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Reviews - January 2017

Jetstream Upper Intermediate
Jeremy Harmer and Jane Revell, Helbling;

This new adult general English course is full of interesting topics including film heroes and villains and the Montessori method of education. It also includes deliberately controversial discussions such as immigration and the refugee crisis which should be approached cautiously. The twelve units include ideas for online research and opportunities for students to make videos with their smartphones or cameras. I especially like the collocation activities: students study extracts from several ‘concordance lines’ and work out the missing keyword from context. The six-module writing section is well-structured.

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Book of the Month - December 2016

Phonology for Listening – Teaching the stream of speech

Richard Cauldwell, Speech in Action;


Learners have problems decoding fast, spontaneous speech. The author of this ground-breaking book uses a framework called the ‘window on speech’ to analyse what happens to words when they are subjected to the speed and stresses of natural speech.

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Reviews - November

Mixed-Ability Teaching
Edmund Dudley and Erika Osváth, OUP;

This is a 112-page practical guide for teachers in primary and secondary school settings. The introduction sensibly points out that ‘to some degree, all classes are mixed ability’. The eight sections cover a range of areas such as classroom management, using L1 and assessment. The book shows how collaborative ways of working can promote a positive classroom atmosphere. It provides differentiated learning activities and is packed with practical ideas. For example, ‘traffic-lights’ involves students using red, orange or green cups to indicate the level of help they need with a particular task. Includes an excellent list of useful websites. Recommended.

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Reviews - December 2016

Unlock – Reading and writing skills 3g
Carolyn Westbrook, CUP / Discovery Education;

This new English for academic purposes course book draws on corpus research, using the Cambridge English Corpus to identify which academic vocabulary to cover at B1 level. Each of the ten units starts with a stimulating picture and a set of questions to engage learners, and includes a thought-provoking video from Discovery Education.

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The lower the age, the higher the quality

Emily Hird looks at a text for teachers of young learners

Teaching English to Young Learners: Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3–12 year olds
Edited by Janice Bland, Bloomsbury Academic;

This volume sets out to address the issue that, despite young learners significantly outnumbering adults studying English, adult learners remain the default focus in most EFL teacher training, syllabus design, classroom methodology and research. This authoritative work therefore provides research-based analyses of the particular methodologies and issues most relevant to primary and pre-primary English language teaching contexts.

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ESU English language awards winners

Matt Salusbury looks at the victors and contenders who fought for glory at this year’s English Speaking Union awards.

The English Speaking Union (ESU) English Language Awards for outstanding ELT resources is back. After ‘resting’ for a year, the ESU’s awards return in a new format with four categories replacing the original two. We’ll know who the winners are shortly after we go to press, with the awards to be presented at a ceremony at the historic Dartmouth House in London’s Mayfair.

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Book of the Month - November 2016


Discussions and More
Penny Ur, Cambridge University Press;

The original handbook Discussions that Work came out in 1981. This 142-page second edition is fully revised and adds new ideas suitable for younger and lower-level learners. The activities are designed to provide meaningful language practice. Clear procedures are provided alongside variations and follow-up ideas wherever appropriate.

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