Hi. I hope I'm posting this in the right place.
I'm currently investigating the possibility of implementing a new English language course in a rural school in northern India.
English is currently taught there, but the resources are scarce, limited to some seriously old-fashioned and sub-standard textbooks. However, the kids are enthusiastic and adept at languages - being Nepali by descent and Indian by birth, they speak both Hindi and Nepalese fluently.
Essentially, I'm cheekily calling on your expertise to seek a recommendation for what you consider to be the best integrated EFL course on the market, subject to my requirements (see below). I've researched it a little myself, but leaving aside my limited experience of TEFL, it's impossible to get a sense of which courses are better than others without using them in a classroom. So I would be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for any help you could offer based on your practical experience (I wish I could offer something more valuable than upper-case e-gratitude, but all my money's going on this course!).
My key requirements are that the course be as culturally neutral as possible, and simple for the teacher to implement (although her standard of English is fairly good, I imagine she will be unfamiliar with a lot of the teaching practices and techniques of modern EFL courses; in short, the teacher's resources must be clear and easily graspable). The kids are aged 8-14, and the course needs to start from the beginning.
It also needs to be integrated; that is, it needs to work on its own, with as few other resources as possible (so it should include workbooks, tapes etc.).
Ideally, I'd also like a British English course, since that's what is typically used in India; however, if there's a particularly good AmEng course out there, I'd consider it.
Obviously, there aren't any computers, so anything involving IT as a fundamental component of the course is unsuitable. I intend to invest in a CD player, a TV and a DVD player for the school, so audio CDs and video DVDs are fine.
Finally, there are five classes in the school, so any course with at least five distinct levels would be an advantage.
I believe I've raised enough money to afford most of the courses out there, so while I hesitate to say 'money is no object', it's less of a priority than getting the most appropriate course out there.
With thanks again for any help you can offer,
Have you looked at the Cutting Edge series? It is used by a lot of language schools around the world, and whilst not being completely neutral in terms of culture, it does not preach a particular culture. What it does do, in relevant chapters, is to ask students to reflect on cultural differences.
Here is a link to the webpage: Cutting Edge
However, for the younger students, try the following: Longman English Language Teaching Catalogue - Course
Both series are published by Longman Pearson and their website will allow you to look at examples and possibly even print a chapter so that you can give it a go.
Otherwise, if you have the inclination, you could just get a copy of Practical English Usage and create your own activities using the information from the book as it covers almost every conceivable aspect of English relevant to learners.
Back to cultural neutrality, I think that most of the courses available are culturally bias at least in the fact that they espouse a communicative approach to learning as opposed to a proscriptive approach.
I am sorry that I cannot be of more help, but I have not taugh general English for a while now.
Last edited by Westley Mark; 19-Aug-2007 at 15:36.