“An A-Z of ELT”: Book Review

This book was first published in 2006 by Macmillan, yet four years later I have only managed to purchase this book in preparation for my MA ELT course at the University of Sussex.  The blurb on the back describes the book as a “cross-referenced, alphabetical guide to ELT”.  In essence it is a dictionary of English Language Teaching terms and concepts.

Initially the premise of the book looks slightly overwhelming yet it really is slimmer than Practical English Usage (written by Swan) with all ELT related terms and concepts included.  It does appear that the book is invaluable for those that are required to learn terminology needed inside and outside of the classroom.  It also builds confidence for teachers that have limited teaching experience and ELT knowledge.  It is written in an ‘easy to understand’ style with additional references at the end of the book.

Nonetheless, Thornbury’s guide for ELT professionals has limited references under each alphabetical heading and the reader is required to look at the end of the book for guidance on further references (such as teaching methodologies and theories which are not written in depth).  This may not be particularly helpful for particular teachers but I can say with confidence that other areas written are invaluable.

When combining the A-Z of ELT with Thornbury’s personal blog (which is updated on a periodic basis) with web-based updates, it appears highly supportive reference material for ELT students and professionals.  On Thornbury’s blog, he does reference further reading for academics like myself.

With fear of shamelessly promoting the book, I would encourage fellow ELT professionals to get their hands on this particular book.  It really is a fantastic resource and invaluable for newly certified teachers seeking to learn more with regards to ELT terminology.  I should mention that the book is currently unavailable to purchase and Macmillan mention that it is ‘out of stock’.  I do hope that the book is available in the near future for fellow ELT professionals and academics.  It appears that I was incredibly lucky to get the book from Amazon as I only got on 6 August 2010.

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