By Joseph Machowski
HIMEJI JALT News, Japan
BASIC SURVIVAL is a textbook for professional people which is based around real-life situations. There are sixty lessons which follow the professional and social interactions of eight people, four men and four women. Most of the characters work for a cruise line company. There are more than 100 recorded dialogs which feature American, British, and Canadian accents.
In addition, the textbook contains a section of grammar references called Survival Files, extra practice in a section called Communication Activities, and vocabulary files with translations in six languages including Japanese. There is also a workbook which corresponds to the sixty textbook lessons.
I used this course for one year with a large class and the students liked the book. They enjoyed the material and felt that most of the lessons introduced useful information and vocabulary. Since the focus of the book is pair practice, they had enough opportunity to practice and review the situations. They completed the workbook exercises at home, compared their answers, and practiced the exercises. They felt the workbook gave them an opportunity to review and strengthen their grammar knowledge. All in all, they were very satisfied with all of the material - especially the dialogs.
For the teacher, it is a very easy and straightforward textbook to use. The target language is clearly defined and there are enough activities to give adequate pair practice. The dialogs are short and easy to understand. I was particularly impressed with the car-rental, self-service gas station, and hotel lessons because they contained the procedural and technological language which many other textbooks lack. In addition, the workbook had short cultural readings which were fun for added discussions. I was also impressed with the dialogs which featured professional actors and regional accents. The teacher's book is a notebook with removable pages offering clear instructions on the presentation of materials along with suggested extra activities. This textbook is perfect for adult classes because it offers a variety of situations and activities which most people can use.
This edition has been replaced by New Basic Survival / Basic Survival New Edition which is shorter.