Student’s book – Michael Duckworth & Rebecca Turner (OUP 2008) Teacher’s book – John Hughes ISBNs: (SB) 978-0-19-473940-5; (TB) 978-0-19- 473945-0
This is a fairly comprehensive Business English course set at B2/lower C1 levels – it is well supported by the accompanying resources. We have been testing it in small group and 1:1 situations, and have found the scope particularly flexible thanks to the support of listening and video activities, interactive workbook and case studies based on real live businesses (not always the case!). Each unit has three sections: ‘working with words’- useful language (particularly collocation) is presented carefully, allowing for plenty opportunity for practice in the safety of the classroom; ‘business communication skills’ – well represented throughout, with ideas for consolidation and practice; ‘language at work’ – grammar points which do not need to be studied in depth. The 16 unit topics can all be related to a variety of occupations and it has been possible to use elements of the course alongside other tried and tested materials. Clients like the fact that the Student’s Book contains not only audio scripts and information files for activities, but also the Practice File (two pages per unit) and a handy two-page ‘Useful Phrases’ section.
A major disappointment is the lack of authentic listening materials – understanding native speakers at natural speeds is one of the main concerns for most of our clients, and although these listening exercises do feature different accents, they are obviously staged and acted. It is also frustrating that the separate conversations are not divided on some of the CD tracks, so they are difficult to locate for repeat listening.
The course is definitely enhanced by the teacher’s pack – The Teacher’s Book is clear and provides good ideas – especially helpful for the less experienced teacher, as is the teacher training DVD. Progress tests for each unit provide useful revision. There is also welcome variety on the Class DVD – some acted-out situations, some graphics – i.e. suited to different learning styles.