Good ESL workbooks?
September 20, 2005 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a good workbook for teaching ESL?

I am volunteer teaching a beginner level conversational English class of Chinese adult students and looking for a good book to use. I'm not too happy with the book I was given ("Survival English" by Mosteller). Looking for something practical, easy to use, and focusing more on practical usage rather than heavy grammar. Something in a series would be great. I recognize the advantages of the improvisational method as mentioned earlier but, again, its too time intensive and I run out of ideas after a few lessons. I've searched the local bookstores but haven't found anything too helpful. Most seem to lack a logical flow for the lessons or seem to introduce impractical words/ideas too often. Thanks.
posted by roaring beast to Education (4 answers total)
Very broad question with a multitude of answers, depending on how you want to approach your project. Go to Daves ESL Cafe and sniff around.
posted by squirrel at 2:43 PM on September 20, 2005

Hi. Welcome to MetaFilter. Look around, make yourself at home. Make some friends. See if you might want to join in any discussions. In any of the questions that catch your eye or are in your area of expertise please don't hesitate to offer your relevant advice . Oh yeah, Google is your friend.

A second recommendation for Dave's, specifically the China - Job Related Posts
posted by geekyguy at 4:45 PM on September 20, 2005

I tutored ESL for a short time, and one of the most enjoyable things I did was to work on pronunciation. I found that a lot of my students had a basic background in English, and were very excited about learning proper pronunciation (for the French students, it was the r's, for the Japanese students, the difference between r's and l's). This was harder than it seems, though, until I found a book that used diagrams of a cross section of a person's mouth to show how to shape the mouth and tongue. The diagrams looked kind of like this.
I've been looking for it on Amazon, and while I didn't find the exact book, I did find one called "Teaching Pronunciation: A Reference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages" that seemed to have a lot of the diagrams (this is one you can search inside of on Amazon). I would highly recommend using a book like this; the students had a lot of fun, and they were all very proud of being able to master sounds that gave their peers trouble.
posted by mabelstreet at 7:53 PM on September 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your ideas so far, I have searched around Dave's before but never got into the Forums, since they looked more like they focused on job opportunities.

After scouring the message boards, it seems like there are a few that are semi-popular. However there's a pretty wide range of opinion, and definitely not one that stands out as being really quality. I'll probably give New Interchange a shot, even though some of the criticisms seemed the same as what i'm looking to avoid.

I wonder why there is such a dearth of good books. Seems like everyone has lots of complaints about all the big series.
posted by roaring beast at 11:38 AM on September 21, 2005

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