Six things to know about Global

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The beautiful, intricate astrolabe which we chose for the image on the cover of Global.

OK, now I warned you that you could expect at least ONE post about my upcoming book. Yes, that’s right for those of you who did not know already I am a writer of books for teachers and coursebooks for learners. My new course is called Global and it’s to be published by Macmillan in 2010 and 2011. I’m very excited and proud of it for various reasons, and I’m going to share six of them here.

1 Global Voices. First of all, check out the cool little video embedded below. This is an excerpt from an actual listening we did for the book. Totally unscripted. Totally authentic.

Why am I telling you this? Teachers have been recognizing for some time now that learners need to be exposed to accents from around the world. From the very beginning I wanted to include a strand in the book with authentically recorded audio of various accents from around the globe. It took some time to set up, but we did a great deal of these with students at a language school in the UK and with people on the street. We first recorded the audio, and then I wrote the material (usually it is the other way around, which can result in artificial listening material).

2 Try before you buy. If you go to this site, you can see the film again (or show a friend) and also download a sample unit from the forthcoming book. When I say unit, I mean WHOLE unit, with teaching notes and audio too. Not just a pdf of two pages which doesn’t tell you anything.

Why am I telling you this? In a discussion on Twitter around five months ago, Karenne Sylvester was having a go at ELT books (she sometimes does that, you can see examples here). Anyway, the topic of “try before you buy” came up. I immediately went to the publisher and said “we gotta do this.” It was a pretty major fight to get everyone to agree but finally we did. Now, it’s true that most books have a downloadable sample but they aren’t exactly instantly useable in class – they might be missing the audio or answer key or stuff. We put a whole unit up there, which consists of four completely different main lessons, a functional lesson, a writing lesson, Global voices lesson and study skills activity. It’s from the Pre Intermediate book. You can use any bits of it in class, for free. Enjoy.

3 Moving away from typical topics. The unit you can see there is called Hopes and Fears. It doesn’t feature your typical cosmopolitan, fudgey, middle classy, woman’s magazine topics. There is a lesson on aid workers, on real children’s hopes and fears for the future (including war, death, single mums, poverty etc), on famous dystopias in literature, on Pandora’s box and on An Inconvenient Truth and climate change.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think many coursebooks are guilty of portraying a rather comfortable kind of lifestyle and I wanted to try and do things differently. I also find that coursebooks are sometimes a bit lowbrow. We don’t need to dumb down.

4 No celebrities. There are no film stars, music stars, reality television stars, sports stars or any celebrities at all in this book. Or in the whole course. They have been banned.

Why am I telling you this? It’s kind of linked to point 3 above. Plus I wrote an article for a magazine about how I wanted to try and write material without recourse to celebrity culture so I had to keep my word, right? My feeling is that if celebrities are to be used in class then it’s best for the teacher to bring in something more current and appropriate off the net. They don’t need to be in books.

5 A different design. We went through about a year of wrestling with design to try and make something that looked different from other books.

Why am I telling you this? Too often the coursebooks look the same, all boxy and rigid. I personally love how the designers have made the pages and the text, but that is a personal opinion I’ll admit. Like it or not, at least there is something different about it.

6 A prize. There is a prize for either a Flip Mino video camera or an antique Globe if you sign up for more details. There is of course the option of checking a box if you don’t want to be emailed by Macmillan or have your email shared etc.

Why am I telling you this? I personally wanted to do a post that only focused on certain key elements of the book but since Macmillan were nice enough to offer a prize I thought I’d better mention it. You can find out more here.

So, there you have it. A nice little video you could probably use in class to spark a discussion on reasons for learning English, a set of four or five whole lessons with teacher’s notes and audio, an essay for teachers by a well-known methodologist and a chance to win a prize. All free. Even if you don’t rush out and tell your school to pre-order a million copies ๐Ÿ˜‰

In November there will be more exciting stuff appearing on the Global site, more news about technological elements of the course too which I will definitely want to tell you more about. Until then, it’s back to business as usual here at Six Things. Commercial message over!

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 7:56 am  Comments (48)  
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48 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! Talk about generating some buzz, Lindsay – by point 3, hooked. Off to go check it out now.

    Karenne

  2. This might at last be the course that will give even card-carrying dogmetists pause for thought! Congratulations, Lindsay!

    • Thanks Scott. All these changes would not have been possible without keeping one’s ear to the ground and listening to critical voices. Of those, yours has certainly been very influential.

      • My voice is audible only at ground level? And I thought I had been shouting from the rooftops!

