Healthy shoots from the vine
By Peter Viney and Karen Viney
The Vineys winning team has produced another certain runaway success with their new main course, Grapevine, to follow the popular Streamline series of the 70's. Grapevine 2 is the second book in the three level course which takes students from beginner to pre-intermediate level.
It consists of teacher's book, student's book, workbooks A & B with separate key booklet, two stereo cassettes, two videos and an accompanying video activity book. The student's book has an optional introductory unit, 40 double page main units, a grammar reference section, an interaction section (role cards, etc.), a listening appendix (tapescripts), a comprehensive vocabulary index and an irregular verbs index. The whole approach is very lively and entertaining, but also manages to present and practise the language thoroughly in a way usable, easy to learn and teach.
The structures are recycled throughout the book and flow naturally from unit to unit. Students are taught a wide range of vocabulary but are not overloaded. The skills activities are spread evenly and there are four "Stories for Pleasure" providing additional listening and reading.
The interleaved teacher's book gives step-by-step guidance on how best to exploit the material. Most lessons also have suggestions of optional activities and materials needed and the first 14 pages are almost a mini training course. New teachers will find the section on techniques particularly helpful.
Two workbooks support the course. These are written to the same high standard. The cassettes have natural, realistic listening dialogues and tasks presented in a variety of spoken English.
Finally the videos, which are integrated throughout the book, make a complete course in themselves. It is very professionally made with an activity book that tells the teacher in great detail how to get the best from the eight short comic stories.
Oxford have obviously invested heavily in this course which is extremely well written and beautifully presented with superb art work. It manages to satisfy both learners' and teachers' needs and demands. There is all a teacher could ask for in the teacher's book and it is a stimulating and appealing course for students. Grapevine, I predict, will still be going strong in ten or more years time, quite deservedly so.
The Times Educational Supplement
Phyllis Vannuffel is a freelance consultant and teacher trainer.