New English Adventure – Review
In this short article I would like to share my thoughts about the language course published by Pearson in 2014. On the basis of the well-known course entitled English Adventure Tessa Lochowski, Cristiana Bruni and Mariola Bogucka (as a consultant) with Disney Pixar created a new course for the primary school pupils entitled ‘New English Adventure’. In the bookshops two parts (starter and level one) might be found. There are also plans for the level two to be published in 2015.
The course consists of several components like: course book with DVD, exercise book plus CD with songs and stories, teacher’s book, audio CD, set of posters, book with tests, flashcards, storycards, teacher’s eText (for the interactive boards), Minnie and Mickey Mouse mascots.
The main motto in the series is ‘Learning is magic*!’ This is achieved in many ways. First of all, the authors use new heroes from Disney Pixar animated films like: Brave, Lion the King, Toy Story 3, Donal Duck, Lady and the Tramp, Monsters University, The Incredibles, Tangled, Minnie, Mickey Mouse or Goofy.
Another key issue is that the course consists of eight main topics (my face, animals, toys, food, body, house, clothes, party) accompanied by welcoming unit. In the course there are also special culture corners where pupils may familiarise themselves with some festivals like Christmas, Halloween, Easter.
Let us have a look at the exercise book. All the instructions to the exercises are in two languages. First in English then in Polish. There are also symbols for the pupils showing them what to do. The symbols are: crayon- draw, colour, tick, match, at the end also write; speech bubble- say something; circle with CD- find a track on the CD; circle with a sticker- stick.
What I really like in this book is the fact that there are no more than two exercises per one page. That means that pupils have time to solve all the riddles and puzzles without being pushed by the time limit. The variety of different exercises is also significant because pupils don’t get bored by repetitive tasks. Apart from the black and white pictures to colour the rest used in the exercise book are colourful. We can see not only the ordinary pictures but also the characters from Disney Pixar animated films. That means that the learning process is more interesting to the students.
Another fact is that at the bottom of each page some instructions to exercises are given in L1. This is particularly helpful at home when parents would like to help children with revising or just looking at the material in the book.
Students are not forced to write at the very beginning. In unit two (animals) and three (my toys) they are asked to trace the numbers. Writing itself starts in units five (my body) where there are exercises starting from find and circle to trace and read.
At the end of the exercise book there are some extra adventure exercises connected strictly with the main units. That gives the opportunity for the fast finishers. Each section consists of 4 exercises almost all in colour. Another advantage of the exercise book is a picture dictionary with the needed words. There are also some stickers connected to each topic that pupils may find to use within the course. For pupils who like to sing there is also a CD with songs, chants and stories added to the book. Parents would be probably happy to see the info about any additional materials that are available from the Pearson’s website.
The course book has the same structure like the exercise book. Hence, there are some differences. The language used in here is all English even the summarising points in the orange colour at the bottom of each page are in L2. Each page consists of very vivid and interesting for the learners pictures taken from their favourite animated films. At the end of the course book there are many cut outs together with small flashcards. The authors took care not only about the layout of the book but also about giving the free space to sign each of the cut outs. That is very wise considering the fact that pupils may using those cards within the lessons and mix them all. The fact that there also stickers attached to the book cannot be forgotten. Parents may also use the DVD connected with the course book. In the DVD they will find some videos for children dealing with animals, body’s matters etc. It is all in English but the language that is used is easy and actors speak slowly.
The only problem that might be visible during the work with the course is the fact that in the course book and in the exercise book there are only the numbers of the pages. There are no pictures attached to each page or group of pictures from the same category in each unit. This may be a little problematic for the children to navigate the books if they don’t know the numbers yet.
To sum up, New English Adventure provides pupils with wide range of categorised vocabulary divided into several units that makes learning funny thing. Pupils are surrounded with different characters from animated films and in that way feel secure. This also helps to lower the level of anxiety in the classroom. There is no boredom, the tasks are adjusted to the pupils’ level, pictures and posters are clear and colourful. Pearson did their best to show young learners that “Learning is magic*!”
*Quotation derived from the course’s website http://www.pearson.pl/englishadventure/