  3. For a plug, this is very tastefully done ; P

    Looks fantastic…. especially pleased to hear the audio. Think this might be worth a try….

    • Thanks Darren, that really means a lot to me. The lesson that goes with that little video is on page 51 of the free sample unit. There are also photos of the real people (ie not stock photos of models) there too.

  4. Congratulations Lindsay! It looks great, you must be delighted to see the end product at last.

    I’ve watched the video, downloaded the unit, I’m following you on Twitter, I’m in for the free prize… what more can I do? Plug it at the BC? ๐Ÿ™‚

    A great way to launch a new book! Well done again.

  5. Hi Lindsay,
    Just found out about your new book via Twitter. It looks great. I particularly like the way the design elements come together – very classy! And the video is OOTW!
    Carole

  6. We were just slagging off certain coursebooks here in the Teachers’ Room when I got the Macmillan email.
    Looks and sounds great, Lindsay. I’m looking forward to trying out the free unit with my pre-int class. Hopefully, this’ll prove to be a real challenger for the (N)EF crown…
    Love the video – very ‘Prezi’-style.
    All the best

  7. Thanks everyone for the frankly really nice comments. I hope the rest of the book (and trust me, there are some real goodies I haven’t even mentioned yet) won’t disappoint!

  8. Congrats Lindsay…as you and I are fellow non-brits, perhaps we share some empathy with our learners around the world who really could care less how the people in London used to take their tea circa 1957.

    It has always been a mystery to me as to why coursebooks were so ‘ethnocentric’ in that aspect and always have felt like a fraud teaching it. I can’t imagine how a Thai or Spanish teacher feels when trying to pull it off.

    Hopefully some ‘money where you mouth is’ thinking has been used and some true needs assessments were done with learners around the world interested in learning the English language, but not so interested in learning about the British.

    My question for you…

    What is taught in the book:

    Have you got…?

    or

    Do you have…?

    • Hi Troy, Thanks for stopping by. To answer your question about Have you got or Do you have: both are taught. BUT “Do you have” is taught first, and earlier. “Have you got” comes later because while it is used by all varieties of English it is more marked as British (in my opinion) and low level learners can get by perfectly well saying Do you have a brother? or Do you have a moment?

      I always found it a nightmare going from the present simple of the verb to be to have you got then to present simple with beginners.

      So, we haven’t ignored “have got”. But it goes in a more appropriate place. Hope that answers the question!

      • Perhaps another ‘first’ and another selling point! Well done.

        Now onto Sandy’s interview. That should prove to be a good springboard for discussion, shouldn’t it?

      • That is the best idea ever. Nothing confuses my Turkish students more than learning present simple and then “have got.” This is an especially big problem for Turkish learners because they don’t really have a verb for “have” and they find it quite alien.

  9. It may be a very unprofessional reason but I am insanely excited THAT A CANADIAN, even more a fellow TORONTONIAN is writing an ELT coursebook. I can’t wait to try it out.

    • ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. First heard about it from Macmillan, being on their mailing list, but I thought I’d check your blurb out before heading for the global goodies! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The plug makes it sound all very promising – I hope it lives up to my expectations! Congratulations!

  11. It sounds incredible!
    I am a Macmillan material Fun!!!
    I am looking forward to having the material here in Brazil.
    Congratulations.

  12. I simply loved it! I’ve heard about it from Karenne and if she says that a coursebook is worth using after all her complaints about coursebooks, I thought it must be worth having a look at it. I’m looking forward to giving the free unit a try. Following you in twitter (I’m @sabridv). See you there.

  13. I totally agree with you. ESL books are in an out dated format, catering for a percieved cosy middle class making jam and sipping tea. They all seem stuck in the 1980’s and irrelevant to the world of today. While you don’t need a religous, political tome something current would be nice for once.

    The world has changed so much in recent years and teaching doesn’t seem to reflect this. I prefer creating my own material as there is very little out there that fits the bill. I like the style, content and ideal you are trying to achieve with this book. Good luck with it.

    • Thanks for the comment Neal. Funny thing is, that trying to be really up to date is now impossible for a coursebook. That is if you want to be “zeitgeist” or want to include lots of popular culture and celebrities. Teachers are much better off creating their own material for that kind of thing.
      But if we look more into other areas than popular culture, into areas such as literature, anthropology, science, cultural studies and so on then there is much material that can be used in a book. Material that one could say has more educational value and cultural capital, at the risk of sounding snobby. A book that brings that together with a language syllabus and leaves the teacher to bring in/make/find the latest “up to date” story if they wish was part of what I’m trying to do.

