Who is The English Book Centre?

The English Book Centre, Oxford provides a specialist service supplying all types of ELT materials, including books, videos, multimedia packages and computer software. Our customers come from all over the world and range from language schools and universities to businesses and government departments. With the ever-growing range of ELT materials and increasingly sophisticated demands of language learners, we can provide:
A full picture of the ELT material available so that you can make an informed choice:
Our catalogue, The Definitive Guide to ELT Materials on which the online catalogue is based, lists over 3000 existing and forthcoming ELT materials from British publishers, plus some items we consider of exceptional quality from non-British publishers.

Free specialist advice to help you choose the right material for your needs:
Our trained staff are always ready to discuss your ELT needs and to give advice which is tailormade for you. Their shared expertise covers all the key areas of ELT, including the most recent developments in technology and methodology. You can be sure that any recommendations we give are impartial and completely up-to-date. Just email or fill out this form and we will respond with our suggestions within 48 working hours.

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Oxford, the seat of learning:
Oxford, where we are located, has the highest academic and educational credentials and is a major ELT centre in terms of language schools and ELT publishing. As such, it is visited by many ELT professionals as well as millions as tourists every year.

Here in Oxford we have the largest ELT showroom in the country, which is open to visitors during working hours. An extensive range of ELT materials, including books, cassettes, videos and computer software, is on display in a highly accessible manner.

Celebrating the EBC’s 10th anniversary in 1997
The English Book Centre was founded in 1987 and has gone from strength to strength in ten hectic but satisfying years. In response to this, during September 1996, we moved into larger custom built premises which contain our warehouse, showroom and a seminar room.

Throughout the year we attend major as well as smaller ELT and Linguistics conferences in the UK and Europe. If you would like to meet us find a list forthcoming events in Special Offers, News and Reviews.
If you have any further question please email. We hope you enjoy visiting our site and we look forward to hearing from you.

New Headway Intermediate, New Edition

A brand-new edition of the best-selling course, maintaining the successful core content but updated and refreshed.

Key features:

Streamlined units, now at eight pages. They are easy to navigate, with clearly divided sectionst.
Fresh modern design, with an emphasis on maximum clarity on the page.
Every aspect of the previous edition has been reviewed. There are small changes to make activities run more smoothly, as well as major changes to text and topic.
The clear, systematic, effective grammar syllabus has been retained, but has been modified where necessary for even greater clarity.
Grammar Spots highlight key areas, getting students to analyse form and use.
Up-to-date texts with global appeal reflect changing trends and the use of English worldwide.
Challenging reading and listening texts from a variety of authentic sources develop comprehension skills and integrate speaking practice, usually personalised.
Writing now has a separate section at the back of the book, with a fuller syllabus, providing models and follow-up activities.
New Headway Intermediate.

Few people would deny the impact the original Headway Course from John and Liz Soars has had on global ELT. This new edition relies on many of the features which made that series so successful, such as an integrated syllabus developing grammar and vocabulary along with skills work. This new edition provides up-to-date texts – Madonna pops up, as well as texts with a long shelf life, like biographies of Picasso and Hemmingway.

The book is colourful and stimulating, packed with detail without being busy. The full range of course material is wide and includes a useful workbook as well as a pronunciation and video course and online exercises. The vocabulary sections contain learning tips and collocation exercises. The grammar section contrasts tenses and encourages thinking about the language. It contains familiar target structures such as: “If I had £5 million, I’d buy an island”.

The design has changed and Grammar Spots, which focus on areas of grammar, replace the previous Language Reviews. The syllabus and methodology remain, essentially, the same. Teachers know what to expect from the title and New Headway Intermediate does deliver a solid global course.

