Discussion Book 1

Main features at a glance

● Integrated package: textbook, CD & self-study web site
● Designed for lower intermediate level
● Designed to fit into the 30-week academic year
● Interesting topics for students to discuss
● Wide variety of character nationalities and accents
● 12 audio conversations
● Audio clips available on CD and online
● Additional audio material online
● At least 6 interactive activities per unit on the web site
● Full & free online support
● Student online activities can be tracked fully by the teacher
● Audio clips downloadable to digital devices
● Auto-marking online tests and downloadable paper tests on the web site

Aims and components

The English Course is an integrated lower intermediate English language course for students from false beginner to intermediate levels. Discussion Book 1 is a lower intermediate level course intended for college, university and senior high school students. The course is designed to promote critical thinking and extensive discussion about a variety of interesting and important issues. Each unit includes two sets of discussion questions, a conversation audio clip, reading and vocabulary activities and an end of unit task. Each unit is designed to take three 90-minute classroom periods and the course therefore fits into a university year. The classroom work is reinforced with a writing exercise and an online study centre with additional exercises and tests. Though primarily designed as a discussion course, the amount of material and flexibility in the design of each unit allows the book to also be taught with the focus as a listening and note-taking course, a four skills course, or as a task-based language course.

Syllabus and content

Unit 1 - Vacations
● How to choose the best place for a vacation
● How to ask for and give opinions
Unit 2 - Movies
● Kinds of movies that are liked or disliked and the reasons why
● How to think about the criteria needed for discussing topics
Unit 3 - Dating
● Dating and who should pay on a date
● How to agree and disagree
Unit 4 - Part-time Jobs
● Students working in part-time jobs
● How to give reasons for opinions
Unit 5 - Learning English
● Attitudes to learning English
● How to support reasons
Unit 6 - Hopes and Dreams
● Future hopes and dreams
● How to ask questions about other people's ideas and reasons

Unit structure

The estimated time to complete the tasks in each unit will vary according the level of each group of learners.

Week 1: Introducing the topic

Task 1 – Warm-up questions
There are ten questions for students to use with a partner or in a small group.

Task 2 – Vocabulary
Students match vocabulary items to their definitions. The vocabulary items are featured in the audio clip used in Task 3.

Task 3 – Listening and note taking
Students listen to an audio clip of a conversation. Students must try to identify main points and details.

Week 2: Developing the topic

Task 4 – Pair-work comprehension
Students compare their notes and answers with those of a partner and assist each other in completing Task 3.

Task 5 – Reading
Students read the transcript of the audio clip (in Appendix 1) and identify the correct answers for Task 3.

Task 6 – Speaking practice
Students use the transcript (in Appendix 1) to practise speaking.

Task 7 – Further discussion
There are a further ten follow-up questions for students to use with a partner or in a small group.

Week 3: Skills work, presentations and follow-up

Task 8 – Language focus
Students examine and practise the language necessary to perform the particular skill that is focused on in the unit.

Task 9 – Project (Actual title varies)
Students work with a partner or in a small group on a project to demonstrate their ability to share their ideas relating to the topic.

Task 10 – Follow-up
Students write a paragraph about their opinions on the topic. Students do the online activities on the web site.

Sample material

Click on the images below to see sample material from a unit of the textbook and accompanying audio or video material.

Unit 3 pages from the Discussion Book 1 textbook

Click the picture of the book on the left to open and/or download a PDF file of Unit 3 from the textbook.

Unit 3 audio conversation from the Discussion Book 1 CD

Click on the picture of the disk on the left to link to listen to an audio file for Unit 3 of this title.

Gary Ireland

Gary Ireland was born in Leicester, England, but has spent the last 32 years living in Japan. Having first visited Japan as a back-packer in 1986, Gary returned in 1988 and began to teach English at a language school. He taught at a wide variety of institutions before beginning to teach in college and university in 1993, and has taught at eight Tokyo colleges and universities since. Currently, he is a professor at a university in Tokyo. After graduating from university and before settling in Japan, Gary spent several years travelling around the world, and has continued to travel widely since moving to Japan. He has visited over 50 different countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central America. Gary and Max created the idea for The English Course and set up The English Company in 2007.

Max Woollerton

Max Woollerton is also British. He came to Japan in 1987 and began teaching English at a private language school. Within six months, he had moved on to working in a vocational college and was the coordinator for a course on current issues and a course teaching English for Special Purposes. Between 1996 and 1999, he broadened his experience by teaching students of every age and level in a variety of institutions. Max began teaching in universities in 1999 and has taught at eight Tokyo universities as a part-time instructor. In 2004, Max Woollerton gained a Master of Education degree at the University of Manchester (Education Technology and ELT Programme). Since 2012, he has been a full-time associate professor at Chuo University in Tokyo. In 2018-2019, he was a visiting researcher at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

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