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English for Economics in Higher Education Studies

Book Review: ETAS Journal Volume 31 Number 2 Spring 2014

Mark Roberts
Garnet Education (2012)
ISBN 978-1-85964-448-5
139 pages with Audio CD (with seminar/lecture excerpts) and a wordlist
Teacher’s book ISBN 978-1-85964-449-2
308 pages with lesson guidance, full key, audio transcripts and extra photocopiable resources

This book is suitable for upper-intermediate to proficiency (IELTS 5.0-7.5+ and CEF B2-C2) level, although it is assumed that the student is familiar with English for Academic Purposes and has an IELTS of a 5 or higher.

If you are looking for a complete tertiary academic Economics (ESP) course ranging from 50 - 80 hours, then this is a great textbook. This recent publication is set up for students to prepare for learning Economics in English, and is suitable for a course in preparing for an MBA programme or an immersion programme in Economic Studies. 

The 12 units focus on two modalities at a time: either reading and writing, or listening and speaking. Each unit is split into four lessons with varied topics ranging from market principles to trafficking, and from food security to derived demand. The skills focus covers most of what a student would need to study Economics in English, including skills such as note-taking, writing research reports, building an argument in a discussion, and understanding speaker emphasis.  The book is clearly laid out with four to six hours of materials and there is the possibility of another two to four hours of materials given as extra activities in the teacher’s book.

The author is a fan of the “Cornell note-taking system”, and I have now learned what that means. It is a very organized way of taking and keeping notes that the students learn as part of the course. Since this course is set up to help students listen to and understand a lecture, while concurrently taking notes, it would be for motivated students to really learn how to study and take notes. In my opinion, I would not find it suitable for KV students, but FH and University students would be the target audience.

Besides having crosswords and other puzzles, the teacher’s book has other activities in its photocopiable section. I personally found this section a bit ‘low-brow’ for Academic English, although I know my FH students actually enjoy such activities. The other component that I found helpful in the teacher’s book (that is not always available in other teacher’s books) is a section called Subject and Methodology Notes’, which gives helpful comments on teaching the subject content itself.

There are a variety of reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities throughout the coursebook so that the layout and flow are neither boring nor too uniform. For example, there is a textbook reading on technology followed by a reading comprehension activity using Google search in Unit 4. Also, every unit includes both a vocabulary and skills bank, which I find quite helpful.

In conclusion, I found the coursebook quite comprehensive and believe it to be good for its intended purpose:  preparing students for studying Economics in English. I was impressed with the incremental manner it used to bring students up-to-pace with such complex skills as listening to lectures and taking notes. I see no drawback, except that its target audience is rather small. However, perhaps the book has found a niche, as Garnet has chosen to go the Academic English route, focusing on this area of English instruction.

Patty Jehle