HEIS News

Volume 1:2 Reviews (August 2007)

by User Not Found | 10/25/2011
In This Issue ...
  • Leadership Updates
    • From the Book Reviews Editor
  • Reviews
    • Series Review: The Process of Academic Writing
    • A+ for Azar
    • More Than a Bag of Tricks
    • Try It and See: An Overview of Task-Based Teaching
    • Exploring the World With English
    • Prepared to Listen
    • Whose English?
Leadership Updates From the Book Reviews Editor

Gena Bennett, genabennett@yahoo.com

Welcome to another special Reviews issue of the HEIS Newsletter! We are continuing to take advantage of your review skills and the great publications available for ESL/EFL professionals and students by providing you with interesting, relevant reviews of the field's most current pedagogical and professional development materials. Our goal of the Reviews edition is to help make your jobs as program directors, instructors, and members of our profession easier.

In This Issue
This issue contains reviews of three professional development books to further our knowledge of the English language and teaching language skills, along with reviews of four textbooks, including three multilevel series, covering listening, grammar, writing, and integrated skills.

Rebecca Linton describes How To Teach Speaking as more than a "bag of tricks," as this professional development book provides helpful ideas, tips, and activities for teaching, planning, and assessing speaking within a process of language learning designed to aid teachers in guiding learners to speaking success. In her review of Doing Task-Based Teaching, Miriam Moore encourages instructors to "try it and see," explaining that the authors have designed a text that is rich in examples and practical advice and that provides an overview of the theory and research that supports task-based teaching. Elizabeth Holden Wagenheim asks the question, "Whose English Anyway?" after reviewing World English, a text that describes varieties of English spoken in different countries and contexts and explores their implications for English language teaching.

Christopher Davis concludes that Effective Academic Writing is a useful series for courses that prepare students for opinion-based entrance exams, teaching the processes, rhetorical forms, grammatical structures, and language required to write paragraphs, short essays, and five-paragraph essays. Myshie Pagel explains that Quest not only offers instructors useful supporting materials, but also offers students instruction in all four language skills that will help prepare them for academic courses in the United States. In her review of Lecture Ready, Carolina Van Puffelen describes the series as a valuable interactive language tool for any classroom or individual wanting to enter English-speaking universities. And, finally, Susan Kerr offers Azar and Hagen an A+ for their revised edition of Basic English Grammar, which Kerr pronounces simply the most intelligent grammar textbook available.

I thank these reviewers for their contributions to our community and profession. I hope the information and reviews here will help you feel more informed and confident in your teaching and other professional duties.
A regular issue of the newsletter will come to your inbox in March; if you would like to submit a review for this or following issues, please contact me atgenabennett@yahoo.com, or if you would like to submit a full-length article, please contact Maria Parker (mgparker@duke.edu). [Please note: The deadline for us to receive draft articles or reviews for possible inclusion in the March issue is December 31, 2007.]

Best Wishes,
Gena

 



Reviews Series Review: The Process of Academic Writing

Christopher A. Davis, cdavis@jjay.cuny.edu

Savage, A., & Shafiei, M. (2006). Effective academic writing 1: The paragraph. New York: Oxford University Press.
Savage, A., & Mayer, P. (2006). Effective academic writing 2: The short essay. New York: Oxford University Press.
Davis, J., & Liss, R. (2006). Effective academic writing 3: The essay. New York: Oxford University Press.

Written by ESL instructors who have worked in community colleges and academic language immersion programs, Effective Academic Writing is a three-volume series that teaches ESL students the processes, rhetorical forms, grammatical structures, and language required to write paragraphs, short essays, and five-paragraph essays. Through the series, students practice writing in a variety of rhetorical forms, beginning with descriptive paragraphs and progressing to writing assignments focused on process analysis, narration, opinion and argumentation, classification, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and reaction to a primary source.

Every volume begins with an introduction covering general issues of organization and development, unity and coherence, and revision and editing. Each of the five units that follow focuses on a specific rhetorical form, and leads students through the process of writing about their opinions and personal experiences within that form: activating background knowledge, brainstorming, organizing and outlining ideas, developing and revising a draft with peer feedback, and editing the text for grammar and language use. Grammar and language points are closely integrated with rhetorical forms (e.g., sequence connectors, time clauses, and the passive voice are addressed in the unit on the process analysis essay), and authentic (edited) student essays are used effectively to analyze organization and development and to practice editing.