  14. Just peeked to check out the new book – but what an excellent blogsite. Love all the six!

  15. Congratulations, Lindsay! Looks absolutely superb.

  16. Having worked on the project with you, Lindsay… I can confirm all 6 things above. This is such a well written book that you gave me a lot of problems trying to come up with original supplementary material. Everything I thought of produced the same, “Damn! He’s done it already!” That is a very good sign. I wish the project the very best of luck.

  17. Hi there, I tried and tried to access the site to download the sample unit….but try as I might , I couldnt do it. The site just didnt respond. Not very good PR dont you think? Regards Vince

    PS I also tried on my Blackberry…..same problem, so I still dont know what Global is about.

    • Hi Vince,
      Sorry about the problems you’re having. I’ve emailed you privately to see if I can send you the sample directly. Let me know.
      (wonder if the site crashed or had traffic problems…)

  18. Great news about the book! I enjoyed reading about the thinking behind the book (#3, #4, #5). The sample unit looks terrific. I’m looking forward to trying out the material with one of my classes later this month.

  19. Lindsay – for a true taste of ugly authenticity, I am available for interview / interrogation / bribing with alcohol on any day of the week!

    But preferably on a Friday, OK?!

    • Fantastic! Let me see, what unit could you go into? Suggestions for grammar or lexical set? We have a photographer too and could do a photo shoot at your favourite pub. Now THAT would go down really well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hi Lindsay!

    Congratulations, great job so looking forward to use it with the students.

    Samer

  21. I’m not sure whether it is a good idea to have accents from round the globe. My students want to listen to ‘authentic real English’ and not the English of a learner of English.
    Why not use varieties of English as used by native speakers of English and then thers is still a lot of variety if you think of regional accents not only in Britain or Ireland, but the USA, Australia, Canada, etc.
    It’s the same when you go to a language school in the UK: “You hear many different varieties of English as spoken by the non-native learners of English ,but hardly any real English” was the comment of one of my rather disappointed students who had attended a summer course in the UK.

    • Hi Marie
      Thanks very much indeed for your comment. I understand your concerns, believe me. Let me be clear about the Global Voices here. There are two points to make. First, it is a feature of the course that appears in specially signposted lessons (you will see in the sample unit). There is plenty of other listening material that is in the course that has different “native speaker” accents (American, English, northern English, Irish, Scottish, Australian, Indian etc). For the teacher not interested in doing this kind of work with their students these Global Voices lessons can be omitted (again, check the sample unit to see what I mean). They are extra receptive work, for awareness-raising purposes.

      Second, the global voices you see in the video does only feature people learning English, BUT there are other lessons which feature other things (e.g. talking about food, or money or whatever) and these feature a true mix of authentic accents from around the world including the English-speaking world.

      So, what we are offering here is a little bit more choice than perhaps in the past. But we aren’t throwing out one in favour of the other, not at all. The truth is that in today’s globalised society many learners are very likely indeed to encounter English spoken by real authentic people but not with the “real authentic accent” they once hoped or expected. We either have to change how everyone speaks around the world, or perhaps change our teaching materials to reflect what’s out there.

      But, as I said before, this is an additional feature of the course that does not mean native English or any variety of English accent is neglected.

      Thanks again.

  22. Global English accents are exactly what learners need to hear. English is mainly used for business purposes and international communication. The importance of native speakers is overstated. Most English speakers will use the language with other L2 users, so exposure to these accents is useful, long overdue and exactly the type of skill that they will need when using English in the world. Next we need to persuade native speakers to learn and expose themselves to the Englishes of the world, so that they can also learn the skills needed to communicate effectively worldwide.
    Good luck with the book.

  23. Wow, the “try it before you buy it” is a great idea. I hope to see more of that in the future.

    Looking it over, I was really impressed by the themes and their associated stories. It’s a divergence from the usual subject matter and both teachers and students will appreciate this. It definitely seems like something the students can sink their teeth into and their are some great possibilities for related or supplementary lessons.

    I also thought the no celebrity thing was interesting. At first I was like, everyone relates to celebrities, it’s good. But, you make a good point. Pop culture becomes dated quickly and this is something best left to the teacher to bring into the classroom as it happens.

    Thanks for the preview and your thoughts.

  24. Lindsay, no need to back-pedal on this one!!! As you well know, there are more users of English who are NOT native speakers than there are those who are. The balance has tipped. The accent of your Hungarian speaker of English or your Thai speaker of English is the accent of the 21st century. Time this was reflected in coursebooks. It seems that in Global it is.

