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The Practice of English Language Teaching 5th Edition Book for Pack (Longman Handbooks for Language Teaching) Paperback – 2 Apr 2015
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All of these topics are decent in and of itself, but when you try to cram them into a book that is *also* about English didactics, the result is that each topic is treated superficially in the extreme - there is simply not enough space in one book to treat the topics at the necessary length. This leads us to ask the question: Who is the target audience for this book? Is it people who have just started studying education? If so, the topics must be fewer and treated in more depth. Is it teachers with some background in education, but who want to learn more about the specifics of English education? If so, chances are they already know about classroom management, planning lessons and so on, and reading a three-page refresher isn't really useful to us; they should've just scrapped these chapters and added more meat to the English-didactic related chapters.
To emphasize just how superficial the topics are treated, look at the chapter "Managing for success". In the 8 pages this chapter spans, the author dedicates two pages to the topic "why problems occur" and lists up the family, expectations, approval, teacher actions, success and failure, and external factors as some reasons why they could. Obvious stuff any teacher have learnt already, and it goes without saying that within the span of 2 pages you aren't gonna learn anything new or even remotely come close to answer a question so broad as to "why problems occur".
The writing is ridiculously incoherent. The best example here is chapter 4, pg. 54-55, which starts out by defining the terms "approach", "method", "procedure" and "technique" and adding that "the use and mis-use of these terms can make discussions of comparative methodology somewhat confusing". The rest of the chapter then goes on to discuss different language methodology while **not using the terms as they were defined in the opening of the chapter**, and are seemingly unaware that they do this - at least they aren't telling us why they are using the terms in a different way, or why they would bother defining terms that they aren't going to use anyways.
The text frequently ends up not answering or describing anything related to the headlines or sub-headlines and chapters jump from topic to topic with little to no cohesion.
An alternative headline to this review could be "old man talks about things" because I have the impression that the book was written this way: That some transcriber asks Harmer to freely associate around a topic and that they then transcribe this into a text. Repeat 3-400 times and you have a book. The book adds in a couple of citations here and there which adds to the impression. The way in which the book cites authors reminds me of the way a lazy student writes papers. A lazy students adds random and not very relevant statement that could be proven by [author, published year] in his text not for any particular reason other than having X books in the bibliography, and this is also the way that this book adds citations.
All in all I think it's amazing that this book has as many good reviews as it has. Have any of these people actually read the book? Is it peer pressure? Bots? Is this book a status-signalling device or something? We may never know. But trust me, this book is crap and there is no reason for it to have been written.