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Reviews - June 2016

Penny Ur’s 100 Teaching Tips

PENNY UR, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS; 978-1-3165-0728-5

The author’s intention in this slim 120-page volume is to pass on many of her experience-based insights, saving teachers having to re-invent the wheel. She succeeds. Each tip is given a complete page, and the book covers nineteen areas – including error correction, discipline, games, pronunciation and testing. The inclusion of academic references provides weight to the advice, allowing further exploration. I like the catchy counter-intuitive approach of some tips (‘Don’t give homework at the end,’ ‘Don’t always pre-teach vocabulary’). There are sound ideas for integrating technology where appropriate, such as using SMS texting. A wealth of experience, presented clearly and concisely. 

Gateway B1

David Spencer, Macmillan;

978-0-230-72344-3

This general English course is for students working towards school-leaving exams, and appropriately includes an extensive focus on study skills. Gateway contains ten units, plus regular review pages. The topics are generally stimulating and engaging; for example, learning to speak Klingon, translations of the Harry Potter novels and making silicon chips. I like the use of the Macmillan star system to show the frequency of vocabulary in the wordlists. The CLICK strand provides input in cross-curricular areas, culture and literature. The coursebook comes with extensive digital support. It is full of interesting content, and should appeal to the target learners. Recommended.