Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Category: book review (Page 1 of 4)

“Academic Writing: Mastering Citation and Referencing” by Paul Murphy

“Academic Writing: Mastering Citation and Referencing”, written by Paul Murphy, is Prosperity Education’s latest publication with it being geared towards learners on pre-sessional university courses or for teachers who are teaching the principles of academic writing and skills. The author, Paul Murphy, is a teacher who has taught on various English for Academic Purposes (henceforth EAP) programmes in the UK as well as abroad. Paul has also co-written the “IELTS Academic Reading Practice”, along with Peter Clements, for Prosperity Education.

Contents list of “Academic Writing: Mastering Citation and Referencing” by Paul Murphy (2023 pp.4-5).

There are a total of ten chapters within this book, with each unit focusing on a particular skill in relation to academic writing. Prior to the ten separate units, there is an Introduction which guides the student (or teacher) into the intricacies of referencing: in-text citations, reference lists, the different reference styles, as well as the use of sources used in the publication being fictitious (purely used to demonstrate and offer opportunities for the reader to practise academic skills). The topics selected for each unit offer students the breadth of reading that would be expected for undergraduate or post-graduate studies. It is no wonder that Murphy has selected a variety of engaging topics to guide each of the skills, with those including World Languages, Human Rights, Film, or Business.

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Book Review: “101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students” by Hall Houston

It was a surprise to receive Hall’s most recent publication to review, “101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students”, during the summer, and I was keen to share my thoughts and ideas. However, it has taken a while to write out and create a video, but I appreciate Hall Houston’s patience in the meantime. Nevertheless, I hope I do this review justice.

Watch my immediate reaction to this new book by Hall Houston

Overall Impressions

When I first opened this book on my computer, I was surprised how many different activities were included within the publication. Of course there are 101 activities, but it is sometimes hard to visualise the number of tasks within the contents page. The contents page covers three pages in length and the book is split into three key components: ‘Getting Off to a Good Start’, ‘Maintaining Motivation and Interest’, and ‘Ending the Semester Gracefully’.

The intention is obvious with the book offering ideas for the beginning, middle, or end of the course or term. There are a number of activities which are within each of these three components:

  • Getting Off to a Good Start: 38 activities
  • Maintaining Motivation and Interest: 38 activities
  • Ending the Semester Gracefully: 25 activities
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“IELTS Academic Reading Practice”: Book Review

IELTS Academic Reading Practice by Peter Clements and Paul Murphy

The International English Language Testing System (also known as IELTS) examination is one of the most widely acknowledged tools of assessment which is recognised by universities, public organisations as well as organisations. With many international students preparing to undertake an IELTS examination as a pathway to universities in North America, Australia or the UK, it is natural for schools and teachers to offer preparation courses with a vast array of publications and material available for such courses.

Prosperity Education was kind enough to send me one such publication to review: their latest publication, IELTS Academic Reading Practice. IELTS Academic Reading Practice is co-authored by Peter Clements who is an academic skills specialist based in an international school in Thailand (also known for his acclaimed website ELT Planning), and Paul Murphy who is currently an IELTS Speaking Examiner, has been teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in Glasgow and is currently teaching such courses at Mahidol University International College in Thailand. The first two chapters of the book naturally guide the reader towards the use of the book within a classroom environment, include preliminary information about the units, suggestions for speaking activities, as well as introduce readers to the IELTS examination, particularly the Academic Reading tasks.

Summary of the book

The book is organised into 14 chapters depending upon the task focus. Tasks types which are included within the publication include Matching Headings, Matching Information or Summary Completion to name just a few.

Tasks are organised into 14 different chapters depending upon the focus

After the initial introductory chapters, the reader is introduced to the 14 task types (matching headings, sentence completion, etc.). Each of the 14 task introductions are accompanied with suggestions for completing the relevant task as well as potential pit falls. For example, the first task is Matching headings. The reader is introduced to this task (testing the candidate’s ability to understand main ideas), suggestions on the most suitable approach to complete the task (skim-reading, using prediction skills, guessing meaning) as well as recommendations on what not to do during the exam (not to look for an exact match of words or focusing to heavily on unknown language).

Once readers have been introduced to the various academic reading tasks included in the IELTS, the following chapters focus on individual task types with a focus on a range of topics. Each task type includes discussion questions – always a good opportunity to incorporate with possible lessons, a vocabulary matching activity, followed by a practice activity for the task, then a more exam-focused task.

Each of the task types include extra practice activities (page 110-137) with all answers being included at the end of the book (page 138-151). There is also a glossary of language used throughout the publication with necessary definitions and a reference to the page number. I could see myself using the glossary of terms to help prepare vocabulary review tasks with students.

Who is the book for?