This month, Dave Sperling talks about how he came to love the machine

daveI didn’t always love computers. I took my first and only computer class back in 1977, when I was a high school student in Los Angeles, California. What torture! Most of the students were mathematical and science types (I liked English and history). The material was esoteric, the teacher was boring, and I was always completely baffled. I suffered so much that I purposely evaded computers for several years afterwards. Yes it’s true. Dave Sperling, creator of one of the world’s most popular ESL/EFL Web sites, was a total technophobe!I moved to high-tech Japan in 1984, and for over five years managed to avoid anything that vaguely resembled a computer. “What does a teacher need with a computer?,” I often thought to myself. And in 1988 I moved to rural Thailand. It was easy to stay away from computers over there because there weren’t any!

Things began to quickly change when I moved back to the United States in 1992 and began my graduate studies in Applied Linguistics at California State University, Northridge. Everything around me was totally computerized and I could no longer avoid them. I finally gave in and bought my very own computer – a Macintosh Performa 550. It was love-at-first-site! With my slow little 2400 bps modem and a telephone line, I connected from my home to my university’s computer system, and quickly sent my very first e-mail message to my friend and colleague in Chiangmai, Thailand. To my complete astonishment, he sent a message back to me in a matter of minutes. Wow! I was so thrilled. This was the beginning of my exciting Internet adventure, and I soon met, communicated and interacted with new friends, teachers, and students from around the world. The Internet has been my passion ever since.

Dave Sperling has an M.A. in Linguistics/ESL from California State University, Northridge, where he now teaches ESL in the Intensive English Program. He is known internationally for his highly popular and innovative Web site, Dave’s ESL Cafe.

English Book Centre’s

The English Book Centre’s staff are on hand to offer specialist advice – helping you to choose the right materials for your needs. Our shared expertise covers all the key areas of ELT, including the most recent developments in technology and methodology. You can be sure that any recommendations we give are impartial and completely up-to-date. Email any questions you may have in the form below and we will respond within 48 working hours. Tim Rigley did, here is what he has to say about our specialist advice
“As providers of one-to-one training for learners from many different backgrounds, we often need materials which are out of the ordinary run of EFL / ESP. The English Book Centre acts as an excellent “knowledge bank” for us. Responding to our requests for advice, often immediately, otherwise after due consideration, their expertise can pinpoint published sources. It’s certainly an added string to the course developer’s bow to have the EBC on the end of the phone. It’s also very useful to have new material reviewed and introduced by people from a teaching background who appreciate exactly what we want.”

For Real! English in Everyday Situations

forrealThis 96-page resource book offers teachers a wealth of activities based on reading and listening realia (authentic or simulated-authentic) and will be vital for teachers presenting ‘Background to Britain’ information.
Timesaver For Real! offers activities which aid integrated skills development (with a focus on reading, listening and vocabulary) and revises specific structures in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
Examples of activities include: Shopping at the CD Megastore (Music types – likes and dislikes); TV listings (matching programmes to people profiles); Maps of Britain and Local Towns (jigsaw pair work).

The Book Review
For Real! English in Everyday Situations.

The “ready-made” aspect of these work sheets is the feature which will appeal most to busy teachers. This A4 book, just under 100 pages, comprises photocopiable worksheets designed to provide support for teachers presenting Britain. This cultural dimension informs the content of many of the worksheets, which include activities based on a London tube map and English football clubs.

Many tasks are fun, novel and motivating, ideal for extending course work for intermediate learners in particular. The worksheets are grouped into five categories: shopping, entertainment, communication, travel and school. The inclusion of user-friendly Teacher’s notes is welcome and helpful.

The book includes a useful audio component. However, some dialogues are not particularly realistic, and delivery is occasionally artificial. Still, there is a good range of useful material here which is, as suggested in the series title, “time saving!”

Natural Grammar

0582277272From word to phrase to sentence, this new lexical approach to grammar builds natural idiomatic English. Natural Grammar shows you how one hundred important English keywords work, the phrases they generate, and the links they make. The emphasis is on natural-sounding language. Plenty of practice is provided in language building.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced.

