February 2016 – Volume 19, Number 4
World English 2, Second Edition
|Kristin Johannsen & Rebecca Chase (2015)
|Boston: National Geographic Learning
World English 2 is the third installment of a four-part series by National Geographic which aims to shift the discussion from language learning to “communication building” in the English language classroom. The concept is that practicing and developing communication is of more importance than simply receiving information. As the title suggests, the intention of this book is to connect students to the world. This is done through full page images, personal stories, and video which capture the attention of learners and therefore give them motivation and desire to communicate. This integrated-skills book has an accompanying CD as well as access to an online workbook. The book is divided into twelve units each with clear objectives in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking and pronunciation, reading, and writing. Further, National Geographic video and TEDtalk components are incorporated into each unit with an additional video journal section.
World English 2 is an English language learning textbook intended for low-intermediate students of English. It is to be used in a classroom with technology supporting the use of the audio and videos. Despite the full-page images and bright colors, the appropriate audience seems to be young-adult to adult learners due to some mature topics mentioned. For example, Unit 3 provides an opportunity for students to discuss the good and bad elements of a neighborhood. Also, Unit 6 asks students to reflect on milestones in their lives.
Undoubtedly, the principal highlight of this book is its ability to captivate the attention and imagination of students of other languages learning English. The vibrancy of this book can be attributed to the beautifully vivid images present throughout the book. Readers will be pleased with the page-turning images illuminating fascinatingly diverse people, places, food, and technology from around the world. Various diverse cultures and stories are presented to the students. The unit opens with a two-page vibrant photo to introduce the topic and objectives of the section. The introductory questions ask the students a question such as, “What do you see in the picture?” and a follow-up question related to the first. While many books have listening components to them, this book is innovative in its attempt to incorporate modern, relevant, and popular video into the lessons as an integrated-skills book. TEDtalks and National Geographic videos are integrated throughout the curriculum rather than simply added as an addendum to the material with before you watch, while you watch, and after you watch activities.
In terms of the content, this book’s strength is its practicality. Adult-level students would be appreciative of the writing activities ranging from responding to an e-mail to writing an excuse for a sick child. Speaking and vocabulary sections also include a section on small talk or suggesting remedies to problems. Practicality and interest is one of the common complaints of teachers and students, and this book seems to do well in both of these areas. The patterned organization and systematic nature of this book is appealing as the lessons are organized in a neat and easy to read fashion. Teachers would appreciate each unit’s organization and division as it creates routine and expectations for students. There is an equal balance of skill areas for this integrated-skills book. Most of the sections have less than six items to practice or questions to answer. The principal objective of this book is to draw students out of the book and begin communicating. This practical and well-organized communication based book would be ideal for an English as a Second Language (ESL) setting; however, without the necessary equipment needed to play the videos and audio, using this in your curriculum might pose a challenge. In conclusion, for teachers searching for interest provoking and conversation starting material, this item is a strong choice. World English 2 covers a variety of level appropriate topics and grammatical points. Instructors and students alike will appreciate its effective organization and appealing nature.
University of Central Florida
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