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Certification Program

Evaluating Text books
Types and use of Materials

The Current Phase:
The objectives of a course are implemented through the materials. This phase discusses the factors that need to be kept in mind while selecting materials. A great deal of thought is required for material selection – appropriateness, suitability, adaptability, effectiveness etc.

Phase 8 – Text books and Materials

Development of materials

Material development is both a field of study and practical undertaking. As a field it studies principles and procedures of the design, implementation and evaluation of language teaching materials. it involves the production , evaluation and adaptation of language teaching materials , by teachers for their own classrooms and by materials writers for sale or distribution. Ideally these two concepts are interactive.

Materials can include anything that is used to teach language.

They can be linguistic, visual, auditory , or kinesthetic and they can be presented through live performance , display or on CD……….

They can be instructional in that they inform learners about the language or experiential I that they provide exposure to the language in use, they can be elicitative in that they stimulate language use or they can be exploratory in that they seek discoveries about language use.

Historical Development

Not until 1990s was this particular agenda brought to notice. Until then it was treated as a subsection of methodology. But finally people started to give more prominence to the study of material development.

Why the need to incorporate this as part of the course?

The answer to that is simple, all teachers are basically material developers, and an effective teacher should possess the skill to develop material based on class need. There cannot be a strict pattern that everybody should follow while developing materials. Therefore it is mandatory that a guideline on how to develop class appropriate material should be given to the teachers.

Issues in material development

• Do learners need a course book?

- Some say that it is the most convenient for of presenting material as it helps to achieve consistency and continuation. Other than this it gives the learners a sense of system and cohesion. But on the other

hand the others argue that it is inevitably superficial and cannot cater to all the diverse needs of all users.. On top of that it imposes uniformity of syllabus and approach and removes initiative and power form teachers ,

• Should materials be learning or acquisition focused

- Despite the theory of implicit acquisition of language form comprehensible input m most language text book aim at explicit learning of language plus practice. The main exceptions are materials developed in 1980?s which aim at facilitating informal acquisition of communicative competence through communication activities such as discussions , projects , games , simulations and drama .These activities are popular but treated as supplementary materials in addition to course books which still focused on the explicit learning of discreet features of the language . The debate about the relative merits of conscious learning and subconscious acquisition continues with some people advocating a strong focus on language experience through a task based or text-based approach and some advocating experience plus language awareness activities.

What to use as material

• cassettes,
• videos, CD-ROMs,
• DVDs, dictionaries,
• grammar books,
• readers,
• workbooks,
• photocopied exercises,
• all kinds of realia,
• lectures and talks by guest speakers,
• Internet sources

Materials can be divided into non-technical and technical media. In the first category
Examples of non technical materials are :

• blackboard
• Whiteboard
• magnet board
• Flannel board
• Pegboards
• flashcards
• index cards
• wall charts
• posters
• maps
• scrolls
• board games
• mounted pictures
• photos
• cartoons

• line drawing
• Objects
• realia, pamphlet
• brochure
• leaflets
• flyers
• puppets
• newspapers
• magazines

Point to note: These items have many advantages in places where technical resources are scarce. They are also cheap and user-friendly.

Examples of technical materials are

• audiotapes
• audio-recorders
• players, records
• record players
• CD´s/CD players
• radio/television
• Telephones
• Teletrainers films
• film projectors

• computer software
• hardware
• overhead transparencies
• overhead projectors language lab
• multimedia lab
• opaque projectors
• slides, filmstrips/
• slide and filmstrip projectors.

Point to note: Contrary to those from the first group, the latter are expensive and less user-friendly.

Advantages of choosing the right material:

• The teaching process is made easier and materials may be used to explain, exemplify or practice the content presented to students.
• Materials can represent a source of motivation for students
• Materials change the dynamics of the class routines through the possibility of manipulating objects, accessing audiovisual material or promoting interaction with others.
• Materials, if chosen adequately, can promote the integration of language skills by addressing language and content in a holistic way
• Materials can also help the teacher address the individual differences of students.

Influencing factors:

• The role of English in the country,
• The role of English in schools
• The role of teachers, management and administration,
• The available resources,
• The support personnel,
• The number of pupils,
• The available time,
• The physical environment,
• The socio-cultural environment

Three principles for developing materials: that applies to the needs, wants and situations faced in diverse settings,

Particularity: seeks to facilitate the advancement of a context-sensitive, location specific pedagogy that is based on a true understanding of local linguistic, social, cultural, and political particularities.

Practicality: seeks to rupture the reified role relationship between theorizers and practitioners by enabling and encouraging teachers to theorize from their practice and to practice what they theorize.

