Obituary: L. G. Alexander ; Dream Author of English as a Foreign Language Textbooks
Rix, Tim, The Independent (London, England)
L. G. ALEXANDER was a towering figure in the field of teaching English as a foreign language, or English Language Teaching (ELT) as it is known especially by publishers. And it was with a single publisher, the distinguished house of Longman (founded in 1724) that Louis Alexander's illustrious ELT career was entwined. It was a remarkable example of an author-publisher partnership resulting, over 35 years, in an extraordinary output of teaching and learning materials of exceptional quality.
It was a relationship based on respect and affection because Alexander was a publisher's dream author; every individual textbook, set of coursebooks or other teaching materials were meticulously planned; manuscripts were presented impeccably typed (or later word- processed - Alexander always moved, technologically, with the times) and laid out. As was his very first book. Dennis Walker, a European sales representative for Longman, met him while visiting the famous Moraitis school in Athens where Alexander had taught for nine years (he had previously taught in Germany and in army education). That contact resulted in the publication in 1962 of Sixty Steps to Precis; not a title, on the face of it, to set the world on fire but in fact the precursor of Alexander's amazing corpus of published works.
Alexander never forgot, even in the later days of his fame and success, that the purpose of a textbook is its use in the classroom and its help and guidance to the teacher, but not only to the teacher; Alexander also had the student in the front of his mind as he wrote.
His best-known courses, New Concept English (1967), for adults, and Look Listen and Learn (1968-71), for children, broke new ground in foreign- language teaching (the title of the former was not misleading) and the start of a period of rapid development in that field assisted by the development of the discipline of applied linguistics. Not only did his work contribute to those developments but he had complete intellectual mastery of them and of the nature and structure of the English language; amply demonstrated later in his life, by the publication of the Longman English Grammar (1988) and the Longman Advanced Grammar (1993).
From the late Sixties on, his name became known to teachers and students all over the world. The combination of Alexander's talented output of teaching and learning materials with his …
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Publication information: Article title: Obituary: L. G. Alexander ; Dream Author of English as a Foreign Language Textbooks. Contributors: Rix, Tim - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 11, 2002. Page number: 18. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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