Posted on August 19, 2019 | By Jenni Fogg
13th Apr 2019
Whether you’re about to start your TEFL training or you’re getting ready to fly out to your new job and need some in-flight entertainment, take a look at our recommended reading list. Here are our top 8 books every EFL teacher needs.
On every reading list for new EFL teachers, you’re bound to find Learning Teaching (“the purple one”) – and for good reason too! It’s insightful, interesting and relatively informal. Scrivener works hard to ensure you won’t feel daunted and peppers his book with anecdotes and stories of both best practice and things to avoid in the classroom.
From the theory of teaching to practical games and activities, there’s a little bit of everything – and some photocopiable bits and pieces too. It’s a fabulous starter book and it’s incredibly easy to read too.
This reference book is a ‘who’s who’ of terminology – it’s arranged alphabetically (obviously!) and goes through everything you really need to know. Consider it an encyclopaedia of English Language Teaching. It’s especially useful if you’re preparing for a higher level of qualification, such as the Delta Module 1 exam.
If you don’t know your focus on form from your input + 1, this book might be the one for you. The definitions are easy to understand and, importantly, there isn’t loads of unknown terminology in the definitions themselves.
If you’re interested in the differences between languages and how your students might struggle when learning English, this book should be right up your street. Learner English will help you to anticipate problems that your learners might have in the classroom, from pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary to cultural differences you should be aware of. It covers a wide range of nationalities (but double check if it includes the language you need before you buy it!). It’s a must have on any further teaching courses, such as the CELTA and Delta, where you’ll need to focus on your learners.
Pronunciation can be a bit of a daunting area of English Language Teaching. Sound Foundations is a guide to understanding different aspects of pronunciation – from individual sounds to connected speech, how sounds are formed in your mouth and how to teach these things in the classroom. It’s very detailed and is best read in chunks when you need them, rather than attempting it from cover to cover! If you feel pronunciation is a weakness of yours or it’s an area you love and you’d like to find out more about, take a look at Sound Foundations.
If your listening lessons are purely a case of following the coursebook instructions without really knowing why, you might enjoy Field’s book which explains how to develop your students’ listening skills. Field explores the difference between testing your students (through lots of coursebook style listening practice) and really teaching them to become better listeners. There are some practical activities to experiment with in the classroom too. Field also offers some tips for helping your learners cope with listening ‘in the real world’ so that they don’t end up nodding and saying yes even when they don’t actually understand a word!
This fascinating book gives an overview of the different theories of language learning. Although it might not all be directly relevant to the English language classroom, you won’t be able to deny how interesting the research is. The book covers how we learn a first language as a child and then how we learn a second language. It also has sections on bilingual children too. If you’re looking for practical ideas to help your students in the classroom, this one might not do it for you, but if you’re curious about understanding how we acquire language (and want some anecdotes to tell your friends) this book is highly recommended.
For a straightforward catch-all explanation of English grammar, try this reference book. You’ll never need to read it from start to finish but it’s great to dip into to answer any questions you have. Importantly, it’s written in a way that is easy to understand with very clear examples. Use it to build up your knowledge of grammar rules over time. If your students ask you a grammar question that you don’t know the answer to, the answer is likely to be within Practical English Usage.
A must-have book for anyone who struggles to tell their future perfect from their present perfect continuous. Each tense is explained with plenty of detail but is easy to understand. You’ll be given example sentences, timelines, suggested contexts, anticipated problems students will have, and lots of practical advice and activities to help you teach the tense in the classroom. There’s also a photocopiable section of resources at the back of the book. What’s not to love?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this list and will find something on it that takes your fancy! If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 5 Fantastic EFL Blogs for Teaching Tips and Advice.