OUP

An EFL book I’ve used: Incredible English

Last year our course book for primary level learners was Incredible English. This was the first coursebook I ever used for teaching primary learners, and I have to say I thought it was great. It seemed like the perfect book for a novice primary EFL teacher. Here are just a few of its great features…

  • Fun stories (in comic form) that really engage the learners
  • A standard structure to units which helps learners know what to expect in a lesson
  • A separate workbook which means the coursebook isn’t full of dull gap fills
  • Some excellent online and interactive tasks
  • Dialogues which are easy to extend and exploit
  • Nice visuals, not too cluttered layout

I’m just listing random points here. Above all though, it seems clear to me that Incredible English was written by experienced teachers of young learners. I mean, you’d hope that was the case (!), but some of the previous coursebooks I’ve used just don’t feel they’ve been written by a practising teacher… Hmm, that sounds so damning…

Our new primary product (in-house) is good too – I don’t want to put it down. But there are things I miss about Incredible English, and the stories are one of them.

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example of the stories in Incredible English (c) OUP

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Digital Breaks – James Styring

I attended a useful webinar by James Styring the other week, entitled ‘Easy and motivating ways to use digital technology in the classroom. Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Overall, it was a very good presentation. There were lots of useful and straightforward tips for utilising the tech that students have at their disposal. I liked the fact that James made use of classic ELT activities (like ‘Find someone who’) and tweaked them to make use of tech in some way:

  • Find someone who has 7 of the same apps on their phone’s homepage
  • Find someone who has 2 of the same games as you
  • Find someone who has taken a picture on their phone in the same location as you
  • Etc

This is just one example, but it highlighted that things don’t have to be complicated. You can use existing activities, just personalise them using a tech element that’s ‘Generation Z’ friendly.

On a side note, that’s what I liked about Text Chat Activities by Mark Oliver (which I reviewed here). Familiar activities give the teacher more confidence to make minor changes…

Anyway. James’ best tip was to use ‘Digital Breaks’. He said the tip was from a British Council teacher from another webinar so, whoever you are, good suggestion!

According to James, ‘Generation Z’ get the urge to check social media apps on their phone every 7 minutes. Don’t fight against it – you want their attention, so schedule some digital breaks. I’ve started doing it. I allow students a timed break (2 minutes) every half an hour or so. Honestly, I’ve noticed that my teen classes focus more during activities. I was surprised, but they really do! Give it a go, let me know what you think.

Feature image from marketcloud.com

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.