Friday, March 8, 2013

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Listening/Speaking Textbook Review

  • Pathways (National Geographic/Cengage) - I am just looking at this as a possible replacement for Q. The topics are more academic and science-based. For instance, instead of talking about the dangers of fast food and consumerism, the chapter includes graphs and numbers to talk about how many servings of vegetables people should have. It's a lot more authentic, and engaging.
  • Q: Skills for Success (Oxford) – We just switched to this series in January. So far I like the skill-building activities, vocabulary, student online practice that I can check, and variety of listening material. Not impressed with the assessment bank as much.
  • Face the Issues, Consider the Issues (Longman) – I taught for four years from this book. Pros include authentic NPR listening material. Cons are vocabulary lists that are not important AWL words, topics a little dated (eg, radio call-in show for dating). Most importantly, the book lacks sufficient skill-building activities.
  • Northstar (Longman) – I use Northstar Advanced occasionally as a supplement. The listening passages are very authentic, but I find that some of the topics are too difficult and far removed for my students (for example, Workplace Privacy, Tipping Point, etc).
  • Contemporary Topics (Pearson Longman) – Great ESL note-taking book. I used this as a regular supplement. I like the variety of questions in the student book to assess students' notes, including an audio quiz, where the questions are recorded on the CD, requiring students to listen to the questions rather than read them.
  • Lecture Ready (Oxford University Press) – Another good source for note-taking practice. The assessment questions aren't as developed as those in Contemporary Topics, though.