Earlier this month, my 14-year old niece, Duda, showed me her English textbook – given for free to all students at her state public school.
The textbook is beautifully designed with lots of reading and listening activities plus speaking activities. I would say it is on a par with any coursebook available on the international market (including the fact that there is no e-book available – but that’s a theme for another post).
One thing that intrigued me is that Duda told me her English teacher does not use the book. The teacher gives some extra book activities.
Could students use the books for self-study? Yes, but the fact that the books are 100% in English it can be discouraging especially when they have to resