Language Books for Learning: Yes or No?

Many people wonder why you need to take a course to learn a language when there are so many language books available. To answer this question, we asked a number of TalenInstituut trainers what their opinion of language books was and how useful they really are.

French trainer Audrey Moolenkamp said, “I find books much more useful for beginners, and not quite as useful for more advanced clients.” But how can this be the case?

When trying to improve someone’s use of a language in a business context, every situation is different, with its own demands. When you are learning a language as a beginner, everyone needs to learn the same things. As an intermediate or an advanced speakers, no two clients have the same needs.

“I have a lot of language books,” explains Dutch trainer Maricelle Tiben, “But what I do is use sections from a number of books to help one client.” In other words, using something that is of use to a client from one book, then something else from another book and so on. “I also find the exercises and vocabulary sections of the different books useful as homework tasks. But for actual practice and learning, I do not use them much in the classroom.”

German trainer Verena Bach says, “I see books as being more useful for self-study, especially after a course is finished. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the book we use (both my clients and I are satisfied with them) but there are more situations than books.”

The bottom line is that a lawyer is going to need a different vocabulary and tone to a shop keeper or a real estate agent. No book exists which can hope to cover a range as wide as this. So, in order to help meet the needs of every client, most trainers will use chapters from many different books and draw on their own experience and materials to help their clients.

“A book designed to develop conversational English or casual vocabulary, will not help a client in a very formal work environment,” explains David Chislett, one of our English trainers, “As a result, it is wise to be really selective when choosing a book to give to a client.”

As a result, TalenInstituut Nederland generally emphasises that, while every client will receive a language book as part for their training, our customised courses cover more than is in the book in some ways, and sometimes will not use some parts of the book at all. It all depends on the individuals needs.

Taleninstituut Free Tip
Books are great for self-study and as additional reading material or back up to a course. You will learn a lot from almost every language book you can find. BUT if you have specific goals, learn to choose which book you buy very carefully as they all tackle different areas and cannot be expected to do everything you need.

Here at TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business language courses to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business Language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote:

© Taleninstituut Nederland

By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English