Key features

100 double-page spreads with explanations and exercises.
Reference area with four clear sections: definitions, grammar patterns, collocations, and set phrases.
Examples of real language from corpus research.
Varied exercises which practise and expand language.
Idioms and natural phrases.
Language notes on usage.
Natural Grammar.

Imagine a book focusing on 100 high frequency words such as: and, but, for, have and if, sequenced alphabetically. Imagine calling that book, somewhat audaciously, “Natural grammar”! This is what well-known EFL writer and author of “Uncovering grammar”, Scott Thornbury has done. He invites users to look at the grammatical patterns of the key words of English. So under “have / has”, the present perfect is listed along with past modals like must have.

Each of the 100 words is given a two-page spread containing information on the grammatical patterns, on collocations, phrasal verbs and set phrases. The second part of each unit provides exercises, often based on concordance lines and some of which are witty – connecting words in two lists to create film titles (e.g. Lord of the Rings) is my favourite, under “of”.

This approach is fascinating, aiming to enable students to generate natural-sounding language. The juxtaposition of language forces us to break from the traditional grammar syllabus and, like the Collins COBUILD course and the Lexical Approach which form the historical backdrop, makes us reassess our traditional approach to grammar. The exercises are appropriate for good level students (intermediate to advanced). Based on corpus research, this is an essential browse, useful for learners and one which should influence syllabus writers. I’ve been looking for the “present perfect continuous” – and actually found it under….“been”. Recommended

Everyday Business English

peteAimed at students and professionals with an intermediate level of English, this highly accessible and practical new series is designed to activate effective communication skills in the workplace.

Essential vocabulary and phrases are presented through short dialogues or texts
Helpful language notes highlight and reinforce the key language points
Enjoyable practice exercises consolidate language at the end of each unit
Recordings of all the dialogues on CD provide useful speaking models

Everyday Business English is one of four books in the English for Work series. It presents and practises vocabulary and expressions which will be useful in the workplace. Eight units cover areas such as a company visits, presentations, meetings and telephoning. Language is presented in short dialogues or texts which are all recorded on an accompanying CD-audio. Students are invited to listen to and read the dialogue, then use a dictionary and read the explanatory notes, which are clear and helpful. These notes often offer further useful expressions. Finally, a variety of exercises provide practice in using the language.

This black and white book is slim, under 100 pages long, and is aimed at intermediate level students. Like the other books in the series its main strength is the realistic nature of the dialogues and the usefulness of the phrases covered. Occasional cartoons and diagrams add variety. Particularly good is the section on e-mail. Recommended as support material to a general Business English course.

Review by
Pete Sharma (Pete works as a teacher and teacher trainer for Linguarama International. Pete has been a BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) Committee member and has edited a number of BESIG Newsletters, for which he regularly contributes the CD-ROM / Internet page. He contributes articles and reviews to EFL magazines such as IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) Issues and the EL Gazette (This review can also be found in the EL Gazettes Reviews in Brief.)

Test it, Fix it. English Grammar Intermediate

EnglishGrammar Learners test their grammar, check their answers, then test themselves again. So they really learn from their mistakes.

How can it be used?

For self-study.
In the classroom.
Key FeaturesFeedback on every question as well as more general grammar help.
A test, answers with grammar notes, and a second test on the same topic in each 4-page unit.
Twenty topics in each book.
Grammar summary (review) page for all topics.
English Verbs and Tenses covers verb patterns and tenses at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels.
English Grammar covers other grammar topics such as the use of articles, prepositions, adjectives..
The Book Review
Test it, Fix it.

Test it, Fix it adopts an intriguing approach. First students do a test to see what mistakes they make in areas such as present tenses, perfect, future and conditional forms. Students then skip a page and check their answers. Where they have a problem, they can find out why – this is the “fix it” part of the title – by reading the relevant information. Finally, they turn back a page in order to do another test to see if they can use the structure successfully.

Does it work? The approach will certainly appeal to many students. While I am not sure that it is always possible to “fix it”, the language reviews are certainly clear and helpful. At under100 pages, the book contains twenty such tests. It forms part of a wider series which includes a sister volume on verbs and tenses. A useful addition to the self access centre.

