English in Common takes a "guided discovery" approach to grammar that invites learners to think about grammar examples and work out the rules for themselves.
Clear presentation and analysis
Each lesson has a clear grammar aim that is stated at the beginning of the lesson. New language items are presented in context through reading and/or listening. Then grammar rules are analyzed and explained through the Active Grammar boxes in the lessons.
Varied, regular practice
Once learners have grasped the rules, all new language is practiced in various ways so that learners are able to use the grammar with confidence. Practice activities include form-based exercises designed to help students manipulate new structures, as well as more meaningful, personalized practice.
Additional grammar practice exercises can be found in the Unit Wrap Up lessons at the end of each unit and in the Workbooks. The Teacher's Resource Books also contain an extensive bank of photocopiable grammar activities designed to practice the language in freer, more communicative contexts.
Accessible reference material
In addition to the explanations in the Active Grammar boxes, a Reference page at the end of each unit summarizes the rules in greater detail and provides extra information and examples.
English in Common recognizes the central role that vocabulary plays in successful communication. The emphasis is on providing learners with high-frequency, useful vocabulary that is regularly practiced and reviewed. New vocabulary is presented and practiced in a variety of different ways:
- Warm Up pages contain essential vocabulary related to the unit topic
- Reading and listening texts offer vocabulary in context
- Vocabulary sections and related exercises feature word combinations
- Additional vocabulary practice is provided in the Unit Wrap Up lessons, the Workbooks, and printable vocabulary worksheets in the Teacher's Resource Book.
The key aim for most learners is spoken fluency. English in Common supports fluency by providing:
- Interesting discussion topics that offer learners something to talk about
- Tasks that motivate learners to communicate
- Clear models that provide support for getting started
- How To boxes that teach key discourse strategies
All lessons feature pair work and group work speaking activities. Communication Activities at the end of each unit engage learners in a variety of problem-solving tasks and involve learners in a number of different skills – including speaking. In addition, the Teacher's Resource Book contains printable interactive activities that promote speaking practice.
Listening is one of the most important and difficult skills to master. English in Common pays particular attention to developing confidence in this area.
Listenings range in length and type from short conversations and announcements to longer conversations, interviews, and excerpts from radio shows. Tasks range from simple "Listen and check your answers" activities to more challenging ones such as listening for gist, details, and making inferences. The recorded material features a variety of native-speaker and non-native speaker accents. Extra Listening in the ActiveBook at the back of each Student Book provides further practice understanding the spoken word.
There is a wide variety of readings in English in Common extending from simple forms and advertisements to articles from newspapers and magazines to short excerpts from novels.
The length and complexity of reading texts increases from level to level. Readings have been chosen for their intrinsic interest and their use of the target grammar and vocabulary. Many readings have been adapted from a variety of authentic, real-life sources (magazines, websites, etc.), and related tasks have been carefully selected to develop learner confidence in dealing with them. Activities include comprehension and vocabulary work as well as practicing different reading sub-skills such as prediction and reading for gist. There are also a number of "jigsaw" readings in which learners read separate material and then work together to share the information.
English in Common pays particular attention to pronunciation, which is integrated into all the input lessons. The pronunciation syllabus includes word and sentence stress, weak forms, intonation, and difficult sounds.
The Pronunciation Bank at the back of the Student Book includes a list of English phonemes and guidance on sound-spelling correspondences and weak forms.
As interest in globally-recognized standards and testing increases, writing is becoming an increasingly important skill. English in Common acknowledges this by including regular writing tasks in each unit.
These carefully structured exercises and examples are designed to ensure that learners actually carry out the tasks. Models of emails, postcards, and formal and informal letters are provided in the Writing Bank in the back of the Student Book. Also included are additional advice and guidance on different writing mechanics such as punctuation, spelling, and paragraph structure.
Learners need exposure to authentic language in real world contexts. Authentic video provides the opportunity to hear a variety of accents as well as natural speed and delivery, and it provides visual support which increases confidence. The English in Common videos expand on the language, functions, and topics presented in the Student Books. There are six video segments available for each level of English in Common.
The videos are located on ActiveTeach in the back of the Teacher’s Resource Books. They can be shown through ActiveTeach, using a projector and a laptop in class. Easy-to-use controls allow you to pause, fast forward, and change the size of the image. Alternatively, the disc can be played on a conventional DVD player.
Printable video worksheets, video transcripts, and teaching notes are also available on ActiveTeach in pdf format.