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Esl textbook review - All Clear 3

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Review of All Clear 3 by Helen Kalkstein Fragiadakis

Review of All Clear 3 by Helen Kalkstein Fragiadakis

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  • 1. Dorothy - http://doctoradorothy.blogspot.com/ Instructional Material Review Following the guidelines provided by Brown (192), I reviewed the textbook All Clear 3: Listening and Speaking, second edition. This book was written by Helen Kalkstein Fragiadakis and it was published by Thomson Heinle on 2007. All Clear 3 is the last of a series of books and it is designed to teach conversational English for Academic Purposes to advanced adult English language learners. 1. Goals of the course: Given its conversationally-oriented nature,this book can work for courses with both academic and conversational goals.2. Background of the students: The lessons, which include topics such as taking the initiative ina party, feeling bored in class, and discussing about violence in the media, are appropriate tothe age, educational background, and purpose for learning English (communication). The bookdoes not address the students’ native language per se, but the “Pronunciation Section” at theback of the text exposes students to suprasegmental aspects that might be different betweentheir L1 and L2 (stress, intonation, and rhythm). Some of the “Culture Note” boxes that appearin every lesson take into account the possible native cultures of the students. For example theone on page 65, lists proverbs from Arabic, Bantu, and French in order to help students thinkabout proverbs related to the topic of work.3. Approach: The theoretical approach reflected in the book is that of the CommunicativeLanguage Teaching Approach. The book uses contextualization of activities, theencouragement of communicating through interaction with others, the development ofmaterials to maintain student’s interest, and the instruction goal of communicativecompetence. This approach is aligned with the students’ language needs (communicating inthe L2) as well as with my teaching philosophy. An example of the book’s CLT approach can beseen in Lesson 8’s “Role Play” activity where students are instructed to create a dialogue fortwo people who just arrived at a hotel lobby for an international conference (145). This is an
  • 2. Dorothy - http://doctoradorothy.blogspot.com/activity that encourages the production of language by using some of the idioms andexpressions learned in the lesson and throughout the textbook in general. On Lesson 6,students are asked to talk about the differences they perceive on physical and eye contactbetween the L2 culture and their own one, promoting in this way an interesting discussion aswell as cultural insights (107).4. Language skills: While the initial focus of each lesson is on lexical chunks of language (idiomsand other expressions), All Clear 3 enables students to gain practice in all skill areas: listening,speaking, pronunciation, grammar, reading, and writing.5. General content:- The content of the textbook aligns with its purpose of being a conversationally-oriented text.All Clear 3 exposes students to conversational situations that can serve as a basis forconversation practice (often with a cross-cultural focus) and provides many structured andcommunicative activities for speaking, listening, and public speaking practice.- Regarding the authenticity of language, the book teaches students to recognize and producehigh-frequency idioms phrases, and contemporary expressions needed in a range ofconversational situations. The communicative activities emphasize the practical uses of theseidioms in everyday conversations.- I believe that the topics, situation, and contexts are appropriate for students at an advancedlevel. The “Your Turn” sections give students the opportunity to personalize and connectidioms to their own lives and experiences.- Varied activities and numerous visuals are designed to reach students with a range of learningstyles.6. Quality of practice material: "Your Turn" speaking activities encourage learners to use thenewly acquired idioms and expressions interactively. Numerous listening and speaking activitieshelp build fluency through the integration of reading, writing, and grammar skills. Specialattention is given to the grammar related to expressions in order to help develop fluency andaccuracy. For each lesson, there is a pronunciation section at the back of the book that usesthe language and theme of that lesson to practice specific pronunciation points. After every
  • 3. Dorothy - http://doctoradorothy.blogspot.com/two lessons, a “Collocation Match-Up” exercise and a crossword puzzle provide students withopportunities for review.Grammatical and other linguistic explanations are both inductive and deductive. Meanings arerevealed in explanations, mini-dialogues and example sentences. Grammar and pronunciationnotes call attention to details about expressions. Notes about usage are also included and theorigins of some idioms are given.Although the “Role Play” and “Connection to the Real World” activities provide some flexibilityin the way students practice the material, at this level it would be appropriate to haveopportunities for more student-controlled activities.7. Sequencing: Each lesson is independent, except in the area of pronunciation. Thepronunciation points build upon one another, so if this aspect is a substantial component of thecourse, it is suggested to follow the lessons in order.8. Vocabulary: The book has a strong focus on lexical chunks of language in the form of idiomsand other expressions. The strategy for word analysis is the use of the new vocabulary incontext.9. Sociolinguistic factors: All Clear 3 does not use a variety of English. The idioms andexpressions correspond to American English. In my opinion, this is the main limitation of thistextbook. Regarding cultural content, the “Culture Notes” provide students with theopportunity to gain insights into other cultures and they also encourage reflection about theirown one.10. Format: I find the stress markings used in the idioms and expressions very helpful. Thetypesetting and the illustrations are clear. However, due to the ample amount of proposedactivities, the layout of some pages seems too busy.11. Accompanying materials: There are three audio CDs for students and an assessment CDROM for teachers. The Audio Program includes the listening passages for the “FocusedListening” sections. A suggestion would be to create a workbook for the activities in order tomake the pages of the textbook more reader-friendly.
  • 4. Dorothy - http://doctoradorothy.blogspot.com/ ReferencesBrown, H. Douglas. Teaching by Principles, an Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, 3rd ed. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education, 2007Fragiadakis, Helen K. All Clear 3: Listening and Speaking, 2nd ed. Boston: Thomson Heinle, 2007