Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Double Dealing - Pre Intermediate

This book is one of a series of business English books with a difference written by James Schofield and Evan Frendo. There are pre-intermediate and intermediate editions of the book available and they are published by Summertown books and available via Amazon. Business English with a difference I hear you say, yes it really is true these books are different. The main difference between them and the other Business English books available is the theme or story, which runs through the book and ties the chapters together. The story in the pre-intermediate edition revolves around Aurora and the Grand Hotel and the things she has to deal with, customers, complaints, presenting the hotel internationally, all sorts of situations, which the students can relate to and of course use at work. The students are treated to little bits of real life conversation showing emotions as well as language as the plot of the story is revealed.

In his recent presentation for ELTAS James Schofield talked to the participants about how stories provide ‘mental scaffolding’ for the language being learned as well as helping them ‘absorb the skills and the language in a meaningful and motivating context.’

I found, the students I tried the book with, were easily and enthusiastically able to relate how far the story had progressed to those who had missed the session. The exercises work with the situations and so extend the use of the vocabulary. They were always keen to learn more of the story.

Two other aspects of the books that I really liked were the cultural case studies and the personal data banks at the end of each chapter. The cultural elements were included in a lighthearted style that also appealed to my learners, and I used the personal data banks as a revision element for the unit. They are especially useful for those students who have done no learning for some time and so are not used to recording vocabulary in other ways. They make them aware that they cannot expect to remember vocabulary without making some sort of effort. The books are modern and well illustrated an appeal across the student age range.

A further advantage of these Summertown books is the availability of a multi lingual vocabulary on the company web site, very useful for vocabulary testing and revision. I can thoroughly recommend these books for use in the business English classroom.

This review was previously published in English Teaching Matters.

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