Each unit is also unified by an interesting theme (e.g., the influence of technology on society), which is introduced in the Stimulating Ideas section with an image and an authentic (sometimes adapted) and thought-provoking reading (e.g., an excerpt from an article describing how cell phones are being used in remote Himalayan villages). In this first section, difficult vocabulary is highlighted and defined, and questions following the text check students' comprehension and develop their understanding. Finally, students engage in a freewriting activity in which they relate the issue to their own lives.

The Brainstorming and Outlining section follows, offering techniques for generating both content and vocabulary (e.g., providing classification charts, listing category words such as "foods" to prompt students to retrieve words for details). Students analyze the content and organization of a student essay that models a specific rhetorical form, and then develop an outline of an essay in that form, using a guide provided in the text.

In the subsequent section, Developing Your Ideas, students analyze a second student essay, reviewing organizing principles and focusing on how the writer has supported (or, in a few instances, not supported) the thesis and topic sentences. The unit also introduces and provides practice with language points (e.g., comparison and contrast connectors) to help students achieve the rhetorical aims of the essay. Students then develop a first draft, which they review and revise through a peer editing process guided by a checklist that focuses on organization and development of ideas.

Next, the Editing Your Writing section provides explanations and exercises for grammar and language issues related to the rhetorical form covered in the unit. Students edit a piece of student writing, and then their own writing, focusing on points covered in the unit.

The final section, Putting It All Together, uses exercises to review the rhetorical, organizational, grammatical, and language points of the unit. Then, students are provided with a schedule, structure, and editing checklist for writing a timed essay (on a different topic) in the rhetorical form discussed in the unit.

Appendices include an outline of the writing process, a helpful glossary of grammar terms, and a review of punctuation and key language points. A correlation by unit to chapters in Grammar Sense (Bland, 2005) is also provided.

By offering students repeated instruction and practice in the writing process, as well as timed writing exercises, the Effective Academic Writing Series is useful to prepare students, such as those in immersion programs or lower-level developmental classes, who are still acquiring fluency to pass college entrance exams, such as the CUNY ACT, that require students to generate and organize their ideas and develop an essay supporting their opinion about a topic within a specified time frame. For Generation 1.5 students who have been educated in U.S. high schools, instructors will probably need to approach grammar differently, encouraging students to identify grammatical patterns (e.g.,  forming the passive with be + -ed/-en), rather than using metalanguage (e.g., "real" and "unreal conditionals") that may confuse rather than help students.

One drawback of the series is that it does not adequately prepare students for academic writing in content courses, although one of its stated aims is to help students acquire "the skills, strategies, and knowledge that are necessary for succeeding in content coursework" (p. vii). First, the texts focus primarily on the formal aspects of rhetorical modes such as cause and effect, rather than analyze how these modes are used to inform and persuade readers in specific academic disciplines. In addition, these modes are presented and practiced in isolation, whereas writing for content courses often involves using multiple rhetorical modes (e.g., description, cause and effect, compare and contrast) in one writing assignment.

Finally, and most important, the assignments teach students to rely on their own opinions, knowledge, and experiences in writing papers. However, these are practices that content-area professors discourage and dismiss as "nonacademic" because the professors expect students to research and incorporate credible outside sources to support their arguments.  To be effective in academic writing, students need to learn not only how to write in different rhetorical forms, but also how to research and integrate texts, and how to combine rhetorical forms—the practices that make writing academic.

Although perhaps not ideal for a course that focuses on content and research-based academic writing, Effective Academic Writing is a useful series for courses that prepare students for opinion-based entrance exams.

Reference

Bland, S. K. (Ed.). (2005). Grammar sense (Levels 1-3). New York: Oxford University Press.

Christopher A. Davis teaches academic writing and business English at John Jay College and Baruch College.

 


A+ for Azar

Susan Anderson Kerr, sak@mail.utexas.edu

Azar, B. S., & Hagen, S. A. (2006). Basic English grammar (3rd ed.). New York: Pearson Longman.

