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Consider my global soul satisfied this morning!
English Teaching Professional, a glossy magazine for ESL teachers and language school directors, gave a glowing review and strong recommendation to Compelling Conversations – Vietnam: Speaking Exercises for Vietnamese Learners of Englishand Quotations on Timeless Topics. “In sum, Compelling Conversations is a recommended resource for teachers who want to make their conversation classes more learner-centered,” wrote reviewer Hall Houston. “It should be especially appealing to those who who to escape the confines of the Presentation-Practice-Production approach and do without a formal grammatical or functional syllabus. It reflects the authors’ considerable professional experience, and would be a notable addition to any English teacher’s bookshelf.” The review also features a large copy of the book cover. Wow!
Houston also writes, “In my own teaching, I have found questions and quotations to be highly effective in promoting student discussion.” The review continues. “Questions are useful in that they require a response from the listener. Asking them also helps students master the tricky rules of the interrogative.”
“Quotations are brilliant flashes of wit expressed in the shortest space possible, often just a sentence or two,” observes Houston. “The authors have compiled a formidable collection of quotations by famous people from Napoleon and Aristotle to Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone. Some will have the students roaring with laughter ‘My movies were the kind they show in prisons and airplanes because nobody can leave.’ – Burt Reynolds), while others require careful introspection (‘Love is not just looking at each other; it’s looking in the same direction.’ – Antoine de Saint Exupery).”
The reviewer goes on. “The authors also add some wise proverbs here and there. My two favourites were ‘Recite “patience” three times and it will spare you a murder’ and ‘When money talks, truth keeps silent’, which are from Korea and Russia.” Houston, by the way, is the author of the outstanding ESL textbook The Creative Classroom: Teaching Languages Outside the Book. Coming from Houston, these words are especially pleasing.
My co-author Toni Aberson also appreciates that Houston, an English teacher working in Luzhu, Taiwan wrote the review in a British magazine with British spellings about an English textbook published in the United States. This international element adds a special delight to a long, three column review. “I just love it!”, exclaimed Aberson. We certainly live in a wonderful time to be English teachers.
While I my copy of English Teaching Professional two days ago, the January 2009 issue has been out for at least a week. The review appears on p.44 in Issue 60. Subscribers can access the full review at http://www.ETProfessional.com.
This positive book review might help explain the recent surge of class set orders. It also helps explain the sudden collection of emails and calls from Vietnam, Russia, Italy, and Canada in the last week about Compelling Conversations and possible collaborations. The appreciation of fellow ESL professionals gives me additional confidence, joy, and popularity. Sweet!
Let’s enjoy our 21st century lives!