Diplomat (text book)

I managed to get my hands on a copy of the higher-level book recently and am really enjoying using it for private classes.

Diplomat is published by Nova schools in Japan for their own use, and doesn’t seem to be available otherwise, which is a pity.

Each lesson is just two pages. First, a few pics with a recording or some other background info and a few questions to get things started. I use the book with intermediate students and encourage them to speculate and expand on the topics, getting up to half an hour from this. Then there is a language focus, of exactly the sort that Taiwanese love. A list of idioms and vocabulary, sometimes related to the topic but usually related to the function. eg phrases to use when discussing options.

Page two is all tasks designed to provide opportunities to use the language you just learned, and also to explore the topics further. We often find ourselves going off at tangents, and I can often get at an entire class out of just these two pages.

Most importantly the topics are generally quite stimulating, compared to the usual crap, and also presented in a way that gets people talking. I have found that, at this level, they also provide a good stepping stone into the major tests (IELTS/TOEFL) as they offer an introduction to themes that appear often in those tests but which are often unfamiliar to the students. I use this book to get students used to talking about social issues, the environment, technology, etc in advance of the more difficult tasks in the big tests.

Does anyone else have experience with these books? How do the lower-level books compare? Are they geared for adults or kids? Is there any source of these books in Taiwan?