Friday, September 2, 2011

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Interview with Lewis Richards, teacher and co-author of IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills

Mr Lewis Richards!
Two good friends of mine have just published a book to help students improve their writing skills for the IELTS.  The book is called IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills and the authors are Richard Brown and Lewis Richards.

Lewis kindly agreed to a small interview, answering a few questions about himself and the book.

If your students were to describe you with 3 adjectives, what would they be?  I hope they would say: fun, hard-working and passionate about teaching.  But some would say 'strict' as well, I think!

You’ve just finished writing a book together.  Why did you write it?  We've been teaching IELTS for about 15 years between us, and there are lots of good IELTS books available, but we couldn't find one book that had everything students need to pass the writing part of IELTS.  So we started writing our own exercises, and over the last few years we've written hundreds of exercises that we use in class to help our students get a good writing score.  We decided to put all our ideas into a book, and hopefully it will help lots of students to get at least 6.5 in writing.

Who is the book for?  Well, the idea of the book is to show students step-by-step how to get a good writing score, in particular 6.5 or above.  We wrote the book so that you can use it as a self-study book, or with a teacher in class.  We know that lots of people don't have time to go to a language school to study an IELTS course, so the book is designed so that you can study it by yourself if you want to.  For example, many nurses or doctors who want to work abroad need to get a 7.0 in IELTS, but maybe don't have time to go to a school because of their jobs.  This kind of student can use the book at home.  We think it's clear and easy to read, and helps you improve your writing step-by-step.   Of course, you can also use the book in a class with a teacher, and in fact this is one of the best things about the book - every exercise in it has been tried out in class by us many times, so we know that it works.  Hundreds of students in our classes have got high scores using our material, so we feel confident it can help many other students as well.

If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?  It's hard to say, I've been a teacher for 13 years, and I love it, I can't imagine doing another job, but I really enjoy writing, so maybe journalism.

What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?  At the moment I'm reading a book called 'Solar' by Ian McEwan, which is fantastic, but the book I re-read all the time is 'Catch 22' by Joseph Heller.  It's the funniest book I've ever read.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it.

What do you like to do to unwind (relax)?  I play tennis a lot, which helps get rid of stress.  Drinking beer helps too!

Why are you an English language teacher?  I think learning a foreign language is a really beautiful thing, which helps you to understand other cultures and ideas, and also of course to be successful in your studies or job.   When I was 23, I lived in France for a year, and the experience of learning to speak in French was wonderful.  Also, I really enjoy working with people from different countries, and I feel really proud when my students improve their English, and do really well in IELTS, for example.

Final Questions

If there were one thing you could remove from the English language to make it easier for learners of English, what would it be?  Articles.  Most languages don't have articles, and you don't really need to use articles - people will understand you whether you use articles or not.

Where will students be able to buy your book?  In September it will be on and in all good bookshops, or you can look at the website of our publishers for more information about how to buy it in your country.

Thank you for the interview, Lewis.  I’m sure the book will be a great success and help many students around the world.  Here are the links to the various Amazon sites where the book is available now:

For more information from Lewis about the book, watch this video:


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