Why using a coursebook is not a good idea

July 30, 2019 0 By admin

Why using a coursebook is not a good idea

In the eighties Allwright (1981) put forward arguments against in which textbooks deliver materials and O’Neil responded with a defense of the coursebook.  Since then there has been a continual debate about whether learners from coursebooks or not. Opponents have argued that the coursebook benefits administrators and teachers without catering for the needs and wants of learners, that it is used mainly to impose control and order and that it is superficial and reductionist in its coverage of points and in its provision of language experience … it imposed uniformity of syllabus and approach, and it removes initiative and power from teachers. (Developing materials for Language Teaching. Tomlinson). I have an experience of English for about 10 years and I have used many coursebooks during this period. Turning back to these years it is clear for me that the coursebooks that I have used helped the students less than my own lesson plans. I have tried taking the whole coursebook and going with it and expecting the learner to learn the language along the way and I also tried adapting coursebooks. Using coursebooks we expect our learners to learn the language in the long run, but it is not what we assume. Students learn when they are motivated and genuinely engaged in the learning process but most of the time the coursebooks either kill the motivation or wrongly make us or our students believe that they have made a progress in learning the language. Let’s take a coursebook of an elementary or A2 level. If student does all the exercises in it and learns all the vocabulary and grammar, should we assume that the student is on elementary level and can now proceed to the pre intermediate level? Learning a language is simple unless we make it complicated with coursebooks. I have always thought why we needed TBLT and PBL approaches when we have coursebooks. The answer is students can’t learn the language merely with coursebooks.

Most of the coursebooks are designed for students who want to self-study the language rules. There isn’t much space given for teacher improvisation or at least there aren’t much engaging tasks in the coursebooks. Most coursebooks make the teachers and students dependent and make them lazy. I think teachers themselves should write their own materials and try teaching them the whole course before writing the coursebook. Most of the time, the coursebook writers are just writers whose job is to write but not to teach and it makes things even worse.

The debate over using a coursebook is still going on. I think I am on the 2nd side.

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