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The Practice of English Language Teaching (4th Edition) (With DVD) (Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers) Paperback – 31 May 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Longman ELT; 4th edition (31 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405853115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405853118
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.5 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is easily the best all-round A-Z of how to teach English as a Foreign Language. Already a classic before this edition, the new version is thoroughly up-to-date and more rational in its organisation. A real boon to teachers, trainers and other ELT professionals.
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Format: Paperback
As part of my CELTA course, this book was recommended.
This is a useful reference book to learn the background to language teaching, some key concepts and explores ideas of language teaching. It doesn't recommend as much as mention what methods are used. It is a quite an objective and informative book and does cover a comprehensive set of topic areas in teaching.
I have found that a lot of the teaching training classes have lessons taken out from this book so definitely worth it for the course! However, it is a little hard to read and you are often trying to read between the lines. I do often find myself asking questions after reading it so things are not as clear as they could be as to which method is generally considered 'better'. This is can be a good thing as it invites the reader to make their own judgements. The author of the book actually teaches at the school I am being trained at. He is a well respected ESL expert and active in the practice.
Though in just my opinion, a lot of what he says could be cut down to a mere few sentences. The book is very long and heavy to carry around. If I were to re-write I would cut out a lot of the author's commentary and side/background information which isn't particularly useful and place them in an appendix (perhaps as a separate booklet) as when you're looking for specific information, there's an awful lot of scanning involved.
I favour Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener which is written much simpler, easy to follow and is more 'modern'. Plus you can go in and out of the book fairly easily.
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Format: Paperback
New to teaching English, I bought this book in preparation for the CELTA course which I'm about to start. It was on the pre-course reading list and I had heard that it is one of the most popular and highly recommended books for English teaching methodology.

Of course I am yet to use the book into the context of the CELTA course - but having now read a good chunk of it (1/3) I can say that it is very thorough and detailed in its explanation and approach.... But if anything it is sometimes too wordy. Coming from a business background, and being used to reading business books, I would have appreciated more diagrams and charts to explain things where possible and cut down on the volume of text- I find visual representation (diagrams, graphs, chart etc), backed up with some text can provide a speedier way for a reader to grasp a methodology or a concept without getting too bogged down in pages and pages of text - the old adage: a pictures speaks a thousand words.
Definitely a worthwhile read though if you are going the CELTA route.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in its entirety before completing a TEFL course and found it invaluable. It covers everything from intonation through to the use of audio-visual equipment in class.
Whilst I did find some of the information plain common sense it is still a 'must read' to get a foot up in the world of TEFL/TESOL
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Format: Paperback
Sorry, I can't see why this book has been recommended by so many courses. It's formulaic and fails to make useful judgements between methods. I suppose the thing I like least is how he interprets psychological theories. This is essentially a recapitulation of popular prejudices. He misses the basic points about behaviourism, comes out with outdated criticisms of intelligence testing and promotes 'Multiple Intelligence' uncritically (the experimental evidence is in fact unsupportive of this). And B.F. Skinner's first name was not Bernard!

Peculiarly enough, Harmer's other book, 'How to teach English' is probably the best introduction to English teaching. It's compact and leads to you having a basic understanding of what you should be attempting to do in class.
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By therealus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another recommended text for CELTA, but one I never got round to reading until I'd completed the course. Believe me, in retrospect I can say that if you're doing the course it's worth reading beforehand, even if it's just so you know some of the answers when you start, but mostly so some of the concepts don't come new to you and you can ask some smarter questions.

Harmer is, of course, one of the "names" in ELT writing, and on the basis of this work it's easy to see why. And not only is the content here highly practical for "Teaching English as a Lingua Franca", as he convincingly argues it should be called, some would be of value to any teacher, with general sections regarding learning styles, lesson structures and classroom management, to name just a few. I also found it useful in structuring my own approach to learning a "second language" myself.

For the language specialist, there are sections on language acquisition, different approaches to presentation, motivation, types of learner and teacher, and alternative theories and approaches to paradigms such as PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production).

There are also some very useful-looking lesson plan ideas, for the range of abilities, skills and learning styles.

As you'd expect, it's not the only book you'll ever need as a teacher, but it's possibly in the category of "If you only have time to read one book about being an English Teacher..."
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