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Thread: Books

  1. #1
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    Default Books

    Thought I'd start a place for people to list reference books that they find helpful.

    I've been reading English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer. Its got some nice material in it, but it tends to be a bit of a dry read. I'm not really sure there is such a thing as a captivating grammer book, but I'd love to find one.
    As far as I know, I know it all...

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    Right, the excellent grammar book i was talking about is:

    "English Grammar In Use" by Raymond Murphy.

    It's laid out as a self-study and reference book for foreign learners of English. I've found it very useful, and it has lots of example sentences for explaining grammar points (very valuable). I have the edition for Intermediate level students, but its available in Elementary and Advanced as well, and possibly Beginner and Proficiency (that would be scary) levels as well.

    Matt
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    Hehe. I make that damn spelling mistake all the time ops:

    I have the Murphy book as well. Actually it and the Harmer book I bought as a set.

    Both are good.
    As far as I know, I know it all...

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    Not totally sure about what it is (I havent personally picked it up yet), but the Brits have a new book out called "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" I think it may just be on punctuation though. (However, I hear the examples are quite entertaining!)

    8)

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    I haven't put much consideration into picking up grammar books and such, but I find that they will be especially useful for those simple, yet daunting questions related to the English language.

    Its all fun in games, until they ask you why you have one rule here, but 10 exceptions there. All in good fun! @_@

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinikenshi
    Its all fun in games, until they ask you why you have one rule here, but 10 exceptions there.
    Just ask them who organised their writing system, and they'll shut up!

    Questions like that are in the back of every language learner's head, but asking them is waste of time. Languages are the way they are, and they dont make sense, or we could use computers to translate for us.

    Matt
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    Admittedly, I suck at calling grammatical constructs by their proper names, but I use one handy desk reference for my own writings, and it's about the only "grammar book" I plan to take with me to Japan (more for my own benefit than anything else, truth be told)

    Strunk & White, _The Elements of Style_

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    Default OED

    The Oxford English Dictionary may be a hefty volume to carry with you to Japan, but there is an online version out there these days (http://dictionary.oed.com). You can look up words, phrases and expressions in this reference which then identifies various English language sources which are attributed to their origin. It's useful for when one needs to research a word etymology or if one wishes to explain odd or obscure idioms that native English speakers often take for granted. It's fun (IMO) to see how the language has evolved over the years and often telling a story can reinforce the lessons one teaches.

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    Default standard of english

    the book 'English Grammar in Use' is quite popular here in Australia, especially for ESL students. Nearly all uni exchange students I know use that that book. 'Eats, shoots and leaves' looks pretty entertaining, but i'm not sure how useful for the Japanese classroom.

    Does anyone have any idea what standard of english Japanese junior high students have? I heard that it was about middle primary level (in Australian standards). Anyone else got any ideas? I was thinking of taking over some grammar activity type books or would that be a waste of time/money? :? zoe

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    Japanese kids spend a LOT of time learning grammar rules. Sadly this doesn't help them actually speak English very well, although their written English skills should be better than their oral skills.

    Grammar forms a very small part of standard UK education these days, and the majority of foreignors who can hold even a very basic conversation in English know more about grammar than your average school leaver.
    Mabushiii!!!

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    Yeah, Truss' "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" is pretty good for punctuation but I disagree with a few things she says. And I'm the nerd who did my uni dissertation on students' use of the apostrophe! Strunk's book is archaic but still useful for clarifying age old problems with grammar. Fowler's New Modern English Usage is the definitive guide, imo. But yeah, the internet's resources'll come in useful if ever we're not sure about anything.

  12. #12
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    I don't think that you really have to worry about grammar. I taught Italian students english last summer and managed to get through quite easily with my limited knowledge of intimate grammar rules. As Paul(?) said Japanese students know shitloads of grammar so we don't really have to worry about it. Perhaps they can teach us a few things. :wink:

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    The name's Matt.

    Matt
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    Default Grammar Rules

    That should be interesting. As an English speaker, I am ashamed to admit that I know very few grammar rules formally, but I know of them in practice. To anyone out there who has seen the exams and tests that Japanese students prepare for, is it a necessary to reinforce the grammar rules themselves or is it better to emphasize the practice of these rules in practical situations?
    Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion.

