Vol. 7. No. 4 R-3 March 2004
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American Headway Starter Teacher's Resource Book

Liz Soars, John Soars and Mark Uribe (2002)
Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pp. v + 75
ISBN 019-4371778

This book provides the teacher with the tools to teach a class, through the numerous varieties of exercises that can be photocopied.

The introduction informs the teachers of the aim of the book, wanting to "give teachers additional material that reviews and extends the work in the Student Book," as well as "give students lots of extra speaking practice" (p. iii). These activities encourage teamwork, stimulate conversation, and build their confidence. This section also provides the teacher with information on how to use these activities.

There are 32 activities with an average of two per unit. The "Contents" provides the title of each activity, called "Worksheet," its description, and the language focus. For instance, worksheet 6.2, which is the second activity for unit 6, is entitled "Mario the musician." It requires students to reassemble " a jumbled text," with the language focus on the " Present Simple third-person." Turning to the pages (pp. 26-27) that correspond to this exercise, the teacher notices the set up. Laid out over two pages, the first page provides instructions to the teacher on how to present this activity.

The box on left hand side of the page presents the "Aim" of this activity, its main focus; the "language" explains the grammar focus; "skills" lists what aspect students will have to work on; "lesson link" tells the teacher where to incorporate the activity (in relation to the Student Book); finally, "Materials" informs the teacher of what will be needed in order to execute the activity. This box serves a kind of checklist for the teacher. A warm-up to the main activity follows with "pre-activity," where the teacher reminds students of the vocabulary and grammar focus. After setting up the context, the teacher moves on to the "procedure," where a step-by-step guide is provided to set up and accomplish the activity. Finally, "extension" provides still another activity. As mentioned in the introduction, they "are generally writing activities that build on the language or topics covered in the main activity" (p. iii). Further helping students use the skills they have accumulated up-to-date.

The activities are never boring and vary in style. There are role-playing activities, surveys, memory games, even a game of connect four. All of these various types of activities require interaction, and therefore, encourage speaking and listening.

This series is great. Its authentic approach with photographs and people or various nationalities brings the material closer to students. Being able to identify themselves with the texts is crucial in convincing them of the use of each lesson or exercise. A teacher's classroom could never be dull, since the activities are abundant and different, sustaining students' attention.

Panagiota Dimakis
Université de Montréal

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