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EFT Lesson 6: How can we make the most of coursebooks?

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    • #9241


        Give your opinion of a coursebook you know from the point of view of a student. Write about a few aspects of the book and explain the reasons for your opinion.

        Too many writing activities in my book are irrelevant to my teenage students’ lives, e.g. write about your job. So, if the page has a picture, I ask students to find sentences on the page which relate to the picture. Then we ignore the writing exercise and we write a more meaningful mini-text together about the picture.
        — Naomi, Israel


        Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.


      • #9260

        Steven Herder

          Actually, I stopped using course books in 2009 – Wow! that’s already more than 10 years ago. For standardized tests such as TOEIC or TOEFL iBT, however, I still use textbooks because I think the students need practice doing sample questions, and get valuable opportunities to learn from their mistakes in simulated questions.

          There are two main reasons that I stopped using course books. First, I found that the level and the content was perfect for about 10% of the class, and either too difficult or not challenging enough for the other 90% of students. Furthermore, the topics were often written for an international audience and simply not very interesting or engaging for my EFL students in Japan.

          The bigger reason that I gave up on course books was that I thought that I could do better choosing materials on my own. Through the Internet, the world is literally at my finger tips. I spend a lot of time getting to know my students at the start of the year, and then I can easily find materials that are of great interest to them, or materials that are particularly appropriate to the news of the day. Of course, most materials I use are not written for EFL students, but I find that if the contents are interesting enough, they make an effort to derive the necessary meaning from the materials. I always tell them that they are developing a valuable skill by learning to understand what they need to understand from something off the Internet.

          Finally, I like to take responsibility for what they study. When things don’t work well enough, I can always try again next time, and online content or materials are endless.

        • #10138

          Vhanessa Barbosa

            We have to ensure that every lesson must be interactive and engaging to the students. If they found it uninteresting and if you feel like they don’t actually attach their attention to it, then we adapt the given learning resources. Not everything in the coursebook should be literally done. We, teachers are resourceful and we always have to be smart enough in employing activities that may still be connected to the lesson whereas the sense of having coursebook will still be prevalent not in a way that we will not make sense of it at all because it is unengaging for the students. In the process, so to speak, we still have to assess our learners.

          • #10592

            Yaseen Muhammad

              To use or not to use course books this us the question. Course books are ubiquitous nowadays in Elt field but they have both benifits abd drawbacks. I think they are good resources for novice teachers because they require minimum preperation and most course books come with the teacher guide and instruction procedures which facilitate inexperienced teacher s to save time. However, heavily reliance on these commercial course books might pose challenges and problems to different contexts. For instance, some course books are culturally inappropriate to certain cultures and the students could be offended by some activities. I have personally faced this problem with some students in Iraq. The students complained rhat in their religion and culture its taboo to talk about issues like going on a date, clubbing, and having boyfriends and girlfriend. To find a suitable solution, I try to avoid and skip or adapt the activities… 😘

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