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on 12 December 2007
This has been a great resource book during my training as an EFL teacher. It contains the essential information a trainee needs to know for any TESOL/TEFL course. e.g. Classroom activities, aims, classroom management, planning lessons, grammar, phonology and lexis content. An essential resource book.
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on 20 August 2010
I am an inexperienced native english language teacher and have started my CELTA course.
This book is brilliant and those who are about to start a CELTA and worried about grammar - well there is no need. I was learning about the basics of grammar frantically whilst reading this book to stop myself getting bored. I don't know why but I find learning the theory on grammar the dullest part of language teaching. I'm sure my students would find this true for them too so I wondered if there were techniques in this book I could use for my own learning.
One thing I found whilst looking at the CELTA syllabus (I highly recommend this so you know what to expect!) was that CELTA focuses on teaching methods, not your knowledge of grammar. When you do teach grammar, learn it the night before or a few days before...not a few months before the course starts. Once you teach and learn with your class, you will not forget it! This is in my opinion, the best way to learn grammar. However, it is worth familiarising yourself with some BASIC grammar such as the word classes and verb tenses with any basic grammar book. The internet is an even better resource! What I did was make my own typed up notes using various grammar books on the basics so that I can at least teach the basics should a question arise. That is to say, do not recite for example comprehensive paragraphs of what a preposition is! Simply one line definition and a few examples you can remember.

The book is divided into sections you will use to help you plan lessons, understand how people learn, to assess the environment in which you will teach, how to compose and interact in class, what to do when a student asks a question you don't know the answer to, how to deal with students experiencing difficulties, teaching multi-level classes, how to set up the best setting for learning etc.
There are brilliant resources in the back where you can photocopy and use in your own lessons. Things such as images, board games, cut-out cards and lesson plan templates. The book also has a 'toolkit' section where it explains well used and effective techniques of such things as correcting a student when they make an error (as to not discourage them), how to rearrange your classroom effectively, how to use body language to elicit the behaviours you want, how to demonstrate sentence structures in fun and interesting ways to even how to make the most of your blackboard/drawing board!

Let me structure this a bit better, here is a glimpse of the contents page:

Chapter 3 - Classroom activities. Example activities you can do in a class with individuals, pairs and groups.
Chapter 4 - Who are the learners? Accessing your students and how to best plan your lessons around them. Use of feedback.
Chapter 5 - Toolkit 1: classroom management. How to control and manage your lessons effectively. (How many of you have been in lessons where the teacher often loses control?! ;o) )
Chapter 6 - Planning lessons and courses. Types of lesson planning (you work out for yourself which is most suitable for you) and ways of structuring your own.
Chapter 7 - Speaking. Different ways of teaching speech and the kind of activities you could do.
Chapter 8 - Receptive skills: listening and reading. How we listen, how can you make listening lessons more effective. The task-feedback cycle.
Chapter 11 - Lexis.
Chapter 12 - Grammar. (This should reassure those of you panicking about your lack of grammar knowledge!!)
Chapter 13 - Phonology (This comes up in the CELTA course but it's not as scary to teach as you think!)
Chapter 16 - Toolkit 3: tools, techniques, activities. Lots of ideas and resources for teaching such as Flashcards, Picture stories, Storytelling, Fillers, LExical games, Dictation, Poetry, Pack of cards etc.
Appendices - Photocopiable materials. Observations tasks and resources.
Some key terminology - even teachers how their own lingo!

There is also a useful 'Help Index' if you want to quickly find something such as:

I need to...
...survive my first lesson Chapter 2 Section 2
...learn students' names Chapter 16 Section 5

It is a wonderful book to read and will calm any new or novice teacher. Teaching should be fun and dynamic and the amount of preparation you put in should be the bulk of that teaching - not the actual teaching itself. My idea of teaching is deep rooted from my school days of dull, unimaginative and forgetful lessons. Bulk of my learning was outside of class where I hid in libraries to teach myself (though I did go to a very rough state school where I was constantly bullied - better for it now though!).
So naturally, my first class was me repeating the bad habits of my own teachers in the past. I didn't understand what 'good teaching' was and this book certainly helped me towards understanding that a bit better.

