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November 20, 2007

Teacher Development- Course Book Reviews

Hello Readers,

There are a few different ways to use a course book. You might use one course book from cover-to-cover, following the teacher's book word-for-word. Alternatively, you could supplement a course book with your own materials. Or, you might pick and choose the bits of the course book that you want to use, in the order you want to use them. The more you know about ...

... what you want and need from a course book, the more use you will be able to get out of one.

So, what should you be looking for in a course book when you try to review one? Here are a few ideas:

* design- is it easy to read and easy to follow?
* rubrics- are they clear for students and teachers?
* illustrations- are there enough? too many? do they have a purpose?
* grammar points- are they clearly explained? are there enough relevant exercises to go along with them?
* vocabulary- are the important words highlighted? is a word list available? are the key words appropriate for your students?
* topics- are the topics interesting, culturally sensitive, current, and age appropriate?
* length- does the course book syllabus match your own classroom syllabus?
* cross-referencing- if there are a set of books (e.g., a course book, a workbook, and a teacher's book), is their adequate cross-referencing so its easy to go from one book to another?
* teacher's instructions- are they clear? do they provide you with extra information?
* extension activities- are extension activities suggested? is it easy to extend the activities on your own?
* methodology- does the course book seem to follow a certain methodology? is it one that you agree with? does it work with your group of students?

It's important to note that even the most popular ELT titles are imperfect, so the next time you look through a course book, do so with a critical eye.

Feel free to share your course book reviews here.

Hope that helps!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that spotlight Teacher Development in the ESL industry? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker hailing from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a Head teacher, an Education Manager, and a Material Development Manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing, authors ESL textbooks for publishing houses in China, and is an Editor for Garnet Publishing in Reading, England. Carol holds a BA in Communications from the College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University, and a CELTA, and has just finished her MA TESOL course at Oxford Brookes University. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at November 20, 2007 04:22 PM

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