The authors, who set the gold standard for grammar texts, have prepared a new edition responding to the current expectations of students as well as teachers. Using the same format as earlier editions, Basic English Grammar offers a series of choices for beginning grammar students: a one-volume text with optional answer key, a two-book set to be used in the two semesters of an academic year, and two workbooks to accompany the two-part text. Instructors can also use a test bank as well as a teacher's guide. The two student books come with audio CDs; the teacher's guide also has a resource disc with PowerPoint presentations. These books could then be followed by the sequels in this series: Fundamentals of English Grammar for intermediate students and Understanding and Using English Grammar for advanced students.

Each chapter begins with a chart of the form to be studied, and then progresses to interactive exercises so that students immediately start to explore their knowledge of this skill. Finally, explanatory charts accompany activities that alternate group and pair work.

The illustrations are appropriate, neither too cartoon-like, which would suggest a lack of seriousness with respect to the material, nor too stodgy, which would imply a heavy hand. In contrast to McGraw Hill's Grammar Form and Function 1 (Broukal, 2007), for example, which has few exercises, large photos, and much white space per page, Basic English Grammar gives the students excellent value, as academic content fills each page. 
 
However, the main qualities that distinguish this grammar text from its competitors are the clarity of the explanations of the grammar points and the way the exercises invite students to consider meaning, not simply repeat forms. Unlike other beginning grammar texts whose chapters are modeled on one paradigm, the activities in Azar and Hagen's text vary from one chapter to the next so that students will not be lulled to sleep by sameness. The sentences in these exercises use interesting vocabulary; they do not introduce structures not covered in the unit, and they do not force conformity to an artificially and often culture-bound theme that may not serve the grammar focus.
 
This well-named basic English grammar book is simply the most intelligent grammar textbook available. This book inspires one to recall that the word "glamour" derived from the same root as "grammar," the branch of learning the ancient Greek and Latin world considered necessary for elegance and beauty of coherent rhetoric.  With Azar and Hagen's solid grammar text and a dictionary, a student has essential tools needed to become literate in English.

References

Broukal, M. (2007). Grammar form and function I. New York: McGraw Hill.

Susan Anderson Kerr, PhD, teaches ESL at the University of Texas in Austin. Because this school rotates texts every semester, she has the opportunity to use a wide range of the current crop.


More Than a Bag of Tricks

Rebecca Linton, chinalindyhopper@yahoo.com

Thornbury, S. (2005). How to teach speaking. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.

In February 2001, I flew to Beijing to begin my first year of teaching English to Chinese university students. Our nonprofit sponsoring organization provided new "foreign teachers" with one short week's orientation to prepare us for the task ahead. Most, like me, had little or no experience teaching English. As we battled with jet lag during that week, we received a thin blue volume called "a bag of tricks." Filled with useful activities for teaching English, it was intended to be, and served well as, a life preserver for our first few weeks of classes. My copy is now dog-eared and tattered, but I continue to treasure it.

Scott Thornbury's How to Teach Speaking contains even more tips, ideas, and classroom activities than that thin blue volume does, but goes far beyond being a bag of tricks. His purpose, according to the back cover of the volume, is to provide "a guide to the theory of speaking and to a range of classroom activities that can be employed in teaching speaking." Thornbury skillfully and concisely explains the theoretical background of learning a second language while providing a systematic framework a teacher may use for guiding learners in attaining speaking success. He achieves his purpose admirably.

The book is organized into seven chapters. The first two chapters examine what speakers—all speakers, including first language speakers—know and what they do. The third chapter looks at speaking in a second language. Here Thornbury explains the background of the major threads of second language learning theory of the past 60 or so years: behaviorist, cognitivist, and sociocultural. He describes these theories concisely and in easily understood terms, without becoming bogged down in ideological arguments. He then proposes a simple framework for language learning that he believes can fit any of those three theories. Language learning, according to Thornbury, should progress through raising learner awareness, appropriating language skills, and achieving autonomy in language use. Chapter 4 explains awareness-raising activities. Chapter 5 deals with activities to encourage appropriation of language knowledge and skills. Chapter 6 suggests activities to promote learner autonomy. The seventh and final chapter discusses course and syllabus planning and ways to assess speaking.

