ESL Materials

New English Upgrade Series of Textbooks for Teaching English in Asia

If you Teach in Japan - Good Materials are your Friend!

Some ESL materials I recommend are the New English Upgrade textbooks: Levels 1, 2 and 3 are by Steven Gershon and Chris Mares. The series is specially designed for adult and young adult learners in Asia. The series takes them from high-beginner to intermediate level in three stages.

The reason I like New English Upgrade is because it is different from books like the books by EFL Press. And this in no way, is a put-down of EFL Press books. They are great books and I recommend them most highly to the right students.

New English Upgrade is very straight forward for students to use. The activities are very structured, and for large university classes of students that are sometimes not as motivated as they should be, New English Upgrade provides them with guided fluency activities that they are willing to do. For this I applaud this series.

I have found with some large Japanese classes, that as soon as you introduce freedom into the activity mix, they just don`t work well. They rely on structure. That has been the way they have been educated throughout their school years. So for these classes, New English Upgrade works.

Though these books are not as interesting as some others, they are very easy to use and they work with Japanese elementary to pre-intermediate high school to university classes. These books would work for some company classes too.

The books are straight forward with large grammar boxes that quickly show students the structure they need to understand and practice. They can quickly get started and do the activity. A big plus in a class of thirty or more students.

I put students into pairs and have them change partners every new page that we do.

For students that love English and are highly motivated, I would choose a different series of books. New English Upgrade though colourful in presentation, can soon become dry. But for the purposes described above, I recommend it and will continue to use it myself.

The only caveat is that you need to supplement with activities that are not structured and allow students free unstructured practice.

I often use a set of self-made topic cards. I hand each pair about four cards, each having one topic on each side of the card.The pair then decides which topics to talk about. To set it up I explain that they can just start talking about the topic or asktheir pair partner a question about it. For example:


I went to Hawaii last year. It was beautiful.


Have you ever been to Hawaii?

A lot of ESL Materials Available at Bogglesworld

The teachers at Kevin`s have been using the free materials at Bogglesworld for years. The materials there are some of our favorites, plus many of them are free for download. Visit Bogglesworld

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Check out our free English lessons page

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