New English File
Leave Us a Review
  • New English File
  • Clive Oxenden, Christina Latham-Koenig, Paul Seligson, and Jane Hudson
  • Published by: Oxford University Press
  • Level: Advanced
  • First Published in: 2007

The New English File series focuses on "Social English" or English with the aim of getting the student to speak and express themselves. The book also focuses on pronunciation, listening, and speaking activities as well as a few activities related to business.

REVIEW BY Maureen St. George Book EXPERT
Review posted: 29/10/2013
Have you used this book?

I used New English File to teach adults in Thailand. One of the first things I was told at my job was to keep my classes light-hearted and fun, and the games and activities from the teacher's book helped me make that happen. The textbook set includes a teacher's book, student's book and a student's workbook. NEF books are available from beginner up to advanced. The main focus is general and social English with just a bit of business language thrown in from time to time.

New English File's simple setup is its strongest and weakest asset. For the first three books, each lesson is two pages long (one sheet, so no page-flipping) that presents a grammar point through reading, writing (ranging from minimal gap-fills to short essays) listening and speaking, and also a special pronunciation section. Each lesson has extra practice at the back of the book in case students need reinforcement. The workbook is set up just the same as the main book, and the exercises are rehashed versions of the gap-fill and matching practices. The Upper-Intermediate and Advanced books have four-page, text- and listening-heavy lessons that alternate between grammar points and analytical skills.

"One of the first things I was told at my job was to keep my classes light-hearted and fun, and the games and activities from the teacher's book helped me make that happen."

After every five lessons, there is a page filled with social or business English (e.g., introductions, ordering food, etc.) that's heavy on vocab and listening. The next three pages are an all-encompassing review before moving on to the next section. Each review contains a reading section, and from the pre-Intermediate book up, often features abridged articles from The Guardian about diverse topics from a group of survivors stranded after a plane crash to an interview with Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. The diverse selection of readings offers a load of new vocabulary and is a good introduction to reading analytically.

The teacher's book is thorough and beneficial to both novice and long-term teachers. It contains step-by-step instructions on how to teach each section, as well as extra ideas, games and kinetic activities for students.

One of the strengths of this book is the strong emphasis on repetition. The two pages per lesson can easily last an hour in group settings. The setup gives enough time to go around the group or to tweak the activities into group work and have each student or group read (or write, or repeat) a particular point and to make sure each student has demonstrated comprehension. However, to get out of this self-contained bubble, it would be wise to bring in outside sources for extra vocabulary or to challenge the students into using the new grammar point with an unfamiliar exercise.

In addition, each lesson is a different skill or grammar point that is only reviewed at the end of the section or in conjunction with another lesson (e.g., Lesson 1 is present simple and Lesson 1.2 is present simple vs. present continuous). While the workbook is good for extra practice, it is also set up the same way as the book. If students are struggling with one grammar point, it’s necessary to have lessons and additional material from other sources for extra homework or a second day of teaching the same point.

With the caveat that the teacher or self-learner must have supplemental exercises at their side, this is an excellent book for general English learners. The pages contain colorful images that are sometimes used as exercises, like matching the picture to the text. Each lesson contains the same order of exercises, so students will know what to expect. The accompanying CD features an array of speakers with a variety of accents (the business/social English page features the same two speakers throughout the whole set of books). They all sound natural and speak clearly. In my opinion, the best thing about these dialogues is of the main characters, one is American and the other British, so students can hear the different accents and how the characters use their own dialect, e.g., lift vs. elevator.

One of the best things is that NEF has a website - (no login required), so students of all levels can practice grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and practical English anytime, or teachers can use it if they have access to a multimedia classroom. Users can also download a mini phrasebook and files to practice English sounds. Another cool thing is that if students don't have their own CD/DVD, they can find the videos of the social dialogues acted out online. The videos end with a listen and repeat, so students can really soak up the dialogue in their own time.

"One of the best things is that NEF has a website, so students of all levels can practice grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and practical English anytime."

For self-learners, this book may not be the best choice. However, for those students who would use the upper-intermediate or Advanced books, the long reading and listening sections are excellent ways to hone those skills. I'd recommend lower-level students find another book that has more examples and explanations and use NEF for extra practice.

For teachers, note that it would be wise to have the activities from the teacher's book as well as extra activities either based on the book or from another source ready just in case the book is not enough. I'd also recommend having speaking activities at the ready as New English File does have communicative activities, but they can be short and, again, speaking activities stemming from an independent source would be a better gauge of how well students have grasped the lesson. The simple layout of this book can also be used for kids; however, starting from the pre-intermediate book, a lot of the themes are focused on dating or going out, which may not be suitable for younger students or those in conservative cultures.



Leave your review for 'New English File'

Fields with * are required.