Several features make this book useful for both new and experienced teachers of ESL. First, language-learning theory is included in the text, which is accessible and interesting to read. The text is research-based but does not overwhelm the reader by extensive quoting of research studies. Even though the author explains theory and defines technical terms, the reader does not get the feeling of struggling to discover the author's point beneath the weight of erudite or overly technical language. 

Second, Thornbury clearly explains dozens of useful classroom activities, which are set into a framework of the progression of language acquisition. The chapter on awareness contains 24 activities designed to raise learner awareness; the chapter on appropriation, 36 activities; the chapter on autonomy, 35 classroom (and beyond) activities. Sprinkled throughout are examples of activities gleaned from published materials. In addition, new practitioners will find the many tips, obviously based on teaching experience, useful. The activities are appropriate for college-age and adult learners, but some might be adapted for use with children.

Finally, the author's viewpoint, above all, is pragmatic: What will serve the needs of second language learners? What activities will aid the ESL teacher in serving those needs? Thornbury sets forth clear, and, in some cases, detailed instructions for using learning activities in the classroom.

In addition to serving the needs of new and experienced teachers of ESL in the classroom, this book could be very useful as a textbook in a course for aspiring teachers of ESL. At the end of the book, the author includes a section entitled "Task File" for each chapter. These task files contain exercises relevant to each chapter that encourage additional thought and reinforce the principles discussed in the chapter. An answer key is also included.

In spite of my enthusiasm for this book, I will admit to one disappointment. Chapter 7 promises a little more than it delivers. This final chapter could be improved in the area of curriculum design.  A process for the teacher to follow in designing course curricula, along with some more practical tips for syllabus and curriculum design, could be included. This is an area where inexperienced teachers might require a little extra help. Nevertheless, in this chapter the author does give practical suggestions for conducting a simple needs analysis along with ideas and a sample rubric for assessing speaking, always a challenge, particularly for new teachers. Even experienced teachers, however, may find some new ideas in this section.

Overall the book is extremely useful for the ESL teacher and potentially beneficial for that teacher's students. Despite severe space limitations in the suitcase that I will be hauling across the Pacific for another year's stay in China, How to Teach Speaking will be finding its place in that bag.

Rebecca Linton has taught English in China for three and a half years.  This year she will be completing her master's thesis while teaching at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu.


Try It and See: An Overview of Task-Based Teaching

Miriam Moore, mmoore2@lfcc.edu

Willis, D., & Willis, J. (2007). Doing task-based teaching. Oxford, England : Oxford University Press.

Doing Task-Based Teaching is a reference manual for the implementation, practice, and evaluation of task-based teaching (TBT). Building on the experience of task-based teachers around the world, the authors have designed a text that is rich in examples and practical advice, and also provides an overview of the theory and research that supports TBT.

The authors begin in Chapter 1 by defining three approaches to language teaching: a focus on meaning (communication-centered), a focus on language (centered on the need to find appropriate or better forms to communicate meaning), and a focus on form (centered on the teacher's choice of linguistic forms for study) (for a similar view, see Long, 1998). The authors contend that all three approaches have a place in the language classroom. A crucial defining characteristic of TBT, however, is that it begins with meaning, progresses naturally to language, and saves form for the final phase of a lesson.

Chapters 2 through 5 discuss in detail how a focus on meaning is achieved through the development of task sequences. A task sequence is a series of smaller tasks that prepare students to accomplish a target task. In chapter 3, the authors illustrate how a task sequence might begin with a spoken or written text. They explain how a teacher can create a priming task at the outset of the sequence to prepare learners for what they will read or hear. They then illustrate a number of possible tasks for the sequence: prediction, discussion, jigsaw, and general knowledge tasks. Finally, the authors show how teachers can recycle texts through activities involving corrupted text, group dictation, communal memory, or summary.

Chapters 4 and 5 provide a breakdown of task types that can be applied to any topic relevant for a particular classroom. Task types include listing, sorting, classifying, matching, comparing, problem-solving, projects, and story-telling. The authors not only illustrate how experienced teachers have moved from a topic to a target task but also explain how those teachers sequenced activities to follow-up. Appendices at the end of the book include full lesson plans and details.

