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A Concise Grammar For English Language Teachers

Tony Penston
TP Publications, 2005, 124 pages
ISBN: 0-9531323-1-5

This is a new edition of ĎA Grammar Course for TEFL Certificationí, a book originally designed for participants on teacher training courses. The book has been retitled and revamped with the aim of reaching a wider readership, given the fact that training courses may provide basic instruction but do not necessarily deal with a wide range of grammar nor with the complex relationship between form, function and meaning, and that all teachers need reminding of the basis language structures.

The book adopts a systematic approach, beginning with sentence structure, the tense system and parts of speech, and moving on to more complex structures such as modals, relative clauses and conditionals which can all pose problems for both learners and teachers. A recognition test is included, as is a brief section on error analysis and a useful level guide which matches grammar points to the learnerís level of language competence.

On the surface, this book presents a fairly traditional approach to grammar teaching, but as well as concise definitions and explanations, the book contains much teacher-friendly material in the way of visual aids (diagrams, charts, time lines), tables, inductive tasks, teaching tips and coursebook extracts which show how the language is taught in context. The tabulated information is particularly impressive, including a complete table of tenses and uses, and a similar coverage of pronouns. The tasks assist the teacher in moving away from form towards an understanding of function, though some tasks attempt to cover too much ground at once, for example the modals matching tasks which covers thirty-five uses of modals in one exercise. The book is both concise and clearly laid out, ideal for the teacher who requires a quick reference and some useful teaching tips.

A Concise Grammar for English Language Teachers has two potential audiences. For the trainee teacher particularly on pre-experience courses such as CELTA and the language development component of ICELT, it provides an easy to use learning aid. There may also be a market for teachers preparing for the new TKT examination, since terminology is comprehensively dealt with. For more experienced teachers, the book provides a source of quick reminders and suggestions together with some valuable teaching aids.

192 September/October 2006