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Publisher Description

Catalyst: A Conversation Taskbook for English Language Learners

Catalyst is all about the students. Catalyst is a unique interactive or "multi-touch" resource designed to maximize oral output in speaking-oriented English language learning programs. At the heart of this radical – and highly effective – approach are a number of features that win big with students. In essence, students’ own experiences are leveraged towards the greater task of gaining dexterity with the often idiomatic tactics of oral communication. That’s a mouthful and a half. What does it mean?

Maximizing Output

Utilizing psycholinguistic associations, students are conditioned to quickly speak out on the basis of random prompts, bypassing that messy little dance that instructors and students of “conversation” classes typically engage in while attempting to negotiate a topic for the day. The result is a significantly more efficient use of classroom time. What traditionally has taken as much as a quarter of the lesson is now accomplished in a matter of seconds and the topic is always relevant.


While topical choice is now student-centred, students gain control in communicative scenarios as well. With Catalyst, student output is built around essential tactics: stuff like how to start, enter, support, organize, retain or end a conversation; how to negotiate meaning, deploy signposting and utilize active listening tactics; how to steer, avoid, redirect, deflect, pass off or regain a topic. In short, Catalyst is about empowering students to take control of the mechanics of communication using many of the tools that native speakers take for granted. By mastering the ebb and flow of conversation, students gain confidence and the immediate ability to assert themselves in social situations outside of the classroom. 

The Catalyst approach equalizes somewhat the classroom participation of gregarious and shy students too. Among the introverted there is a positive spin-off outside of class, with this newfound confidence bolstering self-image and interaction in their native milieux

Less Prep

A number of reinforcement strategies, including daily journal assignments as well as peer- and self-assessment protocols are built in to the Catalyst Taskbook. As a result, instructors can devote their undivided attention to classroom teaching instead of pre-class prep. 

Catalyst is broadly targeted and can be deployed with false beginners, lower intermediate and above.

Free Preview

Download the free sample to see how Catalyst: A Conversation Taskbook for English Language Learners can make the oral-output component of programs at your school both more effective and more efficient, enhancing your reputation along the way.

Professional & Technical
30 September
Speekeezy Publication Workshop
Brian Grover