Chapter 6 addresses focus on language and form within TBT. This section is particularly helpful for those who are concerned about external pressures to cover grammar or about keeping control of the course. The authors address choosing forms for class discussion and activities that focus on those forms. In addition, the authors recommend sparing use of negative feedback or correction to supplement the language knowledge that can be gained from what they term the "pedagogic corpus." The pedagogic corpus is the array of texts that provide linguistic input for learners.

Chapter 7 concerns the connection between the language classroom and the real world. The authors discuss creating real-world tasks, using artificial tasks effectively, incorporating spontaneous oral language, and highlighting the social aspects of language.

Chapter 7 also contains a crucial discussion on the roles of teachers. The authors contend that the key role for a teacher in a TBT classroom is not "knower," but rather "manager of discourse." This role involves leading and organizing discussions, group work, and pair work. (Those of us who do this regularly know how difficult it can be!) Teachers also need to be task facilitators, motivators, and knowers (the latter despite the authors' claim). Finally, the authors suggest that the traditional role needn't be discarded completely. When a teacher is leading a follow-up focus on form, he or she is often jumping into that traditional role.

Chapter 8 follows logically from chapter 7: Having defined teacher roles, the writers provide seven parameters that teachers can use to modify and improve the tasks they have assigned. All teachers have had the experience of a carefully designed lesson falling apart. What the authors give teachers here is a method for examining any task sequence, finding trouble spots, and making appropriate adjustments. As an example, one parameter is simply the specification of an outcome. Was the task assigned open (no "right" answer), and if so, were there enough guidelines to generate responses? For example, an open task might ask students to discuss a topic. A more specified yet still open task might ask instead for students to find three statements on a topic with which all agree. Adjusting outcomes, then, is one possible way to improve a task.

Chapter 9 moves from the analysis of TBT lessons to the construction of a task-based syllabus, and chapter 10 addresses integrating TBT into required course texts and other frequent concerns.

Experienced teachers will find the suggestions for reviewing and adapting task sequences very helpful; even lessons from tried and true textbook series can be evaluated and improved. Moreover, novice teachers will find a wealth of resources here, including lesson planning sheets in the appendices. Skeptics and those trained in different approaches (like myself) will be challenged by the insights and experiences outlined in the book.

The book itself might be considered an example of TBT: The task is to develop a TBT lesson or syllabus, and the learners are the readers. The authors prime the readers at the outset by drawing on readers' preconceptions and providing background information. The text then develops, over several chapters, multiple facilitating tasks that readers are encouraged to do alone and with colleagues, refining their understanding of tasks, sequences, and follow-up activities. To conclude, after answering common questions about TBT, the authors leave the readers to accomplish the task: "Try it and see."

Reference
Long, M. (1988). "Instructed interlanguage development." In L. Beebe (Ed.), Issues in second language acquisition: Multiple perspectives. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Dr. Miriam Moore is associate professor of English/ESL at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Virginia.

 


Exploring the World With English

Myshie M. Pagel, myshiep@yahoo.com

Hartman, P., & Blass, L. (2007). Quest (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

The Quest series consists of four levels—Intro, One, Two, and Three—and would work well for an intensive four-semester ESL program. There are two books for each level, one for Reading and Writing and the other for Listening and Speaking. Along with the texts, a CD and DVD for listening and speaking and a CD for reading and writing are included. In addition to this technological support for the students, a teacher's guide is provided for both texts, which includes answer keys, TOEFL iBT tips (beginning with level two), and supplementary material at each level. Test-generating software that can be used for either text is also included for each level.

The texts are, of course, the central delivery option of the series. Each of the two texts for each level (Listening and Speaking and Reading and Writing) is divided into thematic units with two chapters for each unit. The Intro book focuses on education, business, and sociology, presenting topics such as career choices and the different ways people learn, to help students orient themselves to higher education. Book One focuses on the themes of business, biology, and U.S. history, providing students with background information they will be expected to have when they begin taking credit courses. Book Two expands the students' knowledge base in the areas of global business, art, psychology, and health. In this book, the text expands to four thematic units, with two chapters for each unit. Book Three uses the themes of anthropology, economics, literature, and ecology as content, with two chapters for each unit. These topics offer students a taste of typical basic courses in a U.S. undergraduate curriculum.

