Review: Raise Up! B2

Two weeks ago I joined Teresa and Simon for the TEFL Hub meet up and the discussion was based around how we might address swearing in the classroom and what do you do when a student asks about them, or uses a word inappropriately, which then lead towards controversial subjects, materials that gloss over certain topics (for various reasons) and more things along those lines!

Parts of it were funny, but when we began to talk about the controversial topics it became more serious. Someone recommended this series called ‘Raise Up!’ which has been produced by a team of amazing educators, and is available online for a very reasonable price! After hearing other peoples’ views I decided to buy it, and I’m really glad I did!

I decided to start with Unit 1, which is about health and fitness and features two different groups of people. If used accordingly, the issues you could raise with your students could be all or some of the following: disabilities, judgement, unemployment, friendship, weight-loss and family relationships. The teacher’s notes also include articles about Fatphobia, which is another important issue to discuss.

The first time I used it was with a young C1 level student who wants to practise her speaking and vocabulary, so this lesson ended up spreading out over three lessons. We had a lot to talk about, including lockdown, fitness at home, podcasts and more. The second time I used it was with a B2 level business woman as part of her first lesson. However, I changed this slightly as she did want to focus on mental health. You can see what extras I added in below.

We came up with:

disabilities and how to support others






money (lack of)

kids may ‘stray’ if they’re not occupied

The reason I liked this unit is because you often hear people say ‘just join a gym’ or ‘go for a run’. Sometimes it just isn’t that simple for a handful of reasons. This is especially important these days when much of our time is spent online where we know less about people’s situations and backgrounds.

My final views as this: I absolutely recommend this book, especially if you’re looking to stray away from the conventional textbooks. It contains 8 units with accompanying teacher’s notes and additional websites (where suitable) and the topics cover: women, disabled people, LGBT+, different faiths and many others.

Oh! And the illustrations are really nice as well!

The book is an attempt to demonstrate how this kind of accessible coursebook can be inclusive without being controversial, and to provide teachers with practical, ready to use lessons that are genuinely diverse and are not currently provided to them by ELT publishers. All of our proceeds go to good causes, and everyone working on Raise Up! is a volunteer.

Raise Up! Website

For more information there are a few websites that you can check out:

Raise Up for ELT

Raise Up for ELT Facebook

The Teacher James

EFL Magazine Review

Have you bought a copy of Raise Up!? If so, what do you think and how have you been using it?

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