New Inside Out Beginner
Sue Kay & Vaughan Jones
Having a class of beginner students is always a rewarding challenge. The New Inside Out Beginner Student’s Book is a reliable, quality source offering what students will need to build a strong foundation and expand their English language skills.
The course book has an attractive bright cover, clear colourful photos mixed with humorous illustrations that add life and interest to each page. Most EFL books tend to be very Eurocentric. However, there is a good balance of race, culture, age and interests in this course book.
New Inside Out Beginner is comprised of fifteen units with relevant review sections at regular intervals. Each unit is focused around a familiar topic; introducing and recycling lexis which helps students build an active vocabulary. The layout is clear and easy to follow by both students and teachers. Each section in the book is defined and well organized. The units are built around structured work on grammar and lexis using meaningful personalized tasks to help students develop communicative skills and functional language. The grammar section in a unit has a page reference to an additional and more detailed grammar explanation section at the back of the book. These also offer additional practice exercises. There are motivating and engaging reading, writing, listening and speaking activities based on current interests and famous people integrated into each unit. There are also regular pronunciation sections which deal with phoneme, word stress, sentence stress or connected speech difficulties that students might have.
A few of my colleagues found using Inside Out quite restricting. They felt they needed to follow the order of the book and the activities for students to take away something concrete from the lesson. I, however, whilst experimenting with the course book, found that each unit and even each section can be exploited and used alone to create a meaningful and worthwhile learning experience for the students.
Besides being impressed with the course book, what both my students and I really enjoyed was the interactive CD-ROM which is included with the Student’s book. I couldn’t stop exploring all the sections and trying all the activities! What a brilliant beginner student I was! The CD has extensive additional material which follows and supplements the course book. The students can choose to work by units or by language areas. There are grammar, vocabulary, listening and pronunciation interactive practice activities. The video clips that use the functional language are great. To monitor student’s progress, there is also a test section. The instructions throughout are clear and easy to follow and all sections are colourful and well illustrated. One downfall, especially in the African context, is that most students don’t have access to computers except perhaps at school and thus very little time to make use of this fantastic CD.
The New Inside Out Beginner Student’s Book and CD-ROM is refreshing and easy-to-use. It is recommended for students as well as both experienced and newly qualified teachers. Get it now!
Reviewed by Anne da Silva, IH Johannesburg