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AMEP Research Centre

Authentic Spoken Workplace Texts In The Classroom

Authentic Spoken Workplace Texts In The Classroom
by T Pascal Brown

Published by NCELTR, Macquarie University 2005

This deceptively slim text, designed for use as a tool in professional Development, contains a wealth of information to bring the practising teachers up to speed on the use of authentic spoken workplace texts in the classroom. It forms part of a series, the Professional Development Collection, which draws together research, theory and practice, in such a way that the busy classroom teachers can access up-to-date information very easily.

Its format is a breath of fresh air for those teachers who do not have the time or the inclination to read lengthy texts. It consists of seven short sections each with a heading followed by the type of question familiar to all teachers. These questions are then addressed with succinct dot points, providing the information taken from current research. This is followed by an equally succinct set of dot points giving practical suggestions for use in the classroom. These two areas are located on the right hand pages, while on the left are quotations taken from the research. These quotations add depth to the research findings and practical advice. It quickly becomes automatic to read the right hand pages first, then the left, and proves to be an economical and satisfying way to access information.

Section 5 is on Teaching Resources, with the starting question: What authentic spoken workplace resources are available for the English language classroom? This will be of most interest and importance for practising teachers, particularly those who have spent many hours trying to create their own. Suggestions for textbooks which include authentic texts are given, and readers are also directed to multi media formats, although not all of these are workplace focussed. The bibliography gives additional textbooks and websites. All of these still need to be assessed for their relevancy and appropriateness, a useful idea for professional Development.

Nor does this text shy clear of the difficulties faced by teachers when using authentic texts in the classroom, particularly those specifically from the workplace. It recognises that many students find them difficult, that their context-dependent nature brings to light a lot of new vocabulary and that authentic recordings often contain a lot of background noise. However, it suggests ways to resolve these issues and others.

As a springboard for some constructive professional Development work or simply for the individual teacher to gain some knowledge on the topic, Authentic Spoken Workplace Texts in The Classroom is invaluable. If the other titles in the series are as information rich and accessible, then every ESL teaching institution should have a set.

Reviewed by Margaret Thomas LM Training Specialists, Adelaide