October 01, 2004
October 01, 2004
When I first starting teaching ESL in the 60's, the Israeli Board of Education was using short story books (This Wide World, New Horizons) as high school ESL textbooks. Each story was followed by comprehension questions, but no language exercises - teachers were expected to write their own! When I became a partner in an English language institute, the adult classes were using Robert Dixon's grammar books as course books, supplemented by photocopied dialogues (In The Bank, At The Post Office, etc.) and these were considered conversation courses!
I approach each new ELT catalogue with the delight of a child in a candy store!
ELT publishing has come a long way in the past four decades: To meet the ever-increasing needs of a burgeoning industry, it has been turning out very professionally-done materials at an extraordinary pace. No wonder, then, that I approach each new ELT catalogue with the delight of a child in a candy store!
Nowadays, there is a vast selection of course books for every age group and ESL level to choose from - most of them accompanied by audiocassettes, some by videocassettes, CD's and, most recently, interactive material; there are ESP (English for Specific Purposes) course books for an incredibly wide range of particular needs; there is supplementary material graded readers, music, word games to complement almost any teaching style.
Selecting appropriate material is one of the crucial factors in the success of a course. Note that I said 'appropriate', not 'good'. Almost all of the material being produced nowadays is of high quality; the question is how to determine which EFL material is most suitable for your student/s. To best accomplish this, let me suggest the following:
Miriam Lavi is the author of the popular e-guide How to Become a Personal ESL Trainer. For more information, check out her website www.esltrainers.com.