Best Books for Beginning ESL Teachers

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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Best Books for Beginning ESL Teachers

Unread post by Brian » Fri May 11, 2007 4:08 am

What are the two or three best books for a beginning teacher of ESL?



Unread post by Ben » Tue May 15, 2007 8:56 pm

Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener

This book is so useful, covers everything from what to do on your first day to how to deal with teacher burnout to sample lessons to everything else. He also writes at One Stop English if you want to get a feel for his style. If you're looking for someone to tell you exactly what to do, look somewhere else. His is more of a thoughtful, trial and error, "this is what I did, but your results may differ," kind of style. I am so glad I bought this book.

After that it depends on what you're interested in, the How to Teach... series is pretty good and if you're looking for a grammar book I think Raymond Murphy's Grammar in Use Intermediate has great examples for just about everything. Or check out Scott Thornbury's books or website for a completely different approach.

Happy reading!


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Unread post by Brian » Wed May 16, 2007 4:39 pm

Thanks! I'll look for it.

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Unread post by Ele » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:34 am

Yes, R. Murphy is good. Also, anything by Jeremy Harmer.
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Unread post by Jazz » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:36 am

I have also found Jeremy Harmer to be of great use. For me however, as a teacher with little experience, the internet has been wonderful resource with me being able to pick up tips and pointers here and there.

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Unread post by Heads Up Eng » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:36 am

Scrivener is good, and I believe his book gets used in CELTA courses from time to time. I'm partial to H. Douglas Brown's "Teaching Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy." Don't let the title scare you away, as it's not a difficult read. Take a look at "How Languages are Learned" by Lightbown and Patsy. Both books are typically used in TESOL courses.

If you just want articles, take a look at, although there's a lot of questionable articles there. Even better is, which is put together by a teacher in Italy. It's really a top-notch site. There's, which does podcast articles. Lastly, I have a few articles on my site,

Good luck!

Chris Cotter
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Unread post by ddeubel » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:57 pm

Let me take the conversation somewhere else. What textbook does a new teacher need?

You are right, a new teacher really can be helped immensely by a good book. Then slowly with experience, the book becomes less the focus and more of a frame for the lesson (not the meat).

I really like as mentioned, Harmer's Go for it. (Ill see him at a conference tomorrow!). I started learning to teach with Side by Side and it did me well, years ago. Why? Not so much glitter, each lesson the same so I could really get my feet under me. A young teacher needs a book that offers lots of routine.


PS. I like practical books like "how to teach English" and also "Keep them Talking"

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