Market Leader Elementary
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  • Market Leader Elementary
  • Simon Kent, David Cotton and David Falvey
  • Published by: Pearson Education
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2009

Market Leader Elementary is a Business English course book that offers plenty of engaging material to help students develop real life English skills that they can apply in the workplace. Along with providing video exercises and role play activities, the book incorporates material from The Financial Times to give students a real life taste of the language.

REVIEW BY Maureen St. George Book EXPERT
Review posted: 15/11/2013
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When looking for a book specifically for business purposes, Market Leader is ahead of the pack.Impeccable organization, a real-world basis and a spot-on layout make Market Leader an ideal choice for teaching business English in a simple, informative way.

This book works in conjunction with The Financial Times and uses their articles throughout the book, giving an authentic, reliable feel to the whole package. For a book so rife with business vocabulary and business case studies, it rarely feels stuffy, although some case studies are more accessible and interesting than others. The elementary book keeps things simple enough, but it may come across as boring to teachers or students who don’t have an active interest in specific aspects of business. The book does do a good job of spanning a wide range of business topics, so it’s very likely students will find themselves wrapped up in at least one unit.

For the most part, though, the clear layout will win over both teachers and students. The table of contents clearly states the theme of each unit (ranging from introductions to advertising to cultures) and each unit contains a discussion, reading and listening texts, grammar and language skills, social skills and a case study. This is also repeated on the first page of each unit. At the end of every three units, there’s a section titled “Working across cultures,” where students can learn about communication styles, team work and more in different cultures. A four-page revision unit finishes up each section. Students can use the audio scripts and glossary in the back of the book if needed.

"This book works in conjunction with The Financial Times and uses their articles throughout the book, giving an authentic, reliable feel to the whole package."

Judging this book superficially is enough for high marks. The units are just colorful enough with a few well-placed images to keep it looking professional but still lively. Although each page is filled with exercises, examples and plenty of vocabulary, the text never looks too crowded. Market Leader uses British English and spelling, and does an excellent job of listing both the American and British words when there is a huge gap between the two of which teachers may not be aware (e.g., billboards/hoardings). Characters in the book have names and accents from around the world, and even though they speak clearly at a moderate pace, there are always one or two speakers that force the students – and occasionally the teacher – to really open their ears or take a stab at foreign pronunciations.

Each unit starts with a quote from a famous business person related to the topic, which can be used as a warmer to get the class talking. From there, the unit presents a warmer and then several closed exercises that gradually become more independent and include talking and short writing points. The short readings usually contain a multitude of numbers, including prices with several zeros, decimal points, years and fractions, all of which are a good review for students. Exercises that go with the reading come from a variety of viewpoints, including grammar, analytical thinking and closed questions. However, for all the exercises, the grammar and language focus can be slightly lacking, especially with examples. If students are not already familiar with the grammar point, it may be necessary to bring in an extra closed exercise or at the very least, a bunch of extra examples to drive the point home.

The units conclude with social English and useful language skills, like agreeing and disagreeing, complaining and the like. These are great for role plays and to emphasize the importance of speaking correctly and naturally. One of my favorite things is the emphasis on writing, as each case study that ends the unit comes with a writing task that can be used as pair work or homework. It’s entirely possible to devote an entire class to just the case study and let the students delve into another company’s setup and tactics and compare it to their own. With such emphasis on pair and group work, this book is not the best choice for self-learners, although the closed exercises are a great way to do some extra practice when studying alone.

One of the best things about Market Leader is that the case studies lend themselves easily to pair or group work. Other exercises, like the reading and vocabulary, can easily be tweaked for pair work, but the case studies are made for this kind of setup. With such tasks as launching an advertising campaign, resolving problems with unhappy staff and writing a company profile, students can get a more well-rounded view of their company and this can possibly spark free conversation about whether they’ve done any projects like this before, if it interests them at all, or what previous knowledge they had of the subject at hand. Seeing the students’ strengths and weaknesses played out in these case studies can also help the teacher decide how to divide the class or how to use students’ strengths in future projects.

I’d highly recommend this book for students working in the business sector, and who already have some knowledge of English, as this book would be too intense for lower level students simply looking to learn some business terms in the larger scope of improving their everyday English. The lessons are self-contained and, except for the grammar, rarely require extra materials (although the real-world basis of these lessons makes it simple to find or make accompanying exercises), well-organized and at least one of the units will directly align with students’ jobs. For a book so entrenched in business language, it rarely slips into dry language or boring readings or case studies. When it does, however, it’s easy enough to avoid them and use something else from another book or the Internet.

Finally, Market Leader has also fully embraced 21st century technology, giving students more access than ever while on the go (and fewer excuses not to study!). The book comes with a DVD-rom, which consists of an i-Glossary and videos of the listening exercises. Longman has produced an application called “The Longman Business English Dictionary,” and students with disposable income or head teachers may be interested in purchasing a year-long online subscription to “Premier Lessons,” which offers ready-made lessons every week and an archive of over 1,000 business lessons on Market Leader’s website, which also has a treasure trove of free resources for teachers.



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