My top 7 ELT books for teachers professional development


Top 7 ELT books

While preparing for my top 7 English Language Teaching books (ELT books), I had in mind the needs of English language teachers. As a supervisor and teacher trainer and during many class observations and post-lesson discussions (PLDs), I was able to pinpoint what teachers really want in terms of resources and suggestions to improve their teaching. One of the lessons I learned is this: “teachers prefer being informed with very practical suggestions about language teaching instead of being bombarded with theoretical principles.” Although they agree that theoretical frameworks are important for any teaching practices, they are eager for practical suggestions that help them deal with day-to-day problems. So, here are seven of the most useful resources that satisfy these needs.

Seven must read English teaching books

ELT books for teachers

1. Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching [With DVD]

Learning Teaching bu Jim ScrivnerLearning Teaching is a practical guide to English language teaching. It was first published in 1994. Its practical aspect has made it a superb teaching tool for initial training courses, and also an important handbook for experienced ELT teachers. The third edition has been extensively revised and restructured to take recent developments in ELT into account and now includes a DVD featuring a full lesson being taught as well as demonstrations of practical teaching techniques.

2. The practice of English Language Teaching (with DVD)

Practice of English Language Teaching is a complete reference resource for teachers of English as a second or foreign language. Both practical and theoretical, this comprehensive and highly acclaimed book examines the most recent ideas in methodology and language theory. The fifth edition reflects new developments in language teaching. The book introduces current pedagogy to teachers who want to access the most relevant ELT practices and incorporate them into their lessons.

It’s a must-read book.

3. Planning Lessons and Courses: Designing Sequences of Work for the Language Classroom

Planning Lessons and Courses As a practical guide, this book deals with the kinds of everyday questions working teachers face as they plan lessons and courses.

The book not only highlights some relevant issues about teaching English but also includes an analysis of the issue under discussion, as well as practical principles and sample activities.

Each chapter is a mine of practical knowledge for ESL and EFL teachers.

4. How To Teach English (with DVD)

How To Teach English is an introduction to the teaching of English. It focuses on practical issues. It is an appropriate resource for self-study. The first chapters are related to topics such as “how can we be good teachers?”, “what makes a good learner?” and “how can teachers make classes better?” In the next chapters, the book looks at specific practical teaching methods, particularly in relation to the four skills, as well as offering ideas on textbook use, lesson planning and coping with the unpredictable events in the classroom.

For each chapter, a range of tasks is provided to stimulate debate and further thought.

5. Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities

Five-Minute Activities is a collection of over 100 ideas for the foreign language classroom.  It is an invaluable source of ideas for language teachers that provides short activities for the language classroom. These activities are designed to combine learning value with interest and enjoyment. Most of them can be adapted to suit classes of different levels of ability, and in many cases, there are additional suggestions for variations or extensions of the basic activity. Almost all the activities can be student-led.

6. Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers

Designing Language Courses is a guide for teachers to design course.

In addition to being a clear and comprehensive overview of course design, Designing Language Courses provides a practical guide to designing language courses by encouraging teachers to explore ways of planning and organizing content, and evaluating materials.

Another practical book!

7. Practical English Language Teaching Teacher’s Text Book (A Course in English Language Teaching)

Practical English Language Teaching offers a complete and practical overview of language-teaching strategies and methodology for newer teachers seeking background and guidance, and for experienced professionals looking for refreshing new ideas.

The book provides an overall introduction to key aspects of language-teaching methodology in an accessible, non-trivial way

As a final word, if you feel that there’s another book that definitely ought to be on this list, please comment and say so!

1 thought on “My top 7 ELT books for teachers professional development”

  1. I would suggest you remove “Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers” and replace it with “Curriculum Development in Language Teaching, Second Edition” (by Jack C. Richards). The former is close to 20 years old and neglects topics such as Bloom’s Taxonomy (when figuring out how to do assessment) and using technology in the classroom. Too, a list of 15 criteria for coming up with activities (pages 151 to 155) was based on a poorly-designed study (or studies) that used questionable criteria, and was thus of potentially limited utility.

    The latter, on the other hand, is new (published in 2017), and includes comprehensive information on 11 different topics that are of interest to curriculum designers, such as needs analysis, context, aim, different syllabi for different types of content, information on curriculum as process and as product, and use of technology. It greatly impressed me when I went through it in my curriculum design course, since it was both detailed and informative, and seemed like it would make for an excellent reference guide.

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