banked clozes, matching, drills, and translations) with most units containing one exercise that requires use of the enclosed audio CDs.

As you might expect, the text is fully functional for self study, especially with the inclusion of the mypg online component at myelt.heinle.com. Practical Grammar is also well-suited for classroom use. However, if it were used as anything beyond a supplementary material it would require creativity on the part of the teacher as otherwise it would likely be perceived as dry by students (a challenge facing most grammar books). The authors do offer some practical suggestions for teachers using the textbook, including ways of working through the exercises, as well as notes on assessing student progress.

All in all, Practical Grammar is a refreshing attempt to contextualize grammar in a way that allows students to see its everyday importance. Teachers of British English, whose students are at the intermediate to high-intermediate proficiency level, would likely find Practical Grammar to be a useful resource or supplementary text.

Reviewed for TEFL.net by Sara Randrianasolo
June 2011 | Filed under Grammar
Sara Randrianasolo is a Ph.D. student in Purdue University’s Second Language Studies/ESL Program and is the International Student Services Administrator for Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts. Her research includes the application of distance learning technologies to ESL courses.