Speakout 2 nd Edition Intermediate is an award-wining coursebook that states its aims as inviting teachers and students to discover English as it is really spoken. In this article, the author evaluates the efficiency of this EFL Coursebook in terms of its relevance, structure, content and correspondence to the stated CEFR level and target audience.
Keywords: Speakout, Intermediate English, EFL, TEFL, TESL
УМК Speakout 2 nd Edition Intermediate от Pearson Education предлагает преподавателям и обучающимся погрузиться в мир живого английского языка. В данной статье автор оценивает эффективность УМК с точки зрения актуальности, структурированности, содержания и соответствия заявленному уровню по общеевропейской шкале уровней владения ИЯ и целевой аудитории.
Ключевые слова: Speakout, английский язык как иностранный, преподавание английского языка.
First and foremost, it is significant to identify the target audience of the coursebook. Speakout 2nd edition Intermediate is a course for adults. Taking a closer look at the titles of all 10 units (e.g., identity, tales, success, history, etc.) and the tasks (i.e., writing emails, watch a part of the documentary “The Blind Painter”, say what stereotypes of men and women exist in your country) reaffirms the idea that the course was designed for open-minded adults.
It is noteworthy that the coursebook meets the requirements of 21-century education standards. It forms communicative (e.g., writing an email calling for action), academic (i.e., writing a wiki entry) and life skills (e.g., writing short messages).
Secondly, the criteria that lie in the selection of tasks are the correspondence to a high level of scientific knowledge, meeting the demands of a modern democratic society and a balanced approach to topics. In particular, the coursebook contains a great number of texts related to scientific discoveries, the future, distant and undiscovered tribes. Moreover, despite the emphasis being laid on speaking skills, the other core skills, namely, listening, reading and writing, are developed systematically.
Thirdly, the coursebook corresponds to the intermediate level of English (CEFR B1). According to CEFR, B1 students should be able to produce simple connected text on familiar topics or one of personal interest, describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. If we take a look at the syllabus of the coursebook, it could be observed that this coursebook gives students a comprehensive guide on how to talk about life stories, important news events, a true story or a lie and even endangered places, describe their achievements, plans and arrangements. As far as receptive skills are concerned, B1 students should be able to understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. The coursebook gives the student an opportunity to read articles about the future, conspiracy theories, tips on doing successful interviews, etc. As far as audio texts are concerned, students listen to news reports, interviews, conversations about technical problems, memory and authentic BBC documentaries and comedies on stimulating topics, such as the Arctic’s melting ice caps, art stealing, the rise of YouTube, etc. Therefore, we may suggest that most tasks and texts conform to CEFR level B1 in terms of communicative skills.
Furthermore, lexical units, grammar and pronunciation rules are closely associated with listening, reading, speaking and writing tasks of the coursebook. Moreover, it is significant to mention that the tasks of all components of the study pack match. In particular, vocabulary items, grammar and pronunciation rules presented in the students’ book are practised in the workbook. Extra exercises are also provided in the teacher’s book, Vocabulary extra, Grammar extra and Pronunciation extra.
Regarding the structure of the unit, each unit contains reading and vocabulary exercises, a motivating lead-in to the lesson. Learn to sections are aimed at developing listening and speaking skills. The fourth section of the unit is a DVD module which includes DVD preview , information about the DVD clip in preparation for viewing, DVD view section, speakout and writeout tasks that provide further communicative practice. Each unit is abundant in models that help learners perform the task. Lookback section includes revision activities that check the language covered in the unit . Language bank provides detailed explanations and further practice. Vocabulary bank focuses on word formation, collocations, multi-word verbs.
The study pack of this coursebook also includes Speakout 2nd Edition ActiveTeach, which provides the teacher with all necessary tools, e.g., the dictionary, an integrated whiteboard, games, extra resources, a phonetic chart and answers to exercises that are revealed at the touch of a button.
It is worth stating that the coursebook has all types of activities, but communicative ones predominate, making up about 42 % of all activities. Authentic texts are mainly presented in the DVD section, which also shows that the same text might be used for developing and practising different skills.
The coursebook is full of different colourful illustrations that are rather pertinent, thought-provoking, stimulating and facilitate understanding. The students’ book is designed in the same colour scheme, blue, except for the DVD section. The workbook is completely black, grey and white. The study pack must remain its relevance for the next several years. However, podcasts and DVD clips were shot in the 2000s, which might demotivate some students now, in 2021. DVD clips do not only give us a general idea of British mentality but also destroy some of the most popular stereotypes about British people. For example, the BBC programme “Gavin and Stacy” is a good illustration of open-hearted and sociable British people.
The study pack also includes a complete assessment package with unit achievement, mid and end of course tests that cover grammar, vocabulary and skills.
All in all, as it could be seen, SpeakOut 2nd Edition Intermediate is a comprehensive coursebook that provides the adult learner with all necessary skills and knowledge they need to express themselves confidently in a real English-speaking environment. Thanks to the pertinence and consistency of all activities, it is practical and convenient in use.
- A. Clare, JJ Wilson. SpeakOut Intermediate 2 nd Edition Students’ Book with DVD-ROM. Pearson Education Ltd., 2015
- A. Clare, JJ Wilson. SpeakOut Intermediate 2 nd Edition Teacher’s Book. Pearson Education Ltd., 2015
- A. Clare, JJ Wilson. SpeakOut Intermediate 2 nd Edition Workbook. Pearson Education Ltd., 2015