• Home
  • Search
    •  
  • Login
    • Username: Password:

      Did you miss your activation email?

Poll

If you were designing a course with an emphasis on speaking...

Interchange
1 (12.5%)
New Headway
1 (12.5%)
Cutting Edge
0 (0%)
Face2Face
1 (12.5%)
Other
5 (62.5%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Author Topic: Best Textbook  (Read 4331 times)

Calach Pfeffer

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 6693
Best Textbook
« on: February 08, 2010, 02:26:59 AM »
Vote for a textbook.  Something that works.  I potentially am designing a course, and may possibly be able to suggest any text book I like.  Which ones do you like?  Slam a series too if you wish.  If I have my way, the classes will be small, but more likely one will be staring down the barrel of 25 rich kid Chinese who somehow managed an IELTS score of 5.5.

For myself, I've seen and taken bits from Interchange, New Headway and Cutting Edge.  They're much of a muchness it seems to me, and I'd say any text book is great below Intermediate, but for Intermediate and above, the books I've seen can be tediously repetitive with necessary but dull grammar gap-fills and overwhelming readings.

Is there any textbook anywhere that somehow escapes the Intermediate level blues, the thing that happens to all language learners where they hit Intermediate and lose motivation?
Sniffing garbage...

Calach Pfeffer

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 6693
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 03:08:43 AM »
And for what it's worth, a bunch of archived reviews of tefl stuff:

http://www.tefl.net/reviews/archive.htm
Sniffing garbage...

Fozzwaldus

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1828
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 07:36:30 AM »
I'm using New Headway advanced here in Dublin with a group of Chinese students and it's going swimmingly!
 
I also must recommend New English File, which is very up-to-date, and fun to use for communicative classes. agagagagag
两只老外, 两只老外,跑得快,跑得快,
一个是老酒鬼,一个是老色鬼,真奇怪, 真奇怪

The Local Dialect

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3902
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 09:32:27 AM »
I like Cutting Edge, but it depends on the level of the students. Cutting Edge seems a bit more advanced. For IELTS 5.5 level it might be a bit much? But then I've never used the lower levels of Cutting Edge.

Interchange can very easily be made into an oral English course but unless you get the current edition, which isn't carried everywhere, it is really dated. It is also a bit on the boring side. It seems that with Interchange it is hard to choose the right level too. The earlier two levels seem in some ways very basic, but then if you skip up to a higher level you're suddenly into advanced grammar although the vocabulary is still fairly basic. You never really progress into actual disussion with Interchange I feel, it is always inane chit chat. 

I've been using Up Close with my 10th graders and I've really liked using this book so far. It is easy to turn the writing and reading activities into oral activities and there is a theme for each lesson which opens up good topics for discussion. Discussions can be as broad or as focused as you make them. Each unit also has a "project" type activity, something related to the theme of the lesson that can be done as a large class oral activity. I've used a lot of textbooks and only started with Up Close this year, but I've been pretty impressed with how easy it is to plan lessons around and how well it keeps the students' attention. 


Calach Pfeffer

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 6693
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 10:10:22 AM »
Back in the day, I had Headway books, lower intermediate and intermediate, and a Upper Intermediate Cutting Edge.  I agree on the Cutting Edge.  It was usually too much for freshman English majors, or perhaps that was just an inappropriate level.  And it's interesting to hear good reports on Headway.  Whether good or bad, it seemed repetitive and I didn't use it much.  However, I did use the New Headway Teacher's Resource book a lot.

I suppose too it would all have been different if the students had had copies too.  Me being the only person in the room with a book made a lot of the exercises heavy going, those rare times I dared.


What does IELTS 5.5 correlate to anyway?  Halfway between

6 Competent User

Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.


and

5 Modest user

Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.



So... broadly... Intermediate?
Sniffing garbage...

