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Clark, R. and Baker, D. 2011. Oxford English for Careers Finance 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reviewer: Dr. Ourania Katsara

1 November 2012

This book is designed to help students at intermediate level to study for a career in the finance industry. It gives learners the language and skills needed to embark on a career in Finance and get prepared for the ICFE exams.

Every unit consists of exercises designed to help students practice their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.  The main features of this syllabus are:

a) The syllabus is topic-based and covers a range of topics such as banking, the stock market, company internal finance, accounting and auditing, insurance and risks etc.

b) A real world element is incorporated in the teaching materials in the ‘ it’s my job’ section. Genuine professionals describe the rich tapestry of job descriptions in the finance industry.

c) Extra information including facts, figures, quotations and special terminology is offered in the top margin of the pages of each unit.

d) Language recycling is offered in the ‘webquest’ section in each unit. This section offers practical internet-based tasks where students are asked to use online information to support their argument (for example, the tasks on pages 34, 81 are very challenging). In this case students are also sharpening their critical skills.

e)  The ‘professional skills’ section in each unit offers opportunities for students to practice skills in English for professional purposes covering a range of topics in business behaviour etiquette.

f) Listening exercises are well implemented in each unit and pronunciation exercises are very useful for international students. Additionally the ‘language spot’ section offers exercises that cover basic grammatical structures. The language reference section on pages 119-125 offers a comprehensive summary for students to revise.

g) The Reading bank in the middle of the book provides practice in reading and vocabulary using a similar format to the reading section in the ICEF exam.

h) The self-evaluation checklist offered at the end of each unit is very useful since it makes students become proactive in their learning.

i) The short note of the key words offered in each unit is a facilitator in students’ learning.

j)  The teacher’s book offers specialist industry information and industry tips to support teachers who lack subject knowledge. Additional photocopiable tests are available for immediate use.

The authors have written a user-friendly course book with simple and straightforward activities. The main advantage of this syllabus is that it reflects a sociocultural view of pedagogy (Wilson, 2008: 367). Some tasks set up learning environments which afford opportunities for students to develop as readers since they are asked to engage in dialogue with texts. The collaborative reading tasks involve reflection, critique, analysis and reconstruction which entails that the focus is ‘appropriation’ and not comprehension. This is beneficial since it fosters student-centered instruction where the focus is on learning rather than teaching. Some interesting exercises are offered in the reading section on pages 8, 46, 68, 80, 94.

However, since ICEF is an exam sat by a myriad of different nationalities, culturally responsive pedagogy should be applied in class in order to make teaching appropriate. Culturally responsive pedagogy can be defined as using cultural knowledge, prior experiences and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective for them (Gay, 2002). Therefore, some extra exercises could be implemented as part of a culturally responsive syllabus in order to allow students to make connections to their lives and previous experiences. For example, some activities which adhere to the information exchange pattern could trigger communication among students trying to compare and swap information about different cultural backgrounds in relation to the finance industry.


Gay, G. (2002) Preparing for culturally responsive teaching, Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106-116.

Wilson, K. (2008) Facilitator talk in EAP reading classes, ELT Journal, 62(4), 366-374.

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