I’d thought about publishing a list of ELT books I usually recommend to teachers I work with, but I’d never really got to doing it. There are lots of ELT lists of books for teachers on Amazon and other sites that I thought it wouldn’t be exactly helpful. However, after a very brief exchange of tweets with @thieddu and some talks with teachers I know and who have participated in training sessions, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to mention some of the books. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and I do believe some readers can actually contribute a book or two.
I’ll start this series with some methodology books.
1. If you’ve been looking for a place to start, and have got little experience or reading, I’d suggest “How to Teach English“, by Jeremy Harmer. The book will cover the basics of teaching and learning, including suggestions for teaching the different skills. It’s also a nice book for teacher trainers depending on the level of your trainees. The Task files a the end of the book give you some food for thought during your training sessions.
2. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the different approaches and methods throughout the history of ELT, I recommend you check “Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching“, by Jack C. Richards and Theodore S. Rodgers. I highly recommend the first few chapters where the authors discuss some key concepts any language teacher should think about – theory of language, theory of language learning, approach, method, design, and procedure.
3. No methodology library would be complete without H. Douglas Brown’s “Teaching by Principles“. The book contains a wealth of information on many different issues in the field of ELT, and it also leads you to a way forward. In addition, the questions for discussions at the end of each chapter are insightful.
4. Another useful book for teacher trainers and teachers interested in learning more about their profession and grow as teachers is Penny Ur’s “A course in Language Teaching“. It also has good questions that will lead to discovery instead of merely showing the way.
5. If you’ve read the first book of this list, or maybe if you’re more experienced and read, Jeremy Harmer’s “The Practice of English Language Teaching” is a good choice. Harmer expands on the topics introduced in his “How to Teach English”, which make the book much more thorough. The videos of recorded classes in the new edition are a great addition to the book.
6. The last book in this post is David Nunan’s “Second Language Teaching & Learning“. Not only does Nunan provide his readers with practical examples, but there are also questions and tasks to be discussed in training courses. One thing that called my attention was the concept maps present at the end of each chapter.
Which books would you add to or remove from the list? I know there are two other books I’d add to the list, but one of them I haven’t read in its entirety yet (yes, shame on me – it’s Jim Scrivener’s “Learning Teaching“) and the other one I still couldn’t get hold of a copy in Brazil (Luke Medding’s and Scott Thornbury’s “Teaching Unplugged“). Nevertheless, these books would “close” the list.
I hope you find this first list useful. Feel free to criticise it. I’ll be continuing this series with books on other areas of ELT soon.