Dimitris Primalis is an EFL teacher based in Greece. He has a regular column in the BELTA Bulletin and his articles and posts have been published, among others, in the IATEFL Voices, ELT News and Microsoft Partners in Learning Blog. He is particularly interested in integrating learning technology into the syllabus and was last year’s IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG scholarship winner. You can read more about him here.

Ten books that shaped my teaching 

by Dimitris Primalis

A teacher’s development is definitely shaped by ELT methodology books. But being Greek and in favour of a holistic approach to education, I was tempted to include a few other books that have given me the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective.

1. Antigone by Sophocles

A humanistic approach to life expressed through a woman’s fight to protect the body of her dead brother from the king’s fury and save his dignity. Despite being written 2.500 years ago, it clearly illustrates human effort to overcome petty feelings and respect values and principles. I read it as a high school student and it shaped my life- both professional and personal- urging me to fight for what I believe is right.

2. Getting to yes by Roger Fisher and William Uri

Ever found yourself at staff room, proposing a project you have been working for a long time and getting a flat “No” for an answer – even if you are convinced it is the ideal solution? This book will help you understand why your proposal went down the drain and how you can earn your way to forging a deal – a skill extremely useful to front line educators who wish to introduce change in class.

3. Education Learning Training in a Digital Society by George Drivas

An ideal introduction to learning technologies from an educator who led a velvet revolution in his department by introducing and integrating effectively technology into the daily syllabus .

4. Drive by Daniel Pink

Motivation is always sought after by most teachers and Directors of Studies both in class and the staff room. Though not related to the ELT field, it will give you a glimpse of how people are motivated and why teachers work so hard without being paid enough.

5. Advanced/Intermediate Communication Games by Jill Hadfield

Thinking outside the box activities at a time when the term had not even been coined, it helped me and my students escape from the daily routine and mechanistic drilling and gap fill exercises while developing their FL skills.

6. Headway Upper Intermediate Pronunciation by Bill Bowler, Sarah Cunningham, John and Liz Soars

Clear cut models, engaging activities. I spent several hours listening over again to its cassettes while driving. A valuable tool to raise awareness and help learners and teachers improve their pronunciation

7. Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis

As a non-native EFL teacher I have always looked for ways to help my students avoid translating word for word from L1 and help them build their confidence in speaking and writing skills. The books is full of practical ideas that have helped dozens of my students to become lexically richer.

8. Digital Literacies by Nicky Hockly, Gavin Dudeney and Mark Pegrum A very good framework for the changing landscape in education in a global environment.

9. The practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer

The “bible” of ELT for the vast majority of novice teachers. The kind of book you never lend because you never get it back. I have bought it three times so far and I still could not find it in my bookcase while writing this list.

10. Visual Impact by David A. Hill

Long before computers, facebook and interactive whiteboards became an integral part of the classroom, the book gave many practical ideas to make the most of the visual elements and paralinguistic features in order to motivate learners and activate their schematic knowledge.