Course-books and Their Use Coursebooks 1. 2. 3. Background to the design and use of coursebooks
Principles for using a coursebook Classroom techniques and tasks 1. Background The way coursebooks look and what they contain go hand in hand with the prevailing ideas at the time they were published about how languages are best taught and learned.
In the 1950s:grammartranslation;coursebooks contain long reading passages, with vocabulary glossaries and grammar notes in the students mother tongue.
In the 1960s and 1970s:audiolingualism, focused on the spoken language. Language coursebooks used dialogues, pattern practice, and substitution drills. (behaviorist; structural linguistics) (English 900) In the 1970s and 1980s:notionalfunctional approach. Language was understood to be
used for purposes, or functions. Communication took precedence over grammar. Cousebooks began to emphasize functional language as well as pair work and group work activities. In the 1980s: the introduction of Task-based language teaching.
Language is learned through negotiations with other learners in problem-solving or taskmanagement situations that focus on meaning, rather than form,not through learning prespecified grammar,functions or notions. 2. Principles for using a coursebook
1. Understand how the coursebook is organized. Most coursebooks are organized around key features of language. These features include topics and associated vocabulary, grammar structures, social and cultural interaction skills, also emphasize
two or more of the four skills. The first step is to explore the coursebook to see how it is organized. (table of contents) Examining a unit gets you to know a coursebook as a whole. 2. Adapt the material.
Coursebooks are not written for a specific group of people. They are written for a generalized target group(children or adults, beginner or advanced, ESL or EFL). No book can meet all the needs and interests of each group of learners that use it.
For this reason, a coursebook must be adapted to your particular group of learners. SARS (Acklam 1994 acronym) S=Select (want to keep) A=Adapt (need to change) R=Reject (want to leave out)
S=Supplement (bring sth new into it) 3.Prepare the learners. We found that coursebook activities usually fail not because theyre too boring or too complicated, but because the learners havent been adequately prepared to do them. Put another way, any coursebook activity can be successful as long as learners know what to do and
have the ability to do it. Preparing the learners really means preparing yourself. What is the context for the activity? How can you make the context clear and interesting to the learners? What is the point of the activity? Is the focus to learn grammar? Is it to practice speaking?
Is it to learn vocabulary? What are the steps involved in carrying out the activity? How can you ensure that the learners know what to do? How long will the activity take? 4. Monitor and follow up.
Any activity actually has three parts: preparation, implementation, and follow up. While the students are doing an activity, you have an important role: to monitor what and how well they are doing. (walking around and observing) As you circulate, you can answer questions, keep track of language
problems, offer helpful corrections, and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Monitoring also helps you to see if the time limit you set was appropriate and whether it will need to be shortened or extended. Signals to let the students know when to stop.
Small classes: OK, time to stop. Large classes: clapping your hands, ringing a bell. Follow up: students can demonstrate what they have learned or ask questions about it. (pair work: dialogue
group work: group report etc.) 5. Build a repertoire.(all the plays,pieces of music etc.that a performer or a group can perform,) In addition to being organized around key features of language, a coursebook generally has consistent types of activities in each unit or chapter such as pair and group tasks,role-plays, information gaps,
listening tasks, and vocabulary games. A listening activity: for students to listen through once to get the general idea; listen a second time and do the task (answer questions; fill in a diagram); then
listen a third time and check their answers. If you follow this format consistently, you provide some predictability for the students-they learn familiar ways to approach an activity. It also helps to have ways to vary an
activity once the students are familiar with the basic format. For example, students can try to do the task before the first listening as a way to create anticipation for what they will hear. Some suggestions:
have students write the vocabulary words on cards and then group them in some way; put parts of sentences on cards so that students can put them in order and learn the grammar; write prompts on cards for speaking and writing activities; have students write comprehension
questions to reading passages on cards and quiz each other. 3. Classroom techniques and tasks Survey or map the territory Start small, with a group of units or just one unit, when familiarizing
yourself with the table of contents. Make notes as you go through it about what you like, what you dont like, what you want to emphasize, supplement, and reject. Make a map of it: by taking apart the pieces and rearrange them in a visual way, you become familiar with what is in the book.
Group prioritizing Richard Acklam suggests the following activity. Give out the books on the first day, and for homework, ask students to decide which topics/grammar areas in the book they are most interested in/concerned about. The next
day the students vote on the most relevant parts of the book, and this immediately helps the teacher to select appropriately. Personalizing: means asking for or giving personal or culturally familiar information related to the material in the book. This technique draws on the learners
experiences and opinions and makes the material more real and accessible to the students. One example:A teacher taught telephone numbers using examples in the textbook. The students were bored and inattentive. By simply
asking them to use their own telephone numbers, she would have made the material more relevant and motivating. Format shift: means switching to a different skill or grouping than the one proposed in the book.
A reading text about places to vacation to Australia can be used as a model for writing about places to vacation in our country. In one sense, format shift is about supplementing through skill integration: when appropriate, giving students opportunities to speak, listen, read and write about
each activity. Mistake log:One way to monitor what and how your students are doing is to keep a mistake log. Make a note of the activity and the class as you circulate, write down the mistakes you hear the students making. Mistakes can be grammatical, lexical or cultural.
The mistake log can then be used in a number of ways. You can use it immediately after the activity and elicit correction from the students. If there are recurrent mistakes, you
can prepare a separate lesson and use examples from the log. The log will also show you and your students in which areas they are improving because the mistakes occur less frequently.
Practical English Language Teaching ----- David Nunan
This research was supported by funding from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Figure 1: Young adults' and middle-aged adults' reasons for maintaining their opposite-sex friendship.
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