Are you teaching a pre-employment English class, and looking for ways to review ‘workwise’ language? Workwise English Puzzles looks like a higher-level version of Extra Easy Puzzles, but as the name suggests, these photocopiable puzzles are all about pre-employment or starting a new job.

It’s at Lower Intermediate to Intermediate level – aimed at learners who are either looking at work awareness (but aren’t quite ready to apply for jobs) or at learners who are in a job-seeking class (or in work). The sample pages are on the website.

What does ‘workwise’ mean?

I’ve taken it to mean ‘general workplace context’ but not ‘workplace specific’. A few of the puzzles have a particular workplace setting – a café, a child care centre, a hotel – but these are just to provide focus. Take a look at the samples and you’ll see what I mean.

How would teachers use the book?

These are ‘ESL Extras’ – not core coursework, but something extra, to review, reward, offer a different way to approach the language.
Some suggestions for practical use:

  • For lower intermediate learners, you could project the puzzles onto a whiteboard and work as a class, before moving on to pair work (the CD in the back of the book has a pdf of the puzzles).
  • Ask intermediate learners to work in teams, making sure they include everyone, asking for opinions, disagreeing thoughtfully etc. You could call it ‘lunch-room language practice’ (since in a workplace, puzzles are sometimes part of people’s lunch-room activity).
  • Enlarge a puzzle to A3 and pin it on a board near the door – ask everyone who comes in or out to complete one word…

Sections of the book

The puzzles are grouped into sections, so you can select a puzzle in this way, or by the language item being practised. (This book has a much better index than Extra Easy Puzzles did, so you can really see what’s on each page.)
The sections are:

  • Jobs and applications
  • Starting a new job
  • How’s it going?
  • Getting it right
  • Talking to workmates
  • Think about it! (includes pair puzzles and board game)
  •  Language collection

Each section has a range of different puzzle types as well as a quiz (often focusing on vocabulary or idiomatic language).

Getting started

Different languages have different puzzle types, and some learners may see puzzles as something for children, so as with Extra Easy Puzzles, it’s nice to bring in some mainstream puzzles, to show learners who haven’t encountered them before. It’s also helpful to do some ‘think aloud’ as you work through a puzzle yourself, so learners can see the process of eliminating words, crossing out the words they’ve used, finding the extra word, or getting clear about the across and down system.

Where can I get a copy?

You can find all the ESL Extras books at your usual language bookshop or library supplier..

What’s next?

Something more on ‘workplace English’, I think. Watch this space…