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Book Review
Lessons From Nothing cover

Lessons from Nothing
by Bruce Marsland

Review written by Thomas Simon

Lessons From ‘Nothing’ by Bruce Marsland is an extremely practical book from the stable of Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers. In this high tech day & age it is refreshing to come across a book that describes itself as a ‘sourcebook of ELT exercises & activities which do not require extensive resources or facilities’. The book is designed with the 'limited-resource situation' in mind but all can apply to normal teaching situations. Don't you get tired of photocopying stuff & seeing students bogged down with copies that they'll never look at again?

It is comforting to go into a lesson with material but a material-less activity can be more interesting & exploit the classroom situation & the learners in it. With this learner-centred philosophy in mind 'Lessons From Nothing' provides a wide range of activities.

The book is divided into the following sections:

Activities using no resources

Activities using pens & paper only

Activities using blackboard, pens & paper

Activities using other resources

And each activity begins with the language to be practiced, the level & age, followed by the procedure, rationale & any variations on the procedure. All very clear & easy to follow.

There are quite a lot of straightforward traditional games & activities ranging from mime activities ‘I Spy’, ’20 Questions’ to ‘Doodle’ (guessing the doodle representation to practise modals). Drama plays a role throughout as an easy to set up imaginative way of providing speaking practice.

This is a very practical book that shows teachers just starting out, as well as a reminder for the more experienced teacher, that a little imagination can go a long way. 'Lessons From Nothing' is highly recommended for initial training courses.

Lessons From Nothing cover

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