The CD for the Reading and Writing texts contains an audio recording of the readings. The CDs and DVD for the Listening and Speaking texts include mini lectures from an academic environment and a section on social language. The lectures vary in length from 2 minutes in the Intro book to 6 minutes in Book Three, incorporating the theme for each unit into the lecture. The section focusing on social language includes scenes from a college campus, with nine college students participating in different conversations about campus life.

Quest is a comprehensive series that provides practice in all four language skill areas. Although all four skills are used, the series relies heavily on developing reading skills, which is central to both the Reading and Writing texts and the Listening and Speaking texts in Books Two and Three. The readings are diverse, engaging, and designed to prepare students for academic courses. The writing sections of the texts focus on grammar, with a writing assignment included at the end. Some of these assignments incorporate graphic organizers to help students develop their ideas. However, the series could take better advantage of the readings as a source or springboard for the writing assignments. Writing assignments include a narrative or cause-and-effect essay, but without any instruction as to how and when these are used in a rhetorical sense. With the readings so close at hand, it would be easy to reference some readings for examples of different types of writing. The greater emphasis on reading is also evident in the tests provided in the teacher's guide. These tests include reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and an editing exercise, but no writing application. Ferris and Hedgcock (2005) emphasized the important role that extensive and intensive reading plays in the development of ESL writing proficiency. An instructor could develop writing assignments that would link more closely to the readings to help develop writing fluency.

In the Listening and Speaking texts, the activities are more closely tied together. Each chapter begins with a listening activity, followed by a speaking activity that incorporates the vocabulary from the listening exercise. Graphic organizers are used to help students develop their ideas and to guide the speaking activities. Grammar instruction is also woven into the speaking activities. The CDs and DVD that accompany the text are vital to providing a rich language environment. They are identical; however, I found the DVD much more engaging because a student can rely on more than just sound to understand the meaning.

The support resources provided for the teacher are also quite useful. The teacher's guide provides additional classroom activities and the test-generator software allows instructors to develop tests utilizing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, and several other types of test formats. However, when I tried the test generator, I found it difficult to create a test. The instructions were not clear, and it took me several tries to create a trial test. With practice, the time factor could be reduced, but initially it took longer to create a test on the test generator than it would have on a word processor.

Overall, Quest offers students a broad curriculum to help prepare them for academic courses in the United States, with a global perspective. The Intro books assume some exposure to English. The two books in each of the four levels use academic content areas such as psychology, biology and sociology to build language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. This provides students with the background knowledge and the language skills necessary for a good transition to credit courses.

References
Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2005). Teaching ESL composition (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Myshie M. Pagel teaches ESL at El Paso Community College and is a PhD student in rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. 


Prepared to Listen

Carolina J. Van Puffelen, caropuf@gmail.com

Sarosy, P., & Sherak, K. (2006). Lecture ready: Strategies for academic listening, note-taking, and discussion, Student Book 1. Oxford, England:  Oxford University Press.

Sarosy, P., & Sherak, K. (2006). Lecture ready: Strategies for academic listening, note-taking, and discussion, Student Book 2. Oxford, England:  Oxford University Press.

Frazier, L., & Leeming, S. (2007). Lecture ready: Strategies for academic listening, note-taking, and discussion, Student Book 3. Oxford, England:  Oxford University Press.

Students enroll in colleges and universities with a wide range of academic preparation and readiness. How important is a college preparation course for the transition from secondary to higher education? It can be hard to attend lectures in an efficient way without a proper preparation course. Ishitani and Saider (2004) investigated the longitudinal effects of college preparation programs on college retention in the United States. Although the effect was not statistically significant in the first year, it reduced the odds of dropout by 42% in the second year and 55% in the third year.

Lecture Ready 1, 2, and 3, for proficiency levels low intermediate, high intermediate, and advanced, respectively, prepare students for academic lectures through practice of listening, note-taking, and discussion skills. For each level, the series has a student book, audio/video program, and answer key.

Each text in the series is organized in a systematic way—five units, two chapters per unit—and offers topics from different fields of academic study: business, science, media studies, psychology, and humanities. Each chapter also follows the same design, engaging students in the learning process through building background knowledge, prelistening and note-taking activities, listening to a real lecture while taking notes, and offering discussion strategies.