I have another teaching book to review after this and will do a comparison later on.
A tip for CELTA students, this book will take you at least a month to finish reading (if you have a full-time job and an active social life that is!) so read as much as you can before you start. It doesn't matter so much if you don't finish it as you can jump in and out of it when you need to. However, you will be at a greater advantage if you manage to read most of it before you start.

I will definitely be referring to this book for many years to come to improve my teaching methods. What is also good about this book is that it is obvious this is Jim's own idea of what effective teaching is. He invites you to come up with your own ideas and he does this by presenting it in a way that gets you thinking!
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on 14 November 2009
This really does have all you need to start you off with TEFL. It's a lot bigger and heavier than I expected, so check your luggage allowance before buying to take on a gap year project! You won't need another "theory" book though. It includes lesson plans and ideas and a good grammar section. It's also easy to read and use.
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on 17 November 2009
As a trainee teacher I have found this book invaluable. An easy writing style helps with this complex subject. I am sure it will remain one of my study bibles for a few years to come. My partner has been a teacher for 25 years and found it an interesting and refreshing read. Highly recommended for new, early life and already established teachers of a foreign language. We never stop learning - but it's nice to know books like this are there to help!
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on 5 May 2011
For what could be quite a tedious read, this book is very well written. I am studying before I take my TEFL qualification and I have seen a few of these books. This is the one I stuck with from the very first page. The examples are helpful and I can see me using them, especially whilst I am still a new teacher. Nothing becomes laborious to read or over complicated. Each chapter is the right length for maximum information absorbtion. I feel a lot better prepared for entering the classroom both in knowledge and mindset.
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on 24 May 2009
Before tackling the CELTA course, it is worthwhile to reading this as it really helps to introduce the world of ELT teaching to the complete novice. However, those wanting to take the DELTA may prefer more detailed books such as those by Penny Ur and Jeremy Harmer.
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on 15 February 2010
Bought this when I did my CELTA course. Invaluable reference book, can highly recommend it! It's detailed enough without getting boring and though I don't think anybody reads it cover to cover at the beginning, it provided me with useful information throughout the course. It's one of those books that you just start to browse through even if you are not looking for something specific and suddenly you discover a new technique which you then want to try out in your next lesson. It was also helpful as a reference for the CELTA assignments. The book also includes some photocopiable resources, e.g. questionnaire for individual learning preferences, lesson plans (long and short version), different worksheets and games. There are not a lot of resources but they can give you ideas for making your own! Definitely a good buy.
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on 3 September 2009
Just about to start Celta course and this book is on the reading list. Very well written and easy to engage with. Not a dry text book but obviously written by someone who enjoys, and is clearly very good at, teaching. Only gave 4 stars as still dipping in and out of before I start my course.
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on 25 January 2011
The thing thats great about this book is that it takes a realistic approach to teaching. It admits, and works with, the fact that sometimes you're not going to spend 2 hours planning your lessons or that you may not always want to bend you lessons to fit the 'CELTA mould'. It has a relaxed, realistic approach that encourages you not to get too entrapped in the theory, but still plan and teach well structured, basic varied lessons. It also has great 'problem solving' sections which offer good solutions to many of the problems that language teachers face.

Scrivenor's "Learning Teaching" is the only book of its kind that I really find myself coming back to several years in to my teaching career. If I want to, say, remind myself how to logically stage a writing lesson - I can always check the well prepared guide in the 'Teaching writing' section and instantly remind myelf of how they should look and (usually) noticing a few things that I've never tried before. And I still use the handful of pre-prepared materials found in the back of the book (like the excellent picture based needs analysis discussion cards).

I'd reccomend this book both to teachers doing thier initital training, trained teachers looking for but also to teachers with no official qualifications looking for some general reading to improve thier teaching. Its down to earth, realistic approach makes it a lot more useable than a lot of the teacher training books out there.
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on 12 May 2010
My CELTA tutor advised me to buy this book. It is good if you just started taching or doing a ELT training course.
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