2 Why evaluate materials? To choose them before a course, for class…to adapt during a course, to look at their effect after a course. For research purposes……Action ResearchWho does it? Teachers, Directors, Coursebook writers piloting a course, writers reviewing a book for ELT J
3 What can be evaluatedtextbooks..CDs…internet….websites, resource books, grammar books, dictionaries, books for young learners, EAP books, complete packages, , workbooks, picture books, ESP, English for Business, answer books, teacher’s editions and teachers guides…..commercially produced books, (CUP, OUP), In-House materials, British or American English Editions, Taiwanese editions…
4 learner factors 1 Age range. Proficiency level (and homogeneity within the group).First language (all the same?)Academic and educational level.Socio-cultural background.Occupation [if relevant, i.e. ESP].reasons for studying the target language.Attitudes to learning, to target language/culture, the teacher…
5 LEARNER FACTORS 2 Previous language learning experience language learning aptitude (?)general learner expectations of course/mats/teacher/own role..specific wants [ESP]preferred learning stylesgender/distribution, if mixed, what proportion M/FInterests
6 MORE NEEDS…… dialect [British/American/Australian…] language skill emphasiscontexts and situations of use, may require different levels of formality and/or register.subskills [vocab, pro,]functionslanguage system emphasis [grammar/vocab/phon]notionslanguage forms [structures,vocab items features of stress or intonation]whether language systems will be used productively, receptively or both.
7 The skillsThe four skills, listening, speaking, reading, writing, are seen as central to language learning. The skills dimension complements the dimensions of grammar/vocabulary/phonological knowledge, and focuses on the ability of learners to actually operate in the language.. The emphasis is on linguistic behaviour and the learners ability to use the language in different situations requiring different skills, sometimes in isolation, but usually together in some combination., for example listening to lectures and taking notes>.listening and writing simultaneously.We need to check if the coursebook deals adequately and appropriately with the four skills, taking the level of the ;learners and the overall aims of the class into account
8 LISTENING.Coursebooks focus on listening in two different ways. Firstly as part of general oral work, including dialogues and role play, where listening plays a secondary role compared to speaking. One of the most difficult and unnerving aspects of taking part in a conversation in a foreign a language is the unpredictability of the answer or the response. While learners can keep what the try to say within their own linguistic competence, there is no way, that once outside the safe confines of the classroom, they can control what comes back to them in conversation. The most effective strategy is quick thinking and accurate prediction of what to expect.
9 SPEAKING.Few courses treat speaking as a separate skill in the same way as listening, reading and writing. Speaking practice takes place through eth oral presentation and practice of new language items, in such activities as dialogue work and role-play. The more mechanical aspects of speaking are also covered in pronunciation practice, where this forms part of the course package, and the combination of the above activities normally ensures that students receive good spoken models from their teachers and plenty of opportunity to practice themselves.
10 CHECKLISTSsystematic, ensuring consideration of all appropriate elements.Cost effective, permitting a good deal of information to be recorded in a short time.Information is recorded in a convenient format, allowing for easy comparison of different course books.It is explicit, and may offer a convenient and common framework for decision making.
11 THE TEXTBOOKThe perfect textbook does not exist, but the best available book for you and your students does. Such a book should satisfy three conditions.It should suit the needs, interests and abilities of your students.IT should suit you: the best book for your students won’t work if you dislike it for some reason.The textbook must meet the institutional needs of the place where you teach, official public syllabus, or exams, or local culture.
12 CATEGORIESAge Are the social settings, topics, vocabulary suitable for your learners’ age?Interests Are they reflected in the textbook, to bring pleasure, not boredom.Class Size. Large, 30+? One to One? Textbooks written for smaller classes.Level. Homogenous/mixed? Not too easy/difficult.Impression. Does the book feel right?Skills. Four skills covered? Do they relate to learners’ needs/targets?Lay-out. Is it clear and attractive? Dense of open?Presentation/Practice. Clear presentation, appropriate context, fluency practice.Variety. Varied or monotonous and predictable.Illustrations. Pedagogic purpose? Decoration? Related to price?Story-line. Backbone of units? Interesting/trivial/flagging.Culture Bias. Ethnocentricity, too British/American speaking activities based.Price. Financial burden on students? Supplementary materials.
13 Checklist for Listening: What kind of listening material is provided? Does listening form part of dialogue or conversation work? Are there specific listening passages?What kind of activities are based on the listening passages? Comprehension, extracting specific information, note-taking, rewriting?Is the listening material set in a meaningful context?Are there pre-listening tasks, questions, etc?What is the recorded material like in terms of Quality / Speed of delivery // Accent // Authenticity?Is there any visual material for listening?Is good use of the visual context made to provide meaningful context and show gesture, facial expression etc?
14 Pronunciation.Is the emphasis on areas of pronunciation that are important to meet learners’ needs?Is the pronunciation practice done separately, or is it part of other types of work such as listening, dialogue practice etc?Is the terminology comprehensible to the learners?Is the IPA alphabet used? Are students given training in using it?Does the material use a diagrammatic system to show stress or intonation?Are there audio cassettes/CDs for pronunciation practice? Do they provides good models for the learners?
15 Speaking.How much emphasis is there on spoken English in the coursebook?What kind of material for speaking is contained in the coursebook? Oral presentation // dialogues// roleplay //communication activities?Are there strategies for speaking or conversation? Debating? Giving presentations?Is any practice material included to help learners deal with unpredictability in spoken English?
16 references Cunningsworth, A. 1996. Choosing Your Coursebook. Oxford. McGrath, I Materials Evaluation and Design for Language Teaching. Edinburgh.Mukundan, J. et al Developing an English Language Evaluation Checklist. A Focus Group Study. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science.Good, J Discovering a Method for Analysis and Development of Teachers’ Guides Contribution to Lesson Content. University of Essex PhD.