In the first section of each chapter, students are presented with goals regarding the topic, listening, note-taking, and discussion strategies. Building background knowledge is accomplished through photographs or pictures with guiding questions introducing the topic of the lecture, followed by a text taken from a wide range of authentic sources. Students can check comprehension and expand vocabulary through an exercise that provides definitions of words and phrases from the text. The first section ends with discussion questions that encourage students to discuss their own opinions and experiences on the topic. For example, Multiple Intelligence, the topic of Chapter 8 of Lecture Ready 3, offers pictures of children in various learning situations, an article entitled "Intelligence Tests" from a parenting magazine, and the discussion question "What are some other human capabilities that are not reflected in IQ tests?"

With an average speed of 125 words per minute and use of academic language, which is often more difficult to understand than everyday conversational English, a lecturer puts a high cognitive demand on students; however, every good speaker uses signals that alert the listener to the fact that something important will be stated. The second section of each chapter prepares students for lecture-listening and note-taking by teaching them to recognize such discourse cues. Each Lecture Ready book addresses nine listening strategies, covering both verbal and visual cues. Each strategy is explained and examples of signalling words and phrases are given. The examples range from seemingly simple expressions such as "Our topic today is . . ." in Book1, Chapter 3, to words that indicate comparison/contrast such as "similarly/likewise" and "unlike X,Y / on the other hand" in Book 3, Chapter 7. Students practice each strategy by identifying expressions in a passage from a lecture and then listening to an excerpt from a real lecture. Similarly, the nine note-taking strategies covered in each text not only explain methods for organizing notes while listening to lectures, such as outlines, abbreviations lists, and visual aids, but also demonstrate how to improve comprehension through reviewing, editing, and summarizing the notes. This organized note-taking will help students learn, understand, and remember important ideas from the lecture.

Background knowledge helps listeners interpret what they are hearing and anticipate what the speaker will say next. In the third section of each chapter, entitled Listen and Take Notes, students review what has been presented on the topic of the chapter, make three predictions about what will be covered in a lecture, then compare predictions with a partner. Afterward, students watch a real-life lecture on video or DVD and take notes in the marked space in the book. After viewing the lecture, students use their notes for a comprehension test and subsequently review and edit them.

In the fourth section of each chapter, students have the opportunity to discuss their opinions about the lecture in a postlistening discussion. Although students should feel more confident about the topic after all the pre- and during-lecture activities, in real life, they often feel they lack the right phrases and words to contribute to a discussion. Simple phrases such as "Uh huh," "I get it," and "I see" presented in Book 1 will help insecure speakers express interest, whereas expressions for paraphrasing and quoting ("according to [source]"/"To quote [source]") in Book 3 are a handy tool for the low-advanced level student. The texts also keep small-group learning in mind, as students are expected to lead group discussions, and provide discussion strategies for keeping the discussion focused on topic, encouraging other students to participate in the discussion, and bringing a group to a consensus.

The wrap-up assignments in each chapter aim to synthesize the topic from a broader perspective and can be completed individually or in a group. What is missing, though, for both teacher and student, is a list of suggestions for literature and Web sites on the topic.

With a user-friendly layout, each text in the series, of the size and thickness of a college writing pad, is a textbook and exercise book combined. Strategies are listed in the Table of Contents alongside the chapters, audio and video activities are indicated by symbols, and arrows with page numbers refer to earlier explanations. This excellent organization makes the lack of a glossary drawn from the bolded words and phrases from the texts particularly regrettable.

Although Lecture Ready is targeted to students in the United States, the series can be, and already is, used in non-English-speaking countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific area where the number of EFL learners is ever-increasing. Therefore, it is important to note that photos in the books display people from different cultural backgrounds and texts are selected from different areas, as is the case in Book 1 and 3. However, in Book 2 the majority of texts focus on the United States; in Unit 5 of this book, where the field of linguistics is explored under the heading "Global English," a text reviewing the different types of English would seem more suitable than an article about English as a business language.

Overall the Lecture Ready series is a valuable interactive language tool for any classroom or individual use and can be considered as a guide through "lecture listening land." Native speakers can improve academic skills and the EFL speaker, as a user and learner of English, can improve not only academic skills but also general English language proficiency.

