Linguistic Imperialism by Robert Phillipson

Phillipson argues that the teaching of English is bound up with the spread of political and economic ideas and has been used to exploit developing countries.

An interesting academic book.

Flag Counter

Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill

This book, subtitled ‘Living Phonology’, de-mystifies phonology and provides a practical and accessible approach to teaching pronunciation in EFL classes.

Underhill sets out the phonemic chart in such a way that the symbols make sense. As you move through the chart making the discreet sounds you can feel the subtle changes in mouth shape and tongue position.

Part One, the ‘Discovery Toolkit’, leads you, step-by-step through how the sounds are physically made, how they come together in words with word stress and intonation and how pronunciation works in connected speech.

Part Two, the ‘Classroom Toolkit’, presents practical ways of teaching pronunciation in class: how to use the chart, correct errors and integrate pronunciation exercises into your everyday teaching.

This is a valuable resource for any teacher.

Have a look at Ask SharnHow can I learn the phonemic symbols?

Flag Counter

Lessons from Good Language Learners ed. Carol Griffiths

In 1975 Joan Rubin published an article in TESOL Quarterly entitled ‘What the “Good Language Learner” Can Teach Us’ examining the learner’s role in EFL. For too long, she argued, the focus had been on what teachers do in the classroom, rather than what students bring to it. She wanted to investigate what makes some students successful learners in an effort to isolate features which could be adopted by others. Her article has been credited with initiating research into learner and learning variables and their impact upon an individual’s language development.

This book, published over thirty years after Rubin’s initial article, brings together research findings into various aspects of learner and learning variables written by specialists in EFL and applied linguistics. The book is divided into two sections. The first looking at what impact  learner variables such as age, personality, motivation, IQ, beliefs and strategy use have on EFL success. The second section looks at learning variables such as vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and skills.

If you want to know more about why some students appear to be more successful than others and think about how to tailor your classes to meet a range of individual needs, you will find this an interesting, accessible source of up-to-date information. If you’re considering carrying out your own research in this area, you will find the descriptions of the studies done useful in clarifying your own methodology and useful questions for further research at the end of each chapter.

Flag Counter

If the World Were a Village

There are 6.7 billion people on this planet and when we try to talk about issues affecting people’s lives we can get lost in the numbers. But if we imagine the whole world as a village of just 100 people, it’s easier to understand.  That’s what this book does. It tells us that in this global village:

22 people speak Chinese

20 earn less than 65p a day

13 cannot read or write

only 34 always have enough to eat

25 have a TV in their homes

and much more.

The book looks at issues of education and economics, religion, languages, food distribution and energy use and puts this information in terms that are more easily understood.

An interesting factual book which will provide the basis of many discussions. Aimed at children it is in fact a book for everyone.

I’m recommending this for EFL for the rather flimsy reason that it has some nice uses of the 2nd conditional, it is not aimed at EFL and there is a lot of advanced vocabulary but with some changes it could be a useful, non-Anglo-centric, resource for more advanced conversation classes.

Flag Counter

Grammar for English Language Teachers: Martin Parrott

This is another book I hadn’t heard of until I started my DELTA course and it is another I wish I’d had before doing the CELTA. It is a reassuringly heavy book and an excellent resource for teachers. It covers words and tenses, sentence construction and phonology, providing clear explanations and exercises for teachers as well as information on problems that learners may have.

Flag Counter

About Language: Scott Thornbury

The CELTA’s too short, the DELTA’s too expensive and school INSET sessions tend to focus on methodology rather than language awareness…who teaches the teachers?

I didn’t come across this book until I started my diploma but it would have been useful when I started teaching. With exercises and answers it is a very clear, user-friendly text for anyone whose understanding of phonemes and prosody, tense and aspect, sentence structure, coherence and cohesion are maybe a little sketchy.

Flag Counter

Learner English: Michael Swan & Bernard Smith

A must-have text for all EFL teachers, this book is a practical reference guide examining the problems learners of different language backgrounds face when learning English. Each chapter looks at issues of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary and covers a range of languages.

Ship or Sheep: Ann Baker

This classic pronunciation course has been updated to make it more accessible for students studying independently. If you want to improve your English pronunciation then this book and Ann Baker’s other book, Tree or Three, are the books for you.

For extra practice and support have a look at Ship or Sheep Online. Also, check out our links page for more free materials to practice pronunciation.

You may find some more useful information in the Ask Sharn page: How can I improve my pronunciation?How can I learn the phonemic symbols?.

Tree or Three: Ann Baker

This is a classic EFL book from the author of Ship or Sheep, used in most language schools around the world to teach pronunciation. This updated version comes with a CD and is designed for self-study as well as classroom use. Although this is called an ‘Elementary Pronunciation Course’ learners of all abilities and all ages will find useful.

For extra practice and support have a look at Ship or Sheep Online. Also, check out our links page for more free materials to practice pronunciation.

You may find some more useful information in the Ask Sharn page: How can I improve my pronunciation?How can I learn the phonemic symbols?.

Using the Mother Tongue: Sheelagh Deller & Mario Rinvolucri

There has been fierce debate about the use of students’ first language in the EFL classroom. Most teacher training courses teach that the L1 should never be used in EFL teaching. However others claim that such a restriction is demoralising, infantilizing learners.

In learning a second language we use different mechanisms to learning our mother tongue and older learners (teenagers, adults) benefit from contrasting and analysing languages in a way that young children don’t. The general consensus among theorists is that limited use of the L1 in the classroom can be beneficial.

This book offers over a hundred activities exploiting L1 use in both monolingual and multi-lingual contexts. It includes activities that can be used even if you, the teacher, do not speak the students’ mother tongue. Try a few activities in class and it may open a whole new dimension to your teaching.