"Quality Time-ESL: The Digital Resource Book" - A Book Review by Grace Willson
This book review of “QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book" was submitted by Grace Willson, Polytech Grenoble, France
A few years I had the opportunity to work with Marianne Raynaud at INPG (a technological university in Grenoble, France), so I was delighted to receive her book entitled "QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book" . It is truly an innovative piece of work. As it is “digital” you read it on a computer. When Marianne mentions an exercise or activity you just click on the hyperlink, and the file you want opens up on your screen. You can also search easily for the information you need. The digital “Document Annex” includes a catalogue of more than 1,500 ready-to-use documents . Listening comprehension exercises are MP3 files for use in the classroom, in labs or on iPods. All text documents are in A4 format and may be freely photocopied for use in the classroom. Many of them are in Word and thus can be “customized” to suit the needs of each institution. Samples of written work and PowerPoint presentations by students as well as excerpts of films written, directed and produced by Ms. Raynaud’s students should motivate students around the world to carry out similar projects to be presented in their respective English classes.
Appropriate for all students at all levels
Although some of the exercises are designed for science students at universities where English is compulsory, most of the materials are appropriate for all students 16 and over who have done three years of English. The materials can be used with any level from pre-intermediate to advanced are particularly useful in classes with heterogeneous levels. The content is varied and above all “timeless”. Furthermore, the emphasis is on “global English”, which makes it interesting for teachers in a variety of setting around the world. Above all, this book will help teachers design their own very effective ESL course.
The reason behind the great success of her course
Marianne worked for twenty-four years at INPG (Institut National Polytechnique in Grenoble, France) teaching in three different engineering schools. Her intensive English course at CPPG became very well known. The reasons were simple. First after having taken her two-year course all of her students scored over 750 on the international exam TOEIC, and many scored over 850 and even 900. The TOEIC is used in most engineering schools in France as a prerequisite for graduating and obtaining a degree. Second the students themselves would speak enthusiastically of the progress they had made in just a short period. Third the ambiance in her classes and in ours as well when we adapted her methods was wonderful: students spoke solely English in class and were often laughing together in English!
The students become truly operational in English
Marianne’s “Intensive English Language Program” was famous, because it was a course where students had individual sessions with their teachers, where the emphasis was on speaking skills and most of the class time was devoted to techniques enhancing oral participation. Finally, it was well known, because the students become truly operational in English after just two years. The key, Marianne says, is to use exercises that optimize class participation and to customize your teaching to suit the needs of the students without having to spend hours preparing.
Marianne Raynaud passes on her expertise
QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book is the work of an English teacher, who has recently retired and wishes to pass on her expertise on ESL teaching. The main themes are motivation, guidance, discipline and evaluation. Marianne talks of her teaching philosophy and the techniques she has invented or developed over the years—core curriculum, tutorials, personalized interviews, professional presentations, teamwork, effective testing, intensive pair work, inter-activity, computerized review sheets and much more.
An inspirational book
I have used this digital resource book with its extensive catalogue both as a source of teaching materials and as inspiration to implement methods that truly make students gain fluency in spoken English. What is unique about this book is the way it helps teachers put together their own personalized courses.
Samples of her work
For samples from the book or to order it you can visit her website http://www.QualityTime-ESL.com. Marianne Raynaud has also edited a film she made herself with her students over a school year. In this very stimulating film entitled Scenes from an ESL Classroom teachers can actually see how students go about doing the exercises that Marianne elaborated.
Marianne’s recent presentations
Marianne spoke at TESOL’s 41st Convention in Seattle on Student Films as a Memorable Linguistic Experience and at the TESOL Spain Convention in Madrid in 2008 on "Easy Ways of Adapting IT to a Traditional Curriculum". She also ran two workshops this year for TESOL France on dynamic techniques to help students cope with oral expression, and she led a workshop at the TESOL France Colloquium on "Teaching the English Our Students Need and Want!". The documents (texts/PowerPoint presentations) corresponding to these workshops can be found on the DVD.) Marianne Raynaud also presented a Pecha Kucha 6-minute slideshow at TESOL France’s annual Colloquium this year. Her Pecha Kucha was a tribute to her colleagues and students.
I have learned a great deal from working with such an inspiring teacher, and I am happy to have all these examples of her work to use in my classes.
Grace Willson is a tenured English professor at the University of Joseph Fourier in France.