Reference
Ishitani, T., & Snider, K. (2004). Longitudinal effects of college preparation programs on college retention. IR Applications, 9, 1-10.

Carolina van Puffelen obtained her master's degree in educational technology at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. She advises on curriculum and instructional matters and currently works as a teacher/trainer at The English Language Institute in Rivas, Nicaragua.


Whose English?

Elizabeth Holden Wagenheim, ewagenheim@pgcc.edu

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). World Englishes. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press

The term global village has become a cliché, as it is widely used in so many different contexts. The ways in which globalization has affected the field of English language teaching is the subject of the new Cambridge Press publication, World Englishes, intended to be used as a text for teacher trainers. The author posits that globalization calls into question the variety of English that should be taught and the type of person who should teach it. Terms such aslingua franca, native speaker, and English as an international language are examined and redefined.

The text is divided into three parts. The first part sets the stage by defining sociolinguistic and linguistic terms. Though it has been over a decade since my graduate coursework in linguistics, I found this section to be pertinent and accessible. The first chapters develop key terms in linguistics and significant issues that have emerged as English has spread to the outer circle (postcolonial) and expanding circle (EFL) countries as defined by Kachru (quoted in Kirkpatrick, p. 28). A thorough review of literature addressing world Englishes has been included, and several helpful models of English language usage, such as Kachru's monomodel versus polymodel of English, are explained and related to the field of teaching. The monomodel approach asserts that one variety of English exists and is learned and used as an international language. The polymodel approach, coined and preferred by Kachru, assumes variation in how English is acquired and used by different speakers and in different contexts. The author adopts the model of the identity-communication continuum to explain and support his arguments. In this model, the two functions of language, expressing identity and enabling communication, cause a variety of English to be further divided. Each variety of English that is examined in the next part of the book is explored at both ends of the continuum—the varieties used to signify membership in a community or culture on the identity side of the continuum (broad) and the varieties used for communication in larger contexts (educated).

The second part of the book outlines variations and varieties of English, beginning with the development of British English from Old English through its modern usage. It also describes the varieties of English used within the British Isles. American English is then explored. The author uses the development of British and American English to explain similarities in which other varieties of English have emerged and changed. For example, the attitude toward American English as it developed into a language separate from British English reflects the prejudice that many new varieties encounter in their earliest stages. Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, The Philippines, Hong Kong, and China are discussed in terms of sociolinguistic issues, phonology, lexis, and grammar. English as a lingua franca is discussed in the context of the Association of South-East Asian Nations and predictions are made as to whether a similar variety of English will emerge from the European Union.

The final section of the book concerns itself with the implications for English language learning and teaching. A list of criteria outlining requirements for ELT teachers and training courses is the culmination of the section, although these criteria describe the skills teachers need more clearly than they do the curricular implications of those skills. Language policy could be greatly informed by the research delineated in this text. The issues discussed have a greater reach than is explored in the final chapters of the book, and I found myself wishing that this section had been further developed.

The introduction to the text provides a literature review of similar resources devoted to world Englishes and delineates how this text differs from others. Not only does World Englishes fill a niche, but it also is organized in a way that is conducive for teacher training. Its format is discursive, with chapter introductions and summaries that introduce and restate key terms and concepts. The writing is well organized and the ideas clearly presented.

World Englishes includes a CD with examples of 11 varieties of English in the form of conversations or poems. The conversations, which are often about language usage, further support the themes in the text. The poems selected to illustrate the targeted English variety were a pleasure to listen to on their own merit. A transcript of the poems, which also puts the language sample into context and defines vocabulary needed to understand the language samples, is included in the appendix of the text.

The text is of value not only for teacher-trainers but also for practitioners. Perhaps the text's greatest contribution is raising awareness of sociopolitical issues that are inherent in the teaching of English globally. One of the text's explicit purposes is to recognize the contribution that multilingual, multicultural English-speaking instructors make to language teaching.

For me, an instructor at a community college that serves a large number of African students, the text has reinforced the need for presenting courses that focus on American English for academic purposes while honoring the varieties of English that many students already bring to the classroom. The text is a needed addition to teacher training for students preparing to teach internationally as well as in the United States.

Elizabeth Holden Wagenheim is an associate professor in the Language Studies Department of Prince George's Community College in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.