Possibility: seeks to tap the sociopolitical consciousness that students bring with them to the classroom so that it can also function as a catalyst for identity formation and social transformation

As a logical consequence of these principles, teacher educators must study more closely how they can help future teachers in using materials in the EFL classroom. The particularity principle is important in our materials training as teacher educators need to provide student teachers with alternatives to their particular contexts, since they may be EFL teachers in rural settings, underprivileged neighborhoods in urban areas or private schools with various types of teaching materials. In the search for practicality, teacher educators need to help students find a situated, eclectic, personal approach to using materials in their teaching. This may allow them to reflect on their experience and write about new ways to teach with and without materials or to look for alternative ways to use traditional materials. The possibility principle may have an application in the awareness training possibility of changing the paradigm of EFL teachers from mere materials consumers in ESL settings to teachers capable of creating effective teaching conditions regardless of the availability of certain teaching materials.

Examples of a popular material

Movie Viewing in EFL Listening : Movie videos should not be regarded as merely
a peripheral „extra? in a listening class; on the contrary, they can function as the core
content and become an integral part of the curriculum.

In presenting the movies in the classroom, King (2002) proposes four approaches:

1. Sequential: In sequential approach, the teacher exposed
2. Scene-by-scene or one segment of the movie at one time.
3. The single-scene approach, as the name suggests, requires the teacher to use only one particular scene for the language instruction
4. The selective method: involves the viewing of a few scenes chosen by the teacher from one movie.
5. Whole-film: lastly, in the whole-film approach the teacher shows the movie in full length .

She adds that while presenting movies in any of these approaches is possible, the decision to adopt a particular approach depends mainly on the instructional objectives and the characteristics of the students.

Advantages of using movie as material

• Follow a plot easily and get involved in plot development.
• Learn to pronounce proper nouns in different disciplines.
• Acquire colloquial, context-bound expressions and slang.
• Process a text rapidly and improve rapid reading.
• Keep up with closed captioning that accompany the native-speed spoken English.
• Provide relaxing, stress-free learning environments where students can comprehend jokes and have a few hearty laughs.
• Learn different strategies for processing information.
• help students develop a high tolerance of ambiguity.
• enhance students? listening strategies such as guessing meaning from context and inferring strategies by visual clues, facial expressions, voice and sound track.
• promote active viewing and listening for key words and main ideas.
• motivate students to make use of authentic English material on their own.
• provide students with the opportunity to experience a great sense of accomplishment and

Some important concepts related to the construction of language :

It has been argued earlier in this paper that teachers occasionally face a situation where they?re required to devise their own materials for the lessons ,in that case 7 variables are to be taken onto account when writing materials rfor

language instructions:

1. Students – their needs and learning objectives;
2. Teachers – their abilities, proficiency, and self-confidence;
3. Syllabus – the approach;
4. Methodology – its implementation;
5. Resources – their availability;
6. Time – availability;
7. Finance – amount.

The teachers have to keep these variables in mind while developing materials, and necessary adjustments should be done if the materials being constructed turn out not to conform to the above variables. It is apparent that materials development is a process, and the teacher should be aware that this process should follow a certain procedure

EFL Teachers see materials as a very important component in effective teaching. They tend to associate effective teaching with the availability of different kinds of materials, mainly technical.

Student teachers require longer and deeper training in the use of technical and non- technical materials. They must be acquainted with different possibilities to make adequate choices in their classroom settings.

Teacher educators need to expose students to real school contexts in which students face the limitations in the use of materials experienced in regular EFL classrooms. Additionally, they need to train future teachers in the use of applications of multimedia in teaching and learning foreign languages as private schools and language centers include the use of these materials as strengths in their EFL programs.

Selection and adaptation of textbooks

Text books are key component in most language programs . in some situations they serve as the basis for much of the language input learners receive and the language practice that occurs in the classroom They may provide the basis for the content of the lessons , the balance of skills taught and the kinds of language practice the students take part in . In other situations, the text book may serve primarily to supplement the teacher?s instruction. For learners the textbook may provided by the teacher. In the case of experienced teachers textbooks may also serve as a form of teacher training – they provide ideas on how to plan and teach lessons as well as formats that teachers can use.

Much of the language teaching that occurs throughout the world today could not take place without the extensive use of commercial textbooks .Learning how to use and adapt textbooks is hence an important part of a teacher´s professional knowledge.

Advantages and limitations of textbooks

1. They provide structure and a syllabus for a programme without textbooks a programme may have no central core and learners may receive a syllabus that has been systematically planned and developed.

2. They standardize instruction. The use of a textbook in a programme can ensure that the students in different classes receive similar content and therefore can be tested in the same way.

3. They maintain quality. If a well developed textbook is used students are exposed to materials that have been tried and tested that are based on sound learning principles that are paced appropriately

4. They are efficient. They save teacher?s time enabling teachers to devote time to teaching rather than material?s production.

5. They can provide effective language models and input .Textbooks can provide support for teachers whose first language is not English and who may not be able to generate accurate language input on their own.

