If you’re an advanced ESL student or a teacher looking for a guide to idiomatic language, look no further! A Year in the Life of an ESL Student by Edward Francis helps students navigate the confusing landscape of idioms and provides teachers with a comprehensive tool kit to guide them.
As an ESL instructor, I’m always looking for resources to help students learn idiomatic language. I’ve noticed that students are often mystified when they try to watch movies or TV shows or try to follow conversations between native speakers. Traditional textbooks aren’t always helpful when it comes to authentic conversation. This is where A Year in the Life of an ESL Student comes in, providing students with the vocabulary they need to make sense of what they’re hearing and the confidence to join the conversation.
Learning vocabulary can be a tedious exercise, but in the hands of Francis it’s a means of exploring the ups and downs of living in a foreign culture. The book’s 16 chapters follow a narrative starting with a student’s arrival at the airport in a new city, following him through typical experiences — studying, making friends, pursuing recreation — and, finally, leaving to go back home at the end of the year. By using this narrative device, Francis presents new vocabulary in contexts that international students will find familiar — in effect, the language is tailor-made.
A Year in the Life of an ESL Student works well for both independent study (with an answer key and glossary at the back) and as a classroom resource. Busy instructors will appreciate the self-contained chapters that provide “instant lessons.” Vocabulary is presented in the context of a conversation followed by short practice exercises, puzzles and discussion topics, allowing the teacher to pick and choose exercises according to the students’ needs and time constraints of the class. This is a flexible resource that student and teacher will come back to again and again — a welcome addition to any upper level ESL program of study.