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The book of the month: March 2018

book of the month

Scott Thornbury’s 30 Language Teaching Methods
Scott Thornbury CUP
ISBN: 978-1-108-40846-2

We usually study different methods (grammar-translation, audiolingualism, communicative language teaching) in chronological order, alongside so-called ‘marginal’ methods (Suggestopedia, the Silent Way). Instead, this pocket-sized 130-page book groups methods by what they have in common. This categorisation results in six sections including natural, linguistic, communicative and self-study methods. Finally, there is a short ‘beyond methods’ section focusing on ‘principled eclecticism’. This innovative approach helps to identify underlying beliefs and any potential benefits of the methods; each one is succinctly described and assessed. Thornbury concludes that, in a way, ‘All methods are eclectic.’ The book includes information on superhuman polyglots and some bizarre techniques. Many methods were new to me, including Crazy English and Prendergast’s ‘mastery system’. This easy-to-read account should help us evaluate current practice. Fascinating.