Being a better teacher

ELT names you should know

In the changing world of language teaching trends and a growing number of conferences together with piles of ELT books, we need some clear landmarks to find our way. It will help to make decisions in bookstores, in conference announcements and will allow us to sound confident and well-equipped for a teaching position if someone will try to baffle you with fancy words and “I’ve-heard-it-somewhere” names.
The following list will give just some hints but may be a nice starting point for reading.

    • Scott Thornbury – wrote the vast majority of the books from “must-read” DELTA list. The range of topics is impressive as well as the depth of materials. One of the most useful on a daily basis books is “An AZ of ELT”.
    • Michael Lewis – You say Michael Lewis, you mean Lexical approach. You say Lexical approach, everyone thinks about Michael Lewis and, look below, Hugh Dellar. If you happen to come across his book – grasp it and run to a quiet place. I am sure, you will enjoy it. The most underestimated book is “The English Verb”.  You’d love it!
    • Hugh Dellar – the author of “Outcomes” series and the one promoting the lexical approach. You can check his website for more details.
    • Penny Ur – she wrote lots of practical books full of activities as well as more general books on teaching.
    • Jeremy Harmer – the author of the highly acclaimed “The Practice of English Language Teaching” and “How to teach English”; those are the books one can’t escape at CELTA course.
    • Jim Scrivener – one more name from CELTA reading list. Just open his book “Learning Teaching”, read it, put in practice and you are ready to go to the big world of English teaching.
    • Herbert Puchta – if you teach kids. you must know this name. Being the author of “Super Minds”, he is a big name when it comes to teaching young learners, creative ways of teaching, CLIL and cognitive psychology.
    • Michael Swan – we are all thankful for his useful book “Practical English Usage”. He has many other books but… well, people always discuss this one.
    • Kathleen Graves – if you want to learn more about course design, you have come to the right name. Engaging, easy for reading books about important decisions and big projects.
    • Virginia Evans – if you ever had any books by “Express Publishing”, the chances are that you’ve seen this name before. I just cannot ignore one of her best books for proficiency level – “CPE Use of English” which you can never praise enough.
    • Adrian Underhill – it’s time to speak about pronunciation. This man will help you to understand phonology through a mixture of theory and practical activities.

Those were the names from the top of my head which are mentioned time and again and are often used instead of the titles of their books. Make sure that you’ve read or studied at least one of their books and you may be considered a well-educated person with good manners and nice background.


…the list is to be continued on more specific areas such as “teaching young learners” or “teaching writing”…

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