There can be no doubt that EFL tutors are generally a positive, enthusiastic bunch. We love sharing tips with each other, will happily swap lesson plans and ideas and are quick to help out if other teachers are struggling with something.
Alongside this ‘get stuck in’ attitude, there is also a real commitment from many teachers to continual improvement. Observing colleagues is a fantastic way to pick up different ideas and learn from more experienced colleagues.
And in addition to the people around you, there are some great books that can help refocus and refresh your teaching. We’re not going to include textbooks in this list. Instead, we’re focussing on authors who look at pedagogy and reference books.
So, our favourite EFL books for teachers and the ones we would recommend most highly to a new colleague:
- Discussions that Work by Penny Ur. Full of ideas for oral practice that will help fluency rather than staged drills. With concise instructions, you can turn to this book and use an idea in your lesson immediately.
- Teaching English Grammar: What to teach and How to Teach it by Jim Scrivener. This is one of those books that starts to feel like a lifejacket. When you’re struggling for ways to present a complex grammar point, this will be invaluable.
- Taboos and Issues by Richard MacAndrew and Ron Martinez. Liven up lessons and get students fully engaged in discussion with controversial topics. Obviously, caution and discretion are necessary when deciding whether it would be appropriate to use this with your class.
- 700 Classroom Activities by David Seymour and Maria Popova. Packed full of ideas that you can either use as is or adapt, the index means you can find an activity relevant to your lesson in seconds.
- Practical English usage by Michael Swan. This seems a standard, perhaps obvious, choice. But if you’re one of the many new EFL teachers who lacks confidence in their grammatical knowledge, this will become your bible. Our copy is dog-eared and tea-stained and we love it!
Another way we can continue to improve is to stay engaged in the current discussion around EFL teaching. Social media offers an excellent opportunity to hear directly from leaders in the field such as Nik Peachey. Get online and get involved. There are fantastic blogs, Twitter chats and email newsletters, all of which will help inspire you and keep you up-to-date with the latest thinking.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on our list – what’s your favourite? Are there other books that you would put on the list instead?