Book Review: Teaching Tenses

Teaching Tenses by Rosemary Aitken is a great addition to the bookshelves of both new and experienced  teachers. It offers a thorough language analysis of the tenses and modal structures, with concept questions, suggested contexts and activities, and a selection of photocopiable activities. This book helps teachers be prepared for students’ questions, and is invaluable in helping explain nuances between structures.

Teachers in TESOL training will benefit greatly from the detailed analyses provided for each structure. It will also help them realize the kind of detail they need to be considering when they are starting to teach. Having a resource like Teaching Tenses can help build new teachers’ confidence as they know they have a response to most of the questions that students might raise about a new structure.

Experienced teachers will find the book a welcome addition to the resource shelf. It provides a solid refresher for the basics, and can help teachers sort out areas in tense teaching that were perhaps still unclear, or which didn’t always work out smoothly in the classroom. The clear explanations and suggestions are immediately applicable to teaching.

Translators and editors could also take advantage of Aitken’s analyses, helping them choose between tenses with subtle but important differences.

Are there any drawbacks to the book? Well, the only issue is that some buyers may have trouble finding a copy. Originally published by Longman in the 1990s, Teaching Tenses was re-issued by Elb publishing in 2002. Used copies of the Longman addition can be purchased online at used booksellers like Alibris. The Elb addition is available through Amazon.ca, or through resellers on Amazon.com.  Shipping costs may be an issue for purchasers, depending on where they are ordering from, but many teachers would agree the book is well worth the cost, even with additional shipping charges.

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: ELB Publishing (July 25 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0952280868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0952280866