Additional Resources

Teaching English grammar

The importance of grammar instruction for ESL/EFL learners

Teachers often need to include grammar instruction for their ESL learners, particularly for those who need to function well in an academic environment or in a profession where clear communication skills are essential for success. For an excellent discussion of the role of grammar in ESL teaching and its important contribution to effective communication, read the first two articles (below) by Azar. The third explains in more detail the goals and practices involved in grammar-based teaching.

“Grammar Teaching and Communicative Teaching: A ‘Hybrid that Works’”

“Grammar-Based Teaching: A Practitioner’s Perspective”

“A Description of Grammar-Based Teaching”

Materials for teaching English grammar

After reading the articles (above), you may wonder if your students need to give more attention to learning English grammar. While a good command of how English grammar works is very helpful for reading English (the primary emphasis of ETE), it is even more essential for those who are taking classes that are taught in English (i.e., those who need listening and speaking skills) and those who need to write in English. If you decide that your students need more emphasis on English grammar than what ETE provides, we suggest that you consider using the Azar Grammar Series.

See for more information about the textbooks as well as a number of free downloadable resources: a teacher's guide for each book, additional worksheets and other activities, and the full text of Suzanne Woodward's Fun With Grammar. (These are additional communicative exercises to accompany the Azar Grammar Series, but they can also be used apart from the Azar texts.)

Selecting a dictionary

Choosing an appropriate dictionary for your students is not an easy task. If you are teaching in an institution, we suggest that you make a variety of dictionaries available in your classroom. Students with a lower proficiency in English may prefer one dictionary and more advanced learners another. In addition, you may want to encourage your students to use online dictionaries as well as more traditional paper dictionaries.

Types of dictionaries

In the ETE Student Textbook, we discuss theological dictionaries and three types of more general-purpose dictionaries:

English-only dictionaries vary considerably in the number and seletion of entries as well as the information about each entry. Their primary audiences are native-English speakers and very advanced non-native speakers of English.

ESL/EFL learner's dictionaries often make word meanings easier to understand by using the most common 2,000 words in English in their definitions and examples. Many provide information about pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary patterns, idioms, synonyms and antonyms, collocations, and common errors.

Bilingual dictionaries list words and their meanings in two languages. Beginning and intermediate learners usually find these dictionaries to be helpful. However, they usually contain little or no information about grammar and vocabulary patterns, and the number entry words may be limited to only the most common vocabulary.

Popular learner's dictionaries

Before you choose from among the many available dictionaries, we suggest that you read Considerations of Choosing an English-English Dictionary for ESL Students. This short Internet article by Lindsay Taylor discusses some basic assumptions about dictionary use, challenges for ESL/EFL students, and criteria for a good English-English dictionary.

Longman Active Study Dictionary (intermediate)
Longman Dictionary of American English (intermediate)
Oxford Student's Dictionary (upper intermediate to advanced)
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (high intermediate to advanced, also available online)
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (advanced, also available online)
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (advanced, also available online)

Most learner's dictionaries now have study skills pages, workbooks, an accompanying CD-ROM, and online resources for students.

Bilingual dictionaries

If you wish to purchase a bilingual dictionary, we suggest that you read How to use bilingual dictionaries. This article gives practical pointers to help learners use bilingual dictionaries more effectively. Examples cited are from an English-French dictionary, but are applicable for other languages as well. Then check the Longman, Oxford, and Cambridge websites to view their selection of bilingual dictionaries.