Top 5 theoretical books for TEFL teachers

By | June 29, 2013

I have read many books on teaching English and here I have created my top 5 list of the theoretical one.

1. Vocabulary Myths by Keith S. Folse
Having finished my TESLdip course I realised that all the methodology was created for a completely different setting than the one I was regularly teaching in. I realised the Mother tongue had its place in monolingual classrooms but I didn’t know where and how.
In this book all the myths surrounding teaching vocabulary and English as a second or foreign language are blown and all the research findings are summed up in a very readable way. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

2. Learning Teaching – Jim Scrivener
I know this is a classic but it is good. All the basic methods and approaches are described here and I like dipping in from time to time. Maybe, if you are an experienced teacher, it won’t be as interesting or new but it is always good to remember the basics.

3. Messaging – George Woolard
Right now it is the top book for me. For the last two months I was looking for a new method to teach my students English. After teaching them for the whole year I found out that they do not know as much as I would like them to know. What I needed was a method which would give the students a feeling of success and give students the chance to learn at home. And then I came across this book.
And now I believe that this book answers all my needs. Of course I will change the method a bit to suit my teaching style but I believe that George Woolard found the holy grail here.

4. Uncovering Grammar – Scott Thornbury
It was probably my first theoretical book on teaching TEFL I have ever read and at that time I was not experienced enough to understand it fully. However, beside all the theory there are several practical activities and worksheets which I have been using since.

5. Big questions in ELT – Scott Thornbury
In this tiny book all the big questions concerning teaching English are summed up. All the questions are dealt with in depth, but the answers are not given 🙂 It is fine that even the best in our field have the same problems as I do, but I would love to know the answers. (BTW it is sometimes quite clear what the author’s answer is even though it is never clearly stated.)


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