Short Plays & Longer Projects

shortplaysandlongerprojectsThis book contains plays and projects intended for learners (both young and old) seeking material which lies between a sketch and a formal play. The plays are short, the plots are unitary, the casts often large. There are endless opportunities for input by way of improvisation. There is a natural connection between the texted plays and the improvised projects.

The Plays:

The Pharaoh seems to be dying and so there is a quick competition to design his future tomb. Several ideas are submitted – not all practical. “Visitors”
Aliens from outer space are trying to understand the behaviour of earthmen but misunderstand virtually everything. Even the uses of football.

“Baby Sitter”
A couple are ready for a big night out – with tickets for a favourite opera. But their child behaves strangely when the baby sitters arrive.

“Getting Ahead”
The latest “transplant” patient is visited by his relatives in hospital. His new head watches on.

The youth football team is going through a rough patch. Their manager comes up with a unique idea which the team has to respond to.

“This is Your Life”
The contributors are assembled for a rehearsal of “This is Your Life” and taken through their routine. But the subject proves to be elusive.

When there is a fatal road accident the police call several witnesses. But all is not what it seems.

The broadcasters are training future sports reporters.

“Inca the Thinker”
A young Inca returns from his travels, over the Andes. His boss is sceptical of the claims he makes and the news he brings.

“The Museum”
A new-style museum is about to open. The staff meet to explain their involvement but a “guest” from the old school is sceptical. Soon a real crisis hits the project.

“Cloak Darrow Farm”
A group of partisans are in the final stages of planning their major work – to capture an enemy of the state, alive.

“Out of the Cube”
A teenage terrorist is brought to the prison. Several visitors see her but she has to pay the ultimate price.
Short Plays & Longer Projects.

Would you get your learners to act out a play? Improvise? Your answer is crucial to the way you perceive “Short Plays and Longer Projects” and the scope of the book is broader than EFL – it includes amateur theatre and state-school students. The twelve short plays include the intriguing “Baby sitter”, where a child behaves strangely when the baby sitters arrive, and the somewhat controversial “Out of the cube”, which focuses on a teenage terrorist.

The projects are looser and more flexible. They have elements of drama and could involve high levels of improvisation. Some of the activities, such as “Sculptures” involving an instructor A, who teaches apprentice B to “sculpt” inanimate object C into various shapes, have their origins in drama and may be well-known to some teachers. This approach appeals more to teachers keen on integrating drama into their classes. The introduction is short and the book has around 130 pages. Intriguing, and may prove interesting to some EFL teachers.

Words Walrus

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0333756347Words Walrus is a software package for teachers who want to print out vocabulary activities for their students. The program contains 180 words at elementary level, each word illustrated with an attractive picture. The activities range from teaching to testing activities and are suitable for learners from the ages of 5 to 80 (and above!).

The teacher uses the program in the teachers’ room and then takes the activity worksheets into class. The students do not use the program at all.
What kind of learners can use Words Walrus activities?

Words Walrus activities are suitable for the following types of learners:
Adult learners of English at beginner or elementary level. The program is especially suitable for learners taking a course or a series of classes in English.
Young learners. The activities are all suitable for children learning English as well as for adults. The pictures appeal to young and old alike.
Learners of English script and literacy students. The program is ideal for learners who are not familiar with roman script either because of their language background (eg Arabic or Chinese students) or because they are literacy students.
Do I need to be a computer expert to use this program?

Definitely not! The program has been designed to be extremely easy to use, so that even a computer novice can learn to use it within five minutes! There are instructions on each screen, telling you exactly what to do.

If you are not confident about using the computer in front of your students, Words Walrus is the ideal program to help you gain confidence. You use the program in the teachers’ room or at home, and the learners only see the printed worksheets. So there’s absolutely no possibility of you getting it wrong in front of your students!