Text Book Recommendations

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(angela jackson 3) #1

Hi everyone,



I’m giving private lessons to a 13 year old bright, motivated French girl; she really is the perfect pupil. We’ve been working together now for 18 months with the brief that she’d like to be as fluent as possible in English as quickly as possible (so, no pressure there!) As she does English at school I’ve been working alongside the programme but doing it in more depth and widening her vocabulary. However, I’ve now reached a point where I’d like to look at the grammar in more depth and am searching for a good grammar book with exercises that is attractive to a teenager.

Which is a long way of saying; can anyone recommend a good grammar book with exercises, please?


(angela jackson 3) #2

Emma: I’m so pleased you gave the instructions for the interactive conjugation. I haven’t used it yet but fully intend to. Now I’m wondering what you do with the playing cards :slight_smile:

Amanda: as it happened, I was given a few hours teaching English to restaurant and waiting staff this week for le GRETA and was offered a reference/activity book for the course. It’s called " L’Anglais en 10 Lecons enseignement, formation, restauration, hotellerie, serveurs, cuisiners" It’s by Elisabeth Brikke Editions B.P.I. From what I could see, it’s basic kitchen and serving scenarios presented in English with a French translation so all the relevant vocab is covered. I’d already prepared a bunch of stuff so I didn’t use it but next time I’ll have a closer look.


(Emma LEE) #3

Angela - mock not! I have a box full of them! :slight_smile:

You wouldn’t believe how useful they can be for interactive conjugation!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 = each person (I, you etc) and roll the dice to say the verb in discussion - e.g savoir - e.g. Roll 1 and say ‘I know’, roll 3 and choose, ‘he knows’ etc.

Add a second dice for present, passé composé, imperfect, pluperfect, conditional and future.

So… roll 1 and 6 and you have to say the 1st person singular future of ‘to know’ = I will know.

Then I ask them once we’ve done plenty of 2-dice combos to make a sentence using ‘to know’ - then the negative - then a question - then a negative question. It’s really fun, uses lots of movement and boy can you conjugate a verb afterwards!
I usually do about 30 minutes of this game per verb, every month or so. In between other activities, it’s a really fun way to do some very boring conjugation work.
Plus, if you want to be more simple, you can just use normal dice!


(Amanda Atkins) #4

Hi, everyone - just picking up on the text book recommendations theme - I work for the CCI in the Haute-Loire, and have searched unsuccessfully to find a textbook for restaurant owners/workers. I’m on my third pair of restauranteurs… (the other two courses have finished now) and have used “Highly Recommended” and “Be My Guest” as a basis (obviously with lots of role-play and food-based fun alongside); but they are both too broadly Hotel/Tourism based, with lots of room booking etc, and consequently the actual restaurant/bar chapters are too simple and basic for my pre-intermediate students.
I’ve found some good stuff on EFL websites, and obviously with my passion for all things edible, the classes are never short of subject matter, but has anyone ever come across a good textbook specifically for the restaurant industry?
Many thanks


(angela jackson 3) #5

I have plenty of food for thought here and lots of lovely book browsing to look forward to; my thanks for your input, Emma…now where did I put my furry dice?

Susan: I figure she’s my reward for all those sessions of soutien with unmotivated 14 year old boys…


(Emma LEE) #6

You might find things by Geoff Barton very helpful. He and Claire Constant, a colleague of mine, write grammar books you can find easily on Amazon.


(Emma LEE) #7

I use Paul Ginnis’s “Teacher’s Toolkit” for teaching grammar - though you have to work to see how it would work. For instance, how do fluffy dice work with conjugation? :slight_smile:

I use lots of card sorts, diamond ranking and interactive things like that when I’m doing grammar/conjugation - it seems to embed it really well.


(angela jackson 3) #8

Yes, that’s it in a nutshell…


(Sab Will) #9

Yes, I think you have the right approach Angela. A lot of it’s about working out what the parents want and making them believe you are giving it to them, whilst still teaching at least a bit the way you want to. The funny thing is we have several ‘masters’. The parents want one thing; the kid another; and finally we, the teachers, know what would actually be the best way of teaching which doesn’t always match the previous two! Let us know how it goes :smiley:


(angela jackson 3) #10

Thanks very much for the speedy and helpful reply. I’ll have a look at those books this weekend.
Yes, I understand what you’re saying about grammar books and, apart from reference I don’t usually need to use them but in this case as reinforcement of the structure of the language for homework I think (hope) it will prove useful and, yes, she’s very serious along with all her family…

With concours for entry to higher education establishments setting quite tricky grammar tests, it’s hard to get away from teaching grammar at some level, I think, and though I don’t exactly relish it, I don’t mind studying it with bright pupils for, say, 15-20 minutes at a time.


(Sab Will) #11

Hi Angela.

You specifically ask for a ‘grammar’ book with exercises, which although perhaps not the sexiest approach is often what French students want and consider ‘serious’. So apart from the classic ‘Murphy’ book, which I suppose you know, you could try the new Practical Grammar books from Heinle.

As far as grammar books go, they’re pretty user friendly, pictures, variety, etc. I reviewed levels 1 and 2 ten months ago on my ELT review blog here, and the new level 3 is just out for Intermediate to Upper Int: heavier, of course, but still attractive.

Using grammar books with private students is all very well in principle, but good luck in terms of keeping motivation to learn high. You might want to give them units to do for homework and then go over them in your lessons (wonderful for wast…, I mean providing good solid chunks of learning) and create a few rehumanised exercises based on the points covered to keep them (and you) awake.