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Recent books and resources

December 27, 2008

Hello again,

The ELT publishing industry forges ahead showing no sign as yet of suffering from the recession. Over the last two years a wealth of material ...

...has been produced. Often it feels as if publishers are just reinventing the wheel: I mean how many new dictionaries and grammar workbooks do we really need? However, there are some genuinely innovative approaches and the best publishers know how to combine publishing platforms to give teachers a really flexible package. I thought I would review a here for those who are looking for to replenish their materials.

The big players such as O.U.P and C.U.P continue to find high standards among their authors and designers. I liked Working with Images, (C.U.P) by Ben Goldstein. The book comes with a CD-ROM containing 600 images. I have always loved using visuals in the classroom as students can interpret them in their own way, but it has always been difficult to access enough and in a suitable format, so this is very welcome.Goldstein says: “Images are hugely influential and create a more immediate impact on the viewer than a piece of text could ever do. But it’s important to not be seduced by them; we should encourage learners to look beyond the frame – in the same way as we can ‘read between the lines’ of a text. I think today’s learners appreciate such an approach. In a world in which images are so easily reappropriated by being Photoshopped, blogged or recontextualised in other ways, it seems to me the right direction to take.”

Macmillan’s English Grammar in Context, Michael Vince and Simon Clarke, does have a genuinely innovative approach to grammar in that it finds real examples from its database of corpora. It comes with a CD-ROM with interactive activities for learners. It also focuses on lexical grammar and thus I think genuinely takes grammar in a new direction.

I liked Business Communication Games by Anne Lloyd and Anne Preier for O.U.P. The challenge for business English teachers is often finding practice activities and this fits the bill nicely. It comes as a ring-bound set of thirty-six games and activities, each consisting of one or more photocopiable worksheets. It is entertaining without being childish and the lexical and functional indexes help teachers select the games most appropriate for their students.

Why not tell us about your choices from recent years?

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