A Book Review" by Gillian Evans

This article was published in "Teaching Times", the TESOL France quarterly magazine. To receive this very interesting and stimulating magazine go to the TESOL-France website (http://www.tesol-France.org).

Marianne Raynaud’s digital resource book Quality Time-ESL is a valuable source of material for both teachers at the outset of their careers and others with more experience of the teaching world. Her techniques and philosophy often confirm or reinforce what we may have already felt or experienced, but have not yet been able to put into so many words ourselves.

Teamwork, time management, a core curriculum

For Marianne, teamwork, time management, and a core curriculum are the keys to success. But above all, the mission of the language teacher is to make sure every student speaks as much as possible. She says, ‘We always try to have all the students speak or listen attentively for 75% of classroom time’.

Tutorials and intensive pairwork

Marianne shows how tutorials and intensive pairwork will dramatically improve the atmosphere in the EFL classroom. She believes students can teach each other and understand the workings of a foreign language by experimenting with a partner using specially designed pairwork materials for practice—naturally under the guidance of a dedicated teacher.

Create your own workbooks

"Quality Time ESL: The Digital Resource Book" will enable teachers to create their personal workbooks. The digital document annex includes more than 1,500 files with ready-to-use teaching materials. Vocabulary and grammar exercises are combined with pairwork activities. There is detailed advice for student talks with examples of student handouts or PowerPoints and even two ten-minute films made by Marianne’s students—parodies of blockbusters—that will inspire other students to make their own!

Hyperlinks take you to files you can customize

When Marianne mentions an exercise or activity in the digital resource book, you just click on the hyperlink and the file opens up on your screen. There are listening comprehension and number or pronunciation exercises in MP3 files. All text documents are in the A4 format and can be freely photocopied. Many of them are in MS Word and, thus, can be ‘customized’ to suit the needs of each institution.

Timeless activities for ’Global English’

The content is varied and, above, all timeless. Although some activities have a scientific theme, the emphasis is on ‘Global English’, which makes it interesting for teachers in a variety of settings around the world. Marianne strongly believes in laboratory work followed by home assignments to be corrected with special keys using pairwork techniques.

A great variety of exercises and even student work

Examples of student work (CVs, essays, stories, interviews, letters, clips) show how creative students can be—Star Wars is a very funny interview, and the ‘False Friends’ stories are very clever. Her students’ artwork is proof of how much they enjoyed her courses. The pairwork exercises are lively, e.g., Snappy Debates lead to five-minute debates on topical subjects. There are questionnaires to discuss training periods and a whole section with oral and written tests for evaluation or pairwork.

A final thought from Marianne:

"Through my experience in teaching I have learned you don’t need to know everything to speak a foreign language. Learning the basics of oral Global English will already get you very far. You must, above all, practice producing language—language that is meaningful to you. I honestly believe you don’t have to go to an English-speaking country to become fluent. With effective teaching there comes a time (after a year or two of work) when the student realizes, ’I can do it! I can speak English!’ Helping students reach that moment has always been my goal."

Comforting advice for us as teachers, and something we can pass on to our students.

Gillian Evans, Secretary and Excom member, TESOL France

To purchase the digital book or the 50-minute film go to the store

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