Published 13th January 2021
It should come as no surprise that as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language there is a lot of reading that you can do to keep yourself on your toes in the classroom. We’re sure you understand that a lot of the work involved in teaching English as a Foreign Language actually takes place before you step into the classroom, in the form of lesson preparation, sourcing materials and doing a needs analysis to understand your students. Luckily, there are endless resources available to you to help this process. So let’s take a look at the best TEFL books for the TEFL teacher.
Here we are going to look at a few of the best books for the TEFL teacher.
The best TEFL books for the wannabe TEFL teacher
If you are not yet qualified as a TEFL teacher but are considering doing a TEFL course to become certified to teach English as a Foreign Language, there are a few books you should read to make yourself familiar with the field. This will help you make sure you really want to get involved in teaching English as a Foreign Language. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and your money on a job you’re going to give up in a week.
Plus, if you do a bit of reading before you tackle the TEFL course, you’ll be in a much better position to undertake the work required on the course. It’s not an easy course and you need to be dedicated and motivated in order to fulfill all the course requirements, so having a basic understanding of some of the basic concepts will stand you in good stead for the course.
Read more: Is TEFL Hard to Pass?
So here are a few of our favourite TEFL books to introduce you to the field.
How Languages Are Learned – Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada
If you’re a TEFL teacher you’re sure to be interested in how we learn languages, so this book will be both interesting and informative. It provides information on language acquisition theory while also relating it to learning in the classroom and teaching techniques. It is a practical guide but it’ll give you a glimpse into the realities of teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
This is an excellent book for those who want an easy read. It’s an introduction to the English language and all its idiosyncracies, written with such humour you’ll be laughing out loud while you read.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation – Lynne Truss
This book is sure to be a page-turner for anyone with an interest in the English language. With chapters on apostrophes, commas, colons and semi-colons, among other punctuation marks, you might be surprised to know this book was an international bestseller – but it’s that good.
The best TEFL books for the newbie TEFL teacher
If you have recently qualified as a TEFL teacher, you are probably looking for some tips and tricks to help you in the classroom. While you probably have an understanding of the basic concepts of TEFL, you could still do some reading to explore teaching methodologies or theories of learning even more and build on your new knowledge.
Here are a few good reads to help you get started teaching until you get the hang of it.
You may have heard of a very popular grammar reference book called English Grammar in Use. While we still believe that to be a great reference grammar book, the Oxford English Grammar Course is a newer book, with clear, simple grammar explanations to help you understand even the most complex grammar point. What’s more, the explanations will help you understand how to explain a particular point to your students.
Learning Teaching – Jim Scrivener
This book is a great tool for teachers who want to refresh themselves on the content of their TEFL course and who would like to hone their skills further. A very readable book with notes on methodology as well as teaching ideas and lesson activities.
An A-Z of ELT – Scott Thornbury
This is not a book you would read from cover to cover. Rather, this is a guide to all the terms in EFL that you might not be 100% certain of, or even terms you encounter for the first time. When you come across a term, look it up to read a simple explanation as well as a discussion on the point.
The best TEFL books for the experienced TEFL teacher
Now that you have a bit of experience under your belt, you should be thinking about upskilling yourself even further. It’s not possible to cover every concept of TEFL during the TEFL course and, of course, the field of TEFL and our understanding of teaching and learning is expanding all the time, so now you should focus on expanding your knowledge. This could be by keeping up to date with any new developments in the field or furthering your understanding of concepts you might not be comfortable with.
Teaching Unplugged – Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury
Once you’ve spent some time in the classroom you should be brave enough to branch out and try a few new teaching methods. Teaching Unplugged gives you a ton of activities you can use in your classroom. The difference is, these activities propose the paperless teaching methodology. That’s right – activities which don’t use materials of any kind. It might be a scary thought but it can truly make magic happen in the classroom.
How ELT Publishing Works – Janet Aitchison
After you’ve been teaching for a while, you might find yourself coming up with your own ideas for lesson plans and teaching materials. This is where this book comes in. How ELT Publishing Works is an ebook from the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series. The book provides an overview of the publishing process in the ELT field and offers tips on both writing, development and publishing.
These are just a few ideas of good reads to keep you entertained and informed, no matter where you are on your TEFL journey. Do you have any other suggestions?