Learning Teaching – The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching by Jim Scrivener

Learning Teaching is part of the Teacher Development Series by Jayne moon.  

Learning Teaching teaches language teachers how to prepare and has been one of the most often used and successful textbooks for training teachers.  This book was first published in 1994 and is now in its sixth edition.

Scrivener’s approach in writing this book has been to observe teachers and learners and then to note the more effective strategies.  It is essential to have as many plans as possible.  In this way, you can generate your guidelines for what does and doesn’t work.

The Teacher Development Series

Learning Teaching is part of the Teacher Development Series by Jayne moon.  The series is for teachers, trainers, and academic managers and includes:

  • Children Learning English by Jayne Moon
  • The ELT Manager’s Handbook by Graham Impey
  • Inside Teaching by Tim Bowen
  • The Language Teacher’s Voice by Alan Maley
  • Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener
  • Reading in Teacher Development by Katie Head
  • Uncovering Grammar by Scott Thornbury
  • Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill


learning teaching

Sample from page 10. Click to enlarge

Scrivener covers the practical information needed to begin the journey as a (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) TEFL teacher and does so clearly and engagingly. The book also has many examples and samples of activities that can be used in the ESL classroom.

“Learning Teaching” has been one of the most successful guides to English since it was first published in 1994. Its no-nonsense approach has made it a superb teaching textbook for initial training courses, and also an essential handbook for practicing ELT teachers.  Part first training textbook, part handbook for practicing teachers it is the definitive guide to what happens in the language classroom.

Jim Scrivener’s approach is not just theoretical – the book is packed with practical and useable activities.  The third edition has been extensively revised and restructured to take recent developments in ELT into account.  A DVD accompanies the book.

DVD Features

  • DVD featuring a full one hour lesson being taught as well as demonstrations of practical teaching techniques
  • Allows teachers to watch ideas from the book
  • Insights into many small but crucial aspects of teaching technique as well
  • Insights into the more significant questions about how lessons can be structured and managed and what can be expected from learners and their progression through each lesson
  • Short clips in which different teachers, including the author, demonstrate essential techniques described in the text
  • The DVD includes an extensive range of printable worksheets, observation tasks, templates, and resources


Paperback, Third Edition, 416 pages
Published May 4th, 2011 by Macmillan Education (first published 1994)
Original Title: Learning Teaching
ISBN 0230729843 (ISBN13: 9780230729841)
Series: The Teacher Development Series, Macmillan Books for Teachers
Literary Awards: ARELS Frank Bell Prize (1995), British Council ELTon Awards Nominee for Innovation in Teacher Resources (2012)


Standing in front of a class full of eager students is not sufficient to just read from a text-book or blindly follow a lesson plan.  Teachers need strategies to deal with whatever situation arises.  This book provides these strategies to teach EFL students the most effectively..

Learning Teaching - the Essential Guide to English Language Teaching by Jim Scrivener


GoodReads Rating



  • An essential resource for teachers


  • This is a methodology book, not a manual

Aaron Skudder


  1. Thank you very much for this post. I’ve been flirting with the idea of teaching English for years but have always pulled back at the last minute due to fear but also ignorance.

    Fear probably comes from the fact that I come from the Phillippines so technically, my first language isn’t English. However, TOEFL and IELTS both say that I’m classed as “native”. Plus, I’ve been an expat since 2007 so I know my English is actually quite good. But the million-dollar question is whether this is enough.

    I browse companies who’re looking for English teachers online and they always specify “native speaker”. Maybe it’s impostor syndrome but can I actually apply even if I come from the Philippines?

    Will I find the answer in this book, do you reckon? I just don’t know where to start so this kind of resource would be invaluable.

    Thanks again.

    • I would not be discouraged that English is not your first language.  My wife is Vietnamese, her ESL teaching skill is in high demand.  Have you considered the Cambridge IELTS certification?  IELTS is internationally recognized.  IELTS graduates are in demand.

  2. Thank you for this book review. It looks like a very helpful book and the DVD sounds like a great bonus which offers a lot of additional value. Does the book series teach the teachers more than what they learn in school? Also, can you get the book series all at once or do you have to buy it in the individual books?

    • Hi Charles.

      The Learning English book is essential for EFL teachers.  This is a book used by EFL Teacher training schools.  It provides strategies for teachers, for example, dealing with a class of unruly teenagers who do not want to learn.

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