The publication is geared towards either students who are preparing for the IELTS examination independently, or for schools and teachers who are delivering and teaching preparation courses. It would also be a suitable resource for teachers who are venturing into the teaching of IELTS preparation courses.

The great benefit of such a preparation book is the flexibility to incorporate with future IELTS courses – both online or face-to-face. Combined with Jane Turner’s Reading Practice with 28 sample papers, teachers will have a range of material that could be used with relevant preparatory exam courses. It would also be wonderful to see a future publication by Prosperity Education that prepares students for the Listening and Writing elements of the IELTS exam.

Overall opinion

The book is an invaluable resource which helps guide and prepare students to complete the relevant Academic Reading activities depending on the type of task. It naturally organises the tasks into comprehensible chapters and will support students seeking to become confident candidates for reading in the exam or to help support teachers prepare IELTS reading classes. The authors have done a marvellous job organising the components of IELTS Academic Reading with the publication. If you are a teacher looking to update your current IELTS material, then this book would be a worth considering.

Finally, here are a few pages that give you an idea should you consider purchasing this book – you will not be disappointed.

“50 Tips for Teaching Pronunciation” Book Review

In today’s post and video, we are reviewing a new book, Mark Hancock’s “50 Tips for Teaching Pronunciation”. For those that are unsure, Mark Hancock has published “Pronunciation Games” as well as authored “Pronunciation in Use”.

The teaching of pronunciation can be a rather difficult skill to develop, as it was for me, for many newly certified English language teachers. However, the benefit of developing the confidence to teach pronunciation can aid your students in becoming more intelligible and confident when speaking. 

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“How to Write EAP Materials”: Book Review

Last month, I reviewed “How to Write Grammar Presentations and Practice” which can be read here. This was the first time that I had been introduced to the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series and I was pleasantly surprised by the invaluable advice provided in the first reviewed publication. In this post, I am pleased to share with you my second review of “How to Write EAP Materials” by the publishers ELT Teacher 2 Writer.

I actually enjoyed reading this book and found the suggestions incredibly useful
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“How To Write Grammar Presentations and Practice”: Book Review

I received a review copy of “How To Write Grammar Presentations and Practice” by Diane Hall and Graham Burton from ELT Teacher 2 Writer. This has been the first time that I have reviewed a book published by ELT Teacher 2 Writer and was very keen to share my thoughts and opinions. Looking at the blurb at the back of the book, it is aimed for teachers who wish to receive a theoretical overview of grammar, considerations towards good grammar presentations and practice, as well as practical tips for writing rules, explanations, and rubrics.

Watch a video review
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“Become an Online English Teacher”: Book Review

The new norm for language teaching is conducted remotely. It has been thrust upon all practitioners due to circumstances beyond our control, but much of the field of remote teaching and learning has been underestimated prior to the pandemic. I remember a few years ago, I was discussing why online language teaching and learning was not included in the CELTA and one practitioner declared that it was more unregulated with many institutions based in China seeking to exploit language teachers and pay as little as possible.

While this might necessarily be true, to some extent, there has been a growing opportunity for professional tutors to deliver lessons and courses online, particularly through higher educational institutes and private language schools.  However, there are many opportunities for freelance English teachers that wish to tutor English remotely, and with today’s blog post I shall be reviewing “Become an Online English Teacher: Essential tools, strategies and methodologies for building a successful business“.

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“Teaching English as a Lingua Franca”: Book Review

“Teaching English as a Lingua Franca: The journey from EFL to ELF”, published by DELTA Publishing, is the latest in their teacher development series and is authored by Marek Kiczkowiak and Robert Lowe. As you would expect with the DELTA teacher development series, this book follows the well-known and respected formula as with other books. If you have purchased this book for the first time, then you will notice that it is split into 3 parts: with Part A provides the description and background of English as a Lingua Franca (henceforth ELF), Part B offers teaching ideas and suggested material to assist with developing an ELF mindset and the skills required, while Part C suggests further consideration of ELF within particular contexts with supplementary reading.

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Classroom Community Builders: Book Review


I was kindly asked a few weeks ago by Alphabet Publishing to review a recent publication, “[amazon_textlink asin=’B074FWN3M9′ text=’Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’elt09-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’99e0913a-87de-11e7-87ea-5d5087f5bc56′]”, written by Walton Burns. After a few weeks of waiting, the book finally arrived along with a personalised letter from the publisher.

The publisher, Alphabet Publishing, is one of those small independent organisations which specialise with practical ideas for teaching and lesson ideas. The first book that I reviewed for them was “[amazon_textlink asin=’0997762810′ text=’50 Activities for the First Day of School’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’elt09-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’1a0b37f9-87e6-11e7-88fd-bfbe6f384fc9′]” as a video book review. You can watch the video below or find out a bit more from a previous blog post.

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