Streamline English Connections is a course for pre intermediate students of English. It is designed either to follow on from Streamline English Departures, or as an independent course for students of varying backgrounds. The emphasis is on oral / aural skills and units of everyday conversation have been included to underline the practical nature of the language being taught. The material consists of 80 units. Each unit provides a 50 minute lesson and is clearly laid out on a separate page. As well as the Student's Edition, there is a comprehensive Teacher's Edition, two Workbooks, each covering 40 units of the course, and two cassettes containing recordings of all the dialogues and texts. Also available for use with Connections: A Week by the Sea (video and Activity Book) Connections Speech work Connections in Reading A and B Streamline Graded Readers levels 3 and 4 Other courses in the Stream line series are: Departures (beginner) Destinations (intermediate) Directions (post-intermediate)
THE TITLE: WHY ‘STREAMLINE?’
OUP’s initial title was Express English, and the cover was designed with this in mind (hence the retro train). Press adverts used the title. A London school had an internal course under the same title and threatened OUP with an injunction to halt publication. Though we were advised we would win any court case, it was decided that a delay would be disastrous. A group of editors sat around with the finished, very expensive cover design and racked their brains to come up with a title to match the cover. Streamline was obvious. I think Simon chose it. We hated it at first, but within days it was just the name of the book.
SO WHO WAS IT DESIGNED FOR?
It was used with multilingual and monolingual groups, and with adults, teenagers, professionals, short courses and long courses. We estimated that between 2000 and 3000 students used it before it was published.
In the trial period, the groups changed constantly due to different contracts. There was a huge range of nationalities, and I have no access to any statistics. It was used (at least) with monolingual groups on specialized courses from Venezuela, Japan, Algeria, Canada (Quebec), Qatar, Libya, Oman.
In the multingual groups, the largest numbers were from among these countries:
Mexico, Switzerland ( German-speaking, French-speaking, Italian-speaking), Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Venezuela, Algeria, Iran, Libya.
There were significant numbers also from Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea and Finland.
In fact, the countries where it has been most popular since publication are probably Spain, Japan, France, Belgium, Greece, Argentina and Mexico. We had been asked to guess where it would sell most and we said Brazil, Mexico and Germany. For some reason it has never sold particularly well in Germany, although some of the most enthusiastic users in the pilot stage were German. We were told ‘it wasn’t serious enough’ but this was completely wrong for the many Germans we taught!
PUBLISHING URBAN MYTHS AND TRUTHS
Yes, Streamline was rejected by Longman. They were very good about it & they had Mainline Beginners, Starting Strategies and Kernel One in the pipeline and didn’t need a fourth beginners’ book. They offered us other work, and they told us to come back if we hadn’t found a publisher in eighteen months. We had no complaints at all. They were clear, honest and helpful. Thanks.
The pilot was accepted by Cambridge University Press, and we even received a contract for six levels under the title The Cambridge English Course 1 to 6 ! Apologies are due here. We pulled out late because we got a better offer.
Oxford got it at the very last moment, and their trump card was the offer of color, which we had been holding out for. Keith Rose came down to see us within 24 hours of contacting us and was very persuasive. They could only offer one level (and that was as 80 units, not our planned 120 units), but color was what we wanted.
There’s another urban legend, that Streamline was submitted as handwritten copy. Not true at all. It was printed, using plain, bold, italic and handwriting golf balls, letraset and black and white illustrations. The basis of the legend comes during writing Destinations, where the later units were handwritten (in print script) because the design process preferred not to wait an additional week for typing. This was before the days of word processors.