Academic Skills Series shortlisted for ELTons 2014 award

We are thrilled that the six books in the Collins Academic Skills Series have been shortlisted in the Innovation in learner resources category at the 2014 ELTons awards!


Catherine Whitaker, Publishing Director for Collins ELT explains what makes this series special


Collins’ Academic Skills Series is a six-book series for international students of all academic subjects who are studying, or preparing to study, at an English-speaking institution. Essential study skills and English language practice are combined to help students achieve their best on their course. The six books are on the following topics: Research, Writing, Presenting, Lectures, Group Work, and Numbers (for the non-specialist).

At Collins we’ve already published a large range of IELTS and TOEFL preparation books. In fact, we have one of our IELTS authors, Els van Geyte, to thank for the idea that sparked this new series. As a tutor at the University of Birmingham she noticed how students, even those with very good IELTS scores, needed help bridging the gap between the very specific demands of IELTS and the different demands of academic English. Their English might still have needed some improvement but above all, they needed help with understanding what was being demanded of them academically at university level.

I was particularly interested in the Lectures book because my own experience of studying overseas was while doing a course on French language and culture at the Sorbonne in Paris in the 90s. All the input on literature and culture was through lectures. When my eyes weren’t taking in the ornate wooden carvings and the ceiling paintings in the beautiful lecture theatre, all my energy was focussed on following the lectures on subjects that were completely new to me. The linguistic load was huge – I had just finished school and my French was coming on in leaps and bounds but it was a challenge to understand the content. How to take notes was the hardest part – in English? in imperfect French? How can you write when you are trying so hard to listen? My 17-year-old self would have loved the Lectures book which answers all these questions. It also contains authentic lectures to give readers a real experience of what to expect.

It’s always great when the publishing that you’ve worked on is recognised on an award shortlist but I’m particularly pleased that this series has come to the judges’ attention. The challenge with this series was to produce books on very different subjects but get them to fit together as a series so that students and teachers could choose one or two or more books to work through, depending on their needs. I think Celia Wigley, who commissioned these titles, our authors and the whole team in producing the series have done a wonderful job.

Find out more about the six Academic Skills titles