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In China, one set of books has outlasted all of the others on the shelf (it seems) - The New Concept English books. Most Chinese who are studying English are very familiar with these books. Lesson 1 -- "Excuse me, is this your handbag? Pardon? Is this your handbag? Yes, it is."

How do you feel about these books? Do you really love them? Do you really hate them? Why? What's good about them? What's bad about them?

I have heard different opinions on them and I want some documented proof direct from the masses of East China. I want your honest opinion of them. Thanks.

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Comment by Roger Charlesworth on January 1, 2013 at 6:37pm

I am teaching EFL in Guangdong. This is my 5th year. I am a native Brit having spent a previous lifetime as an Electrical Engineer, including 14 years in Hong Kong back in the 70's/80's. I find that, unlike many books I come across on teaching English, the quality of the grammar and the linkage to "real" English in New Concept English is excellent. Added to that we have the directions on HOW to teach, and tests for the students at defined intervals. Book 1 is somewhat simple, because it IS Book 1. Book 2 is the core of the set in my view and I never tire of teaching it. There is always something more I can explain in each cameo. I am not keen on Book 3 because the language is getting somewhat abstruse and would only be of value to a bookworm. I have book 4 but not reviewed it as this point.

I see that some of our members complain that the books do not teach oral English. How could they? A book is a book and ever silent will be. Chinese students tend to be unwilling to speak, and their ability in oral or spoken English depends largely on the skill and perseverance of the teacher. Good luck........you need it!.

Talking about NCE, I have picked up a couple of DVD sets in Walmart labelled New Concept English. They have a very good format based on Disney characters and movies. However, the English subtitles are abysmal. I cannot believe they are from the same stable as the books. I intend to ask the NCE HQ if these are genuine or some rip-off. Anyway, they are of limited use in learning English at present. They would be excellent if they were cleaned up. Why do Companies here in China persist in posting English that has not be vetted by a native speaker. I cannot understand this mentality. Can you?

Comment by Freakboy on October 7, 2011 at 10:37pm

New Concept is easy for Chinese to understand as it translates everything in to Chinese for them, It sucks as a english teaching tool and it is full of grammar mistakes and cannot teach spoken English at all. because it translates everything most Chinese who study it have very low comprehension and can never understand the context of the English language. It is written for the Chinese market and is only available in China It was once the text book for the New concept training center in Beijing but they have since sold the rights to all schools to use and now use something else as they found out it sucked.

Comment by Rory Penland on January 17, 2008 at 11:55am
Den is absolutely correct. New Concept English is functional for teaching vocabulary and grammar but it is useless in my opinion for "spoken English". Like Den, I have met students who have gone through books 1 and 2 of NC and can not speak a simple conversation in English. They can barely say hello. The only way to learn good oral (spoken) English is through practice with foreigners or Chinese friends who can speak good English. If you want perfect pronunciation - then it should be interaction with foreigners. That is the truth of the matter (The bottom line - as we say).
Comment by John Yao on December 31, 2007 at 11:11am
I finished all 4 many years ago with the method of self-teaching, I dont know if I get the core value of this set. In my memory It's British english. I think it is good for skills of reading, writting, not the same value for speaking and listening.
Comment by Den on November 26, 2007 at 4:44pm
I teach spoken english and have had students finish 1, 2, and 3. After finishing them they come to my class and they can't understand or speak much (not all, but most), ok for grammar, but really not so good for practical use. Just my opinion:-)
Comment by Daisy on November 22, 2007 at 7:13pm
NEW CONCEPT ENGLISH is the best of all the english books i have ever read, althought i jsut have had read the NEW CONCEPT 3, my friends are like them and learnt alot from them. it is good thats true.

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