Book Review: Teaching Communication Skills A to Z – a literary innovation

“Teaching Communication Skills A to Z” is the first book length work by a Pakistani author that is meaningful and adopts a practical approach. The book is based on recent researches in the areas of English Language Teaching and applied linguistics.Following the assertions of the communicative grammarians, it addresses the needs of the teachers of English in non-native contexts like Pakistan. It follows communicative methodology and supplies the teachers with 26 innovative lessons. These lessons come from a variety of real life contexts ranging from concrete to abstract, and from classroom to the field.Also, it makes the teachers independent in their teaching by inducing innovativeness in them.Although the book itself focuses on the teachers, and is meant to make them more engaging, innovative, communicative and resourceful by giving them a number of ideas on how to teach communicative skills yet it promotes learner-centeredness in English Language Teaching.All its lessons are student centered where the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator. This has been claimed in the introduction and reflected in the lessons which focus on making students practice.As the title shows, the book offers an A to Z of communication skills. Therefore, it consists of 26 lessons, each beginning with a letter from the English alphabet and sequenced alphabetically with Abstract Figures put as chapter 1 and Zymotic Accounts as chapter 26.At a micro level, each of the chapters consists of three subsections: introduction, procedure and follow up. Introduction, written in italics and illustrated with a relevant picture, is mainly reflective, subjective, frank, direct, and lively.The procedure is also more or less the same as far as the style of language is concerned. However, the steps given in the procedure of the lesson are scientific and follow a logical sequence.Despite the fact that the procedure part of each chapter is in itself a complete lesson plan, the author is not very prescriptive. She describes how she used to do a particular activity and gives her readers space and opportunity to adjust it according to their setting and needs. This section of each of the chapters is full of diagrams and flowcharts.The biggest potential of the book lies in its being very interesting not only because it parts its ways from the traditional methods of teaching communication, but also because the activities included are visibly effective and efficient. All the chapters have been titled creatively: Conveying the Messages, Drama, Eleven Jokes, Field Projects, Green Board, to mention a few. Green Board is a lesson that emphasizes the significance of publishing for students. This is a way how students can be motivated.The book has been written in simple, reader friendly, textbook style that is facilitative for the teachers and attractive for the readers. In a country like Pakistan where the teaching of English is still ineffective due to the old age traditional methods, making such works available is a real service to the field. Wasima Shehzad, with her vast knowledge of educational theories and practical experience of pedagogical practices, has brought out this wonderful book that can help improve teachers’ and learners’ performance manifold.Except for a few typos, the book is flawless. Teaching Communication Skills A to Z can be used by the teachers of communication skills in English at every level.

The book is authored by Prof. Dr. Wasima Shehzad, Dean Social Sciences, Air University, Islamabad. It has been published by Shulin, and reviewed by Ms Atoofa Najeeb, an MPhil scholar.

 

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Book Review

Published in The Nation newspaper on 01-Mar-2016

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/01-Mar-2016/teaching-communication-skills-a-to-z-a-literary-innovation

 

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