The Local Dialect

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3902
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 10:48:58 AM »
Yeah I would say a 5.5 is solidly intermediate. In terms of beginner, intermediate, etc. I would place 5 at low intermediate, 6 would be high intermediate, and 7 would be advanced. I used to do a lot of work with IELTS  -- although I'm not an examiner -- and it was only students at around band 5 level who started having some basic ability to communicate beyond day to day "which way to the bus stop" type English.

Stil

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 4801
    • ChangshaNotes
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 11:06:25 AM »
From a student point of view of IELTS scores

5.5 - not good enough and must take the whole test again
6.0 - good enough if they did well in other sections or are applying to a lower level school
6.5 - will be accepted to most schools unless they completely blow the writing part.

Calach Pfeffer

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 6693
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2010, 09:37:33 AM »
So who voted for Face2face?  And why?  (I have a vague memory of it having been mentioned before as a good series.)
Sniffing garbage...

Slim Pickens

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 181
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2010, 08:38:44 PM »
So who voted for Face2face?  And why?

That would be me.  I've used it on the General English course at my place of work in the UK.  I like the mix of activities, the CD recordings aren't too embarrassing, the layout of the book isn't messy, the teacher's book has some good suggestions for optional activities, and the workbook is excellent for setting homework.

The other book I like just as much, which Fozzwaldus mentioned, is New English File; it has a few sing-a-long activities to break up some of the units which students in my experience just love.

Larry Paradine

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 144
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 07:36:09 PM »
My first impression of Face2Face wasn't particularly favourable. However, I soon realised that my students liked it. They were adults who attended evening classes after a hard day at work (or just as tough a day at home looking after kids) and were too mentally fatigued to cope with the demands of more intensive course books.  Face2Face breaks up grammar and lexical sections into bite size chunks that tired students can digest, and varies the content of each lesson frequently enough to combat the onset of drowsiness (of course, a brilliant teacher could make even Headway seem interesting, but dull plodders like me need assistance from a well balanced textbook to keep somnolence at bay, and Face2Face fits the bill.) 

vexed

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 12:20:12 PM »
I recommend New English File as a good communicative book. However, Cutting Edge and Reward are good to use for their supplementary activities. At my old school we used NEF and Inside Out as our core books using CE, Reward, Headway and others as supplementary material. If you do decide to go with NEF then give me a shout as I have plenty of material that I made to go with particular units/language points.

Con ate dog

  • Benevolent Despot Wearing a Stupid Paper Hat That Says "Trainee"
  • *****
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010, 06:52:21 AM »
I voted Other so I could see how everyone else voted [yes, I could have found out without voting, I noticed just as I clicked).  I'd go with Inside Out, but then apart from New Interchange I've never used those other choices.
And there is no liar like the indignant man... -Nietszche

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. -William James

englishmoose.com

Larry Paradine

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 144
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2010, 07:48:15 AM »
One additional plus point for the New English File intermediate coursebook:  an office soap opera in episodes (one to each unit) on video.  The romance of Mark and Allie has female students enthralled, while their male peers can enjoy agreeing with the teacher that the couple's affair makes them want to throw up over the screen. 

El Macho

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 747
  • 东北人都是活雷锋
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2010, 08:35:04 PM »
Have any of you seen the text Focus On Vocabulary by Diane Schmitt available in China?

wanksitup

  • Ain't Said Much Yet
  • Posts: 2
Re: Best Textbook
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2016, 03:54:02 PM »
I recommend New English File as a good communicative book. However, Cutting Edge and Reward are good to use for their supplementary activities. At my old school we used NEF and Inside Out as our core books using CE, Reward, Headway and others as supplementary material. If you do decide to go with NEF then give me a shout as I have plenty of material that I made to go with particular units/language points.

Hey Vexed! Could you please let me know about the different material you've put together based on language points? I would be most appreciative if you could share this with me!! Please send me a message with the details!!! Thanks so much man, and I'm eagerly awaiting your reply!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 04:21:37 AM by wanksitup »