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    I think we're going to be primarily responsible for helping with conversation, pronunciation, etc. rather than grammar. Considering there is absolutely no certification for teaching English required to be an ALT I think you guys might be worrying a little too much about knowing how to teach English grammar. I may be wrong, or perhaps it depends entirely on our individual situations, but I'm thinking the more important thing is coming with fun games to get the students to speak and overcome their shyness and/or help with pronunciation. The Japanese teachers probably teach them grammar long before we come into the picture. Rather than buying a bunch of grammar books, I'm planning on preparing myself by bringing items that could be talked about, i.e. maps of where I'm from, menus, bus schedules, pictures to talk about and/or play games with. Of course I could be underestimating my responsibilities, but according to a few friends who are former JETS, this is primarily what we will be doing as ALT's.

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    Default Academic highschool exception

    I work in an academic highschool as a jet currently and at least once a day an English teacher asks me a challenging grammar question pertaining to material from their grammar, reading, writing or my oral communication class. I brought with me,

    "Understanding and using English Grammar" by Betty Schrampfer Azar



    "The Good Grammar Book" by Swan and Walter

    I also picked up from my school library a grammar book with Japanese explanations (with English sentence examples) that requires a bit of Japanese knowledge "Royal English Grammar" by Watanuki, Miyakawa, Sugai, Takamatsu and Petersen (a bit dated but the Japanese explanations help my teachers).

    Often it is rather narrow focused questions, and often I would accpet more answers than they would, because their tests are written, but the students often respond in English that is correct spoken English, but there is a more proper written form. (goes to show at least my students watch english movies, listen to english songs, that's why they have the spoken bit down pat a bit more!!)

    There has been many accidents recently. (There's) spoken

    There have been many accidents recently.

    was a question the other day. The proper answer would be the second, but I have used and heard the top one as well. When the subject is the non-definitive "there", there can sometimes be confusion about what helping verb to use in the present perfect.

    anyways that is way too detailed, but just to let you that some ALTs are challenged in their jobs! My first year I taought in junior highschools and did more theme based stuff, talking about holidays and speical occasions in my home country. Starting a letter mail box at my schools so students could write to me in English, participating in after school sports...in class my teachers basically handed me the lesson plan already done, or said, "Here's page 36 and 37, how can we make a team lesson out of it?" and sometimes went into class still listening to my japanese teacher of english explain the plan to me!

    the best advice I can give is to be flexible, patient, and energetic (don't let the kids see your frustration, tiredness whatever!) we get paid too much to be moody and complainey...JETs have a great deal compared to most private english conversation teachers who come over, my husband can vouch for that eikaiwa turned JET himself! we have mid year conferences, and there are tonnes of non JET supports for people that have never taught before, online ESL/EFL resources, JALT (japan assoc. of lang. teachers) meetings, colloquials, and conferences....

    Anyways, good luck in preparing to come over and hopefully you've gotten in touch with your BOE or predecessor...I still haven't found my replacement!!! boo hoo.... :?

    Kanadajin

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    If you live near a university that offers classes leading to teaching certification in ESL, you may want to check out their bookstore and see what books the teachers' classes use. A grammar book intended for an ESL teacher tends to have a different focus than one aimed at native speakers. For instance, it may be hard to figure out how to explain the grammatical situation in which certain words are used, just because it's so easy and obvious for us that we've never needed to think about the rules behind them. Example: dined and ate
    Melvin ate in a restaurant. OK Melvin dined in a restaurant. OK
    BUT
    Melvin ate the pizza. OK Melvin dined the pizza. NOT OK

    A book intended for teachers tends to hit this kind of stuff, not just the relatively few things that are problems for native speakers.

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    Default Caru you hit the spot!

    Exactly. The grammar books above were from my teaching ESL grammar course taken when I got my CTESL. The Azar one even has cool pictures of tenses, what the past perfect looks like and present progressive on a timeline, for those visual learners among us. I found my books were useful when I didn't know how to explain why...which many native speakers resort to saying, "It sounds right????" but second language learners don"t usually have that... and the other one Swan text was written with Japanese learners in mind, major grammar points taught and challenging ones in Japan, I attended Michael Swan's presentation of it at JALT 2002 in Kitakyushu Japan conference. But when it comes to explaining to students, well, I leave it to my JTE to do in Japanese!! After all I remember learning my second language better when my teacher explained a difficult point in my first language (at the beginning of learning anyways!!)

    I reccommend a Japanese/English picture vocabulary book to, helps for brainstorming and games in elementary, junior high and even senior high with the pictures and the languages...helps you to study Japanese vocab too!!

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