Professional Development

Sample activities from award-winning Cambridge Handbooks titles

Heidi Burrows

Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers have been inspiring teachers for 40 years. Books in the series are all written by expert authors, underpinned by research. They provide practical ideas, techniques and activities for teaching English and other languages.

This has proven to be an award-winning format. Our Handbooks have won some of the most prestigious prizes in the industry, including:

  • The English Speaking Union Methodology Prize
  • The Ben Warren Prize
  • ESU
  • HRH
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • The Society of Authors ELT Writing Award
  • ESU Resources for Teachers Award.


Over the next two weeks we’ll be celebrating some of our prize-winning Handbooks. We will provide sample content so that you and your learners can experience for yourself the classroom techniques and activities that led these books to achieve award success.

Classroom Management Techniques by Jim Scrivener

Winner of the Ben Warren Prize 2012 and the ESU HRH the Duke of Edinburgh Award 2012.

This book analyses the classroom from the perspectives of the classroom, the teacher and the learners to present a ground-breaking analysis of 14 kinds of teacher intervention, allowing teachers to examine the way they communicate with learners.


The first extract from this book provides techniques to help you draw language, information and ideas from the students rather than telling them everything.

Sample activity 1.

Encouraging students to use English

The second extract provides some techniques that will encourage learners to speak in English while doing pair and group tasks.

Sample activity 2.

Translation and Own-language Activities by Philip Kerr

Winner of the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Award 2015 and the Society of Authors ELT Writing Awards 2015.

This book provides practical ideas for using students’ own languages within the language classroom. It was described by The Society of Authors judges as “an excellent handbook for practising teachers who have long struggled with the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of using mother tongue in the classroom. It is well researched and well written and will provide welcome support and confidence to teachers in a field where there have been multiple views and a lack of real guidance.”

Comparing online translation tools

Our first activity from this book helps students to discover and evaluate the quality of online translation tools.

Sample activity 3.

Street English

The second activity asks students to learn about the English that surrounds them in their home environments and discusses why this information is provided in English instead of their own language.

Sample activity 4.

Come back next week for sample activities from two more award-winning Handbooks, Language Learning with Technology and Language Learning with Digital Video.

You can browse all of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers here.

Read how the handbooks launched Penny Ur’s career.

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