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01/05/2018 - 09:00
This year at BELTA Day 2018, National Geographic Learning / Cengage Learning has graciously sponsored lunch. If you plan on attending BELTA Day 2018 this Saturday, please take a moment to read a little bit about NGL/Cengage from a teacher who uses a couple of the coursebooks produced by NGL/Cengage and then make sure you visit their stand in our Exhibition Hall to check out the range of titles available!
I first came across National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning while I was reviewing the Outcomes series. I really liked the approach, especially the inclusion of exercises based on the Lexical Approach, and I am an avid follower of the two authors, Hugh Dellar and Andrew Walkely. Unfortunately, I could not convince ‘the powers that be’ to switch to this series. I purchased the whole series anyway, hoping that one day my bosses would see the light!
Fast forward about 5 years: I now have the ‘power’ to make choices regarding the books I use in various programmes and departments. The first thing I did was start taking a look at the new material that NGL/Cengage had on offer. One of the concepts that NGL/Cengage utilizes is the use of truly authentic material, whether it is material from the National Geographic archives or TED talks. This highly visual material is a great addition to the ‘usual’ coursebook approach.
This year I have had the pleasure of using material from their Life and Keynote series. The Life series uses ‘National Geographic content, video, and engaging topics.’ We use the books to teach English in a Tourism-focused degree programme. Although the books are not directly related to Tourism, they offer broad topics that allow us to incorporate Tourism-related questions or supplemental content. The readings in the book are truly on level and often full-page articles, which is unusual for a coursebook. The teacher’s material is supportive and extremely helpful with planning and, when needed, reteaching grammar and/or vocabulary.
We use the Keynote series in our Media & Entertainment Business programme. This series is extremely well-thought out and developed. The series authors have taken pains to choose appropriate TED Talks and edit them down to short, but substantial clips, which build vocabulary, critical thinking and presentation skills from each and every clip. For our MEB programme, this approach has fully engaged our students. The series also uses infographics to present and reinforce the grammar topics. As I write this, our school year is not over, but the consensus from the teachers in the department is that we had made the right choice!
As this school year winds down, we are – of course – in the beginning stages of planning for next year, including looking at material for new courses, especially in our English-language degree programmes. The third series we are presently reviewing is the 2nd edition of Pathways. This is another interesting series that utilizes National Geographic content, but now in an academic coursebook. The series has two parts: (1) a reading/writing strand; and, (2) a listening/speaking strand. Both strands incorporate critical thinking as well. Although having separate strands appeared to be a problem (for me, at least), the strands use similar general themes and I believe you can easily use parts of each strand together in a cohesive manner. Therefore, I am hoping that I will be adding a third book from NGL/Cengage to my courses!
By the way, I haven’t given up on hoping that one day I can and will use the Outcomes series!