TEFL 101

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 January, 2011, 12:00am

TEFL 101
by Luan Hanratty
Cambridge Academic, HK$197

If there's one thing that turns a reader off a book, it's being told by the author what to make of it. 'There is no waste in this book,' writes Luan Hanratty. 'The points are punchy and relevant ... this book is about 'boots on the ground' actual teaching ...' Thankfully, TEFL 101: Principles, Approaches, Methods & Techniques lives up to its creator's description in 101 chapters outlining how best to teach English as a foreign language. The book, whose target audience is teachers in Asia, addresses everything from classroom management to things to avoid (for example, idioms, unless they're well understood) to the semantic translation method, which relies on translation, textual representation and rote repetition. Sections with a specific Asian focus explain what's different about Asian learners: they are, among other things, test oriented and victims of 'groupthink'. The biggest single problem among Asian students is pronunciation, Hanratty contends. In the phonology chapter, she includes common mistakes Chinese speakers of English make. One blunder she makes, however, is to forbid them, when speaking English, to use tones for Chinese words.