    • I totally agree. We’ve started to see it in business English coursebooks as a reflection of the reality. I had a class of Japanese businessmen last year dealing with Spanish, French, Romanian, Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Iranian contacts on a regular basis. (So why were they being taught by an Englishman…?). I think there are plenty of teachers and students who will appreciate this USP of your book, Lindsay.

      • Thanks very much guys for the votes of support. The point made by mariec above though has been echoed in the literature on this kind of thing though (Jenkins’ book on Identity for example). I think the balance has tipped, and as Darren mentions this will be reflected more and more (makes sense that it appears in BE books first). Eventually perhaps we’ll be wondering how it could ever have been otherwise.

  25. I feel cheated if I don’t get a picture of Madonna circa 1986 at least once in a course book. Seriously though, well done.

    • LOL. Well there are plenty of other books for that. I’m sure you could get a great collection of Madonna photos just rifling through coursebooks of the past twenty years. Cut them out and decorate your office space or pigeon hole at work.
      Thanks for the nice comment too.

  26. […] Six things to know about Global […]

  27. And I’ll feel cheated if Bethany Hamilton isn’t included at some point. I’m sure her career owes a lot to the ELT publishing industry.

    Glad to see you’ve used authentic listening material. There has been many a time when I’ve cringed with embarrassment in the corner of the classroom at some of the atrocious listenings that coursebooks serve up (especially when it’s someone with RP trying to do an American accent).

    The topics certainly sound a lot more interesting although a bit depressing maybe? ‘War, death, single mums and poverty!’

    Btw, sorry to be pedantic, but Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, not Hussein Bolt. (Somewhere in the teacher’s book).

    • Hi and thanks Peter. I’ve also cringed with embarrassment at some recordings. And while I hope that Global Voices provides a refreshing alternative, I add that there are lots of other listening type activities. However, I hope I’ve avoided the cringe-worthy dialogues but that will be up to all of you to decide ultimately.

      As a North American (Canadian) myself, I insisted that real Americans do the American accents. We had four American actors in for that for certain things, plus a good handful of Americans in the Global voices.

      As for depressing material, I kind of disagree. The topics mentioned are in the Hopes section, and looking at that text I don’t really find it depressing. Poignant at parts, but not a downer. Plus I’ve had enough of people shouting that these things aren’t ever in books.

      Where you are right is the Usain bit. And I have already sent a note to the editor for this point. Let’s hope I can get it changed! Thanks,

      L

      • Apologies, my point about the topics was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and I probably took the quote out of context – just as long as I don’t have to teach that chapter in January ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I certainly agree that these kind of topics should be given more prominence in coursebooks though, and as I think has already been pointed out, topics about celebrities usually work best in a local context.

        Just out of interest, how did you come up with these topics? Was it based on feedback from teachers and learners or was it your own intuition into what would appeal most?

  28. All I can say is, “At last!” Your wonderful course looks like what many frustrated EFL/ESL teachers have been dreaming about! I can’t wait to see the beginning level materials.

    6 things I like about Global:

    1. ELLs make the language their own by thinking about timely, important issues and producing the language to express their thoughts and opinions.

    2. The issues raised are genuine and engaging–not talking about going to the laundromat.

    3. Thought-provoking literary works are used to grab learners’ attention. Additionally, their use also informs ELLs of books that have shaped culture.

    4. Critical thinking is employed throughout, which helps prepare learners whose previous schooling focused more on rote learning–a real plus for those headed off to college in the English speaking world.

    5. The authentic speakers, both native and ELL, help learners tune their ears to “real” conversation.

    6. The inclusion of skills, such as reading graphs and tables and then discussing each student’s interpretation of the data, prepares learners for higher education and for tests such as IELTS. (This one is close to my heart, since I had university students preparing for the IELTS who were new to reading and interpreting graphs and tables).

    Best of luck, and thank you!

    • My gosh, great list! Well Aminah, I certainly hope you won’t be disappointed by the rest. Only a few more months until it’s out. You’re welcome, but thank you for the very nice words indeed, and happy teaching!

  29. […] I would be sharing information about my new upcoming book Global. The reaction to my first post Six things to know about Global was very positive – more than 3000 visits in its first two days of being live and 45 […]

  30. An excited colleague (a twitterer) just linked me up with this. Congrats indeed! Hope you’re going to come to TESOL-SPAIN next March and plug it in person: lots of non-bloggers and non-twitterers out there.

  31. […] than describing Global here, I’ll leave that to lead author and blogger Lindsay. Check out his blog post on the […]


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