6. They can train teachers If teachers have limited teaching experience a text book together with the teacher?s manual can serve as a medium of initial teacher training

However there can be several negative effete:

1. They may distort language Text books often present an idealized view of the world or fail to represent real issues In order to make textbooks acceptable controversial topics are avoided instead an idealized view of the world is portrayed as the norm.

2. They may not reflect student needs. Since text books are published for global markets they often do not reflect the needs of the local students hence texts require adaptation.

Evaluating Text books

With such an array of text books and other kinds of instructional materials to choose from teachers need to be able to make informed judgments about textbooks and teaching materials Evaluation can only be done considering something in relation to its purpose. A book may be ideal in one situation because it matches the needs of that situation. However the same book can turn out to unsuitable in a different situation. Before evaluating a textbook therefore certain issues need to be checked:

The role of the textbook in the programme

- Is there a well developed curriculum which describes the objectives syllabus and content of the program or will this be determined by the book? .

- Will the book or the textbook series provide the core of the programme or is it one of several different books that will be used?

- Will this be used in small classes or in large ones?

- Will learners be expected to use workbooks as well or should the text book provide all the practice students need?

The teachers in the programme

- How experienced are the teachers in the programme and what is their level of training?

- Are they native speakers of English? If not how well do they speak English?

- Do teachers tend to follow the textbook closely or do they use it for reference?

- Do teachers participate in selection of books that they teach from?

- Are teachers free to adapt and supplement the book?

The learners in the programme

- Is each student required to buy a book?

- What do learners typically expect?

- Will they use the book in class and at home?

- How will they use the book in class? Is it the primary source of classroom activities?

- How much are they prepared to pay for a book ? Next we will read about criteria for textbook selection.

Criteria for textbook selection

• They should cater to the learners needs and match the aims and objectives of the language programme

• They should reflect the uses which learners will make of the language so that they can learn effectively

• They should have a clear role as a support for learning. Like teachers they mediate between the target language and the learning process.
The type of evaluation a book receives will also reflect the concerns of the evaluator. One teacher may look at a book in terms its usability. The teacher is primarily interested in whether the book works easily in her class, can be used flexibly and could easily be adopted. Another teacher may look at a book much more critically in term of it theoretical orientation and approach If it is a book that teaches conversational skills what theory of conversation is it based on? What kind of syllabus is it based on … are the concerned questions that are asked.


Thus, in each situation questions specific to that situation need to be generated around the main issues involved in text book evaluation and selection.

Adapting textbooks

Some form of adaptation is almost always required to make a text book more suitable.

Modifying content

• Content may need to be changed because it does not suit the target learners age , gender , social class, occupation, religion or cultural background .

Adapting or deleting content

• The book may contain too much or too little of the programme whole units may have to be dropped. For example a course may focus only
on listening and speaking therefore the unit on reading and writing has
to be dropped .

• Eliminating the things they already know, or aren't ready for

• Focusing on the type of activities that fit your objectives - e.g. dialogues, readings, listening, writing or grammar activities

• Putting the activities into an order that takes into account what you know about the student?s previous English learning, and the student's life view

Modifying tasks or reformat

• This means changing the activities in the text. For example,

• Timing – how much time is spent on each activity?

• Refocusing activity

• Formatting – how will the activity be presented to the class – e.g. the textbook may specify a “listening” activity, but the teacher may decide to change this to a “reading” activity followed by discussion and conversation.

• Exercises and activities may need to be changed to give them additional focus. For example a listening activity that focuses only on listening for information is adapted so that students listen a second m or third time for as different purpose.


Extending tasks

Exercises may contain insufficient practice and additional practice tasks may need to be added. Additional focus.
For example a listening activity that focuses only on listening for information is adapted so that students listen a second m or third time for as different purpose

The ability to be able to adapt textbooks in these ways is an essential skill for teachers to develop . Through the process of adaptation the teacher personalizes the text making it a better teaching resource as well as individualizes it for particular group of learners.

Monitoring the use of materials

No matter what form of materials teachers make use of whether they teach form text books , manuals or … they represent plans for teaching. They do not represent process of teaching. As teachers use they adapt the material to cater to the immediate situation .it is useful therefore to collect information on how teachers use course books and other teaching materials in their teaching .

The information collected can serve the following purposes.

• To document effective ways of using material

• To provide feedback on how materials wok

• To keep a record of additions deletions and supplementary materials that teachers may have used.

• To assist other teachers in using the materials

Monitoring may take the following forms :

Classroom visits to see how teachers us the textbook and to find the quality of influence the book ahs on the classroom.

Feedback sessions:
Group meetings in which the teachers discuss their experience with text books .

Written reports:
The use of reflection sheets or other forms of written feedback in which teachers make a brief note about what worked well what didn´t work well


1. Take a look at any two course books and evaluate them based on the following points:

• Level to be used for
• Skills that they attempt to develop
• Format – attractive, easy to use
• Grammar highlights
• Can it be adapted or is it rigid?
• Which would you choose out of the two and why?


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