Short Book Reviews
Hanna Kryszewska, Poland
Hanna Kryszewska is a teacher, teacher trainer, trainer of trainers. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Gdańsk, and EU Teacher Training College where she trains pre-service teachers. She is co-author of resource books: Learner Based Teaching, OUP, Towards Teaching, Heinemann, The Standby Book, CUP, Language Activities for Teenagers, CUP, The Company Words Keep, DELTA Publishing, and a course book series for secondary schools: ForMat, Macmillan. She is also co-author of a video based teacher training course: Observing English Lessons. Hania is a Pilgrims trainer and editor of HLT Magazine.
Helbling Readers Fiction. Helbling Languages (2013). e.g. Jack’s Endless Summer. Martyn Hobbs ISBN-13: 97831-85272-572-7, pp 64, Grace, Romeo, Juliet and Fred. Martyn Hobbs ISBN- 978-3-85272-574-1, pp 64. Books in this new series of graded reading materials for teenagers come at five levels; the red series comes at three different KET levels, while the blue series at two PET levels. They are linked by the characters in the stories – the Westbourne kids. The stories are interesting and a good read, with a mix of narration, comic strips, stories within a story, text messages, letters etc. The learners become familiar with some lexis in the pre-reading tasks, as they read the story they can see new words marked with a dot (and explained at the back of the book in the glossary); they can also listen to the whole story and do some activities available on an accompanying audio CD. Finally there are some after reading activities. The readers are pleasant to the eye thanks to nice, modern, cartoon-style illustrations with careful page design. I am sure they will be popular among young learners as additional reading material.
Managing Projects. B. Dignen. DELTA Publishing. (2012). ISBN 9780-1-905085-66-8, pp128. This book has been published in the International Management Series which is an innovative series which aims at preparing professionals for work in an international context. This particular publication is intended for people who take part in international projects in which English is the working language. The areas addressed by the book include starting a project, managing a project, keeping it on track, building good communication and dealing with conflict. There is a strong emphasis on communicative and intercultural competences. The book starts with a learning diary and needs analysis. Each unit has a strong listening component with voices of speakers of English who come from different English speaking countries and non-native speakers who use English as a lingua franca. There is also a strong lexical component with focus on whole phrases rather than on individual words; these are summed up in the language reference at the end of each unit. Features I really like are the case studies, project management tips and personal action plan. For sample pages go to:
Leading People. S. Flinders. DELTA Publishing. (2012). ISBN 9780-1-905085-67-5, pp112. This book, along with the title above, has been published in the International Management Series which is an innovative series which aims at preparing professionals for work in an international context. This particular publication is intended for people whose professional role involves running and leading teams. The topics in the book include becoming a better manager, building a team, getting and giving direction, defining roles and representing a team. A strong point of the series is its emphasis on communicative and intercultural competences. The book follows the same pattern as Managing Projects, characteristic for the series; it starts with a learning diary and needs analysis, and has language reference and tips for becoming a better manager at the end of each unit. The book contains a transcript of the listening material and a key, so it could be used for self study as well as in class. For sample pages go to:
Spotlight on Learning Styles. M. Rosenberg. DELTA Publishing. (2013). ISBN 9780-1-905085-71-2, pp120. This book is published in the well established DELTA Teacher Development Series. The aim of the book is to give an overview of some well known learning styles: VAK (Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic), Global-Analytic and Mind Organisation. It also takes on board the issues of learning styles versus teaching styles. The book contains many language activities which address the various learning styles in a practical, fun and hands on way. Many of the activities are adaptations of activities from other sources and sometimes the author overlooks to acknowledge the source, like in the case of running dictation. Information is given on the style and language focus of each activity, but there is no indication of duration, age or level, but surely they can be adapted to various age groups or levels. In section C the author briefly looks at some other approaches such as 4MAT Systems, Multiple Intelligences, and NLP beyond VAK. The resource book will be a useful compendium for pre-service and young in-service teachers who want to get a sound foundation and awareness of learning styles, as well as implement them in their classes. For sample pages and interview with the author go to:
A Course in English Language Teaching. A completely revised and updated edition. P. Ur. Cambridge (2012). ISBN 978-1-107-68467-6. pp 326. The book is an updated and revised edition of the best selling book A Course in Language Teaching. Practice and theory first published in 1996. When you compare the two books you can see that some of the chapter titles are the same ( e.g. teaching listening, teaching reading, teaching writing), some are revised (e.g. teaching pronunciation is now included in teaching speaking, lesson planning is now called lesson preparation), some are new (e.g. English teaching today), and finally some have been reorganised (e.g. learner differences). The new topics highlighted by the author are English as an international language, language acquisition theories, using digital supplementary materials and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), and indeed they are a true addition to the book. I agree the book has been updated although some new important and influential theories or new areas in ELT are only touched upon (e.g. the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Corpus Linguistics) or overlooked (special educational needs, teaching critical thinking). However, to be fair, even a publication this size, cannot cover all the aspects of ELT. The book is snappy, reads well, is very clear, and it has a good balance of theory and practice.
English Language Teaching Matters. M. Berman, M. Belak and W. Rimmer. (2011) O-Books. ISBN 978-1-84694-411-6, pp 220. The book is a collection of articles and teaching ideas coming from the late Michael Berman, a teacher, teacher trainer and writer, with contributions from Wayne Rimmer and Mojca Belak ( in the appendices). The topics in the book look at various approaches to language teaching, including Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The book explores classroom dynamics, planning lessons, using humour, stories and urban myths, teaching writing and lexis. There is a good balance of practice and underpinning theory. Wayne’s contribution deals with telling tales to teenagers, whereas Mojca’s text looks a using choice theory in ELT. Every teachers and trainer will find inspiration in this very special book.
Teacher Research in Language Teaching. A critical analysis. S. Borg. Cambridge. ( 2013). ISBN 978-0-521-15263-1, pp 254. This book is published in the well established series: Cambridge Applied Linguistics (series editors C.A. Chapelle and S. Hunston). The focus of the book is how language teachers carry out research and what kind of published research they are interested in reading. What transpires is that there is a corelation between interest in research and teaching quality. The book presents a sound theoretical basis, ways in which teacher research can be conducted, and how carrying out research can be promoted more effectively. Highly recommended for those who are considering carrying out research in ELT, and who supervise such research.
Please check the Methodology and Language for Primary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Methodology and Language for Secondary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the How to be a Teacher Trainer course at Pilgrims website.