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Parrott or Swan?

 
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brewsterbudgen



Joined: 29 Apr 2005
Posts: 43
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Parrott or Swan? Reply with quote

I've almost made up my mind to change career and teach English as a foreign language (I'm 44). I'm taking an intensive weekend (ITC) course in London in a few weeks which will hopefully convince me that this is the right decision to make. My plan would be take the CELTA at ECC Bangkok in October.

In order to prepare as thoroughly as possible and also to help with completing the pre-interview task for ECC (which looks quite challenging for a newbie who hasn't studied grammar since school!) I want to buy the best course book. My research has narrowed it down to two:

Grammar for English Language Teachers: With Exercises and a Key - Martin Parrott

Practical English Usage, 2nd Edition - Michael Swan


Are these the best choices for pre-CELTA preparation? If so, which would successful CELTA graduates and teachers recommend?

Many thanks.

Brewster
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't call Swan's a course book. It's pretty much the bible of reference texts for ESL/EFL.
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a while in this business you'll come to know that there is no one major reference - and in some areas even the best known authors have slightly different notions.

For study - something like Swan is a bit on the dry side. Probably an exercise book would work best - as it would at least be interactive work, rather than just passive reading. That would keep you motivated longer and more interested in getting through the work. Even then, it might be worth trying a couple different books. Sometimes the description in one area in one book will make good logical sense to you - and in another book the explanation will seem disorganized and nonsensical. And then the reverse in another area. I always find it worth looking in 2-3 reference books for one answer - to make sure I have a really good handle on the issue - as well as finding the most efficient and understandable description to pass along to your students. (and for my own small brain)

I'm finishing up a grammar review guide for EFL teacher trainees right now - but sorry - it won't be to market in time for you . . .

Good luck!
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1432

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Animal lover! Reply with quote

Parrott or Swan? I have both on my shelf. Harmer's there as well, making up my EFL holy trinity.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrott's book will certainly be the more readable of the two, and give you a reasonable overview of English grammar and some of the frequent problems that students often have. I recall that it has exercises, so you can apply what you have learnt to the analysis of authentic texts/excerpts/examples. That being said, you'll probably soon be wanting (needing!) a reference book like Swan's too (which is now in a third edition, by the way!), so it might make sense to buy the two together right from the start. Wink

Swan himself points out that his book addresses only the more problematic points of usage, and recommends people buy a more comprehensive grammar (he mentioned Eastwood's in the second edition of PEU; you'll need to refer to the 3rd edition to see exactly what he's now recommending, I think he mentions the Longman and COBUILD grammars at least).

Other books to consider are the COBUILD English Grammar, and COBUILD Guide to English Usage (the two are included on the following CD-ROM):
http://www.collins.co.uk/books.aspx?book=28451

This might also be of interest:
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=2288
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For an exercise book, which will also be useful to get an idea of how to explain things to pupils, try Raymond Murphy: English Grammar In Use, CUP, or Essential Grammar in Use by the same author.
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We used Learning Teaching by J. Scrivener in my CELTA course. Very readable.
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tesol1



Joined: 20 May 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:13 am    Post subject: Excellent Books Reply with quote

We used Swan and Harmer on our CELTA course. I, too have found learning teaching quite useful personally as well.
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brewsterbudgen



Joined: 29 Apr 2005
Posts: 43
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all your replies. I guess I'll just have to buy them all!
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carnac



Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highly, highly, highly recommend "The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course", Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, Heinle & Heinle. Not only far more thorough than standard texts but gives teaching tips and problems as well as asking how you would explain grammatical points to students. Five stars.
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dmb



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 8397

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teaching tenses is also quite good and gives lots of practical teaching ideas. Can't remember the author of the top of my head.
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rafomania



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Guadalajara

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've yet to do my training course but have brought the Grammer book by Parrott. It has helped me get my head around forgotten terms and rules and all the rest of it. Not sure about Swann but Parrott's book was very helpful.
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EnglishBrian



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The great thing about Swan is the section on taboo words, complete with explanatory definitions and star ratings as to the strength of all your favourite **** words - and help with their 'practical English usage'. I've regularly ended up photocopying that section for some of my more inquiring students.
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A fairly recent entry into the grammar-book field is the following:

The ELT Grammar Book: A Teacher-Friendly Reference Guide
by Richard Firsten and Patricia Killian
Alta Book Center (2002), US$36.95

Marketing hype:

At long last English language teachers have what they've been waiting for—a "professional friend" to give a helping hand at all times! A great deal more than a grammar book, this new resource explores areas of the language that teachers have found troublesome to understand, hard to explain, and challenging to demonstrate to students. Its down-to-earth, reader-friendly format gives a fresh, new way of looking at complex material, in turn preparing teachers to communicate better and give more effective examples to students.

The 22 chapters explore word order, articles, present, past, and future tenses, the overlooked uses of some and any, modal auxiliaries, prepositions, genitives, compound nouns and adjectives, passives and causatives, direct object companions, two-and three-word verbs, subjunctives, conditional sentences, the role of stress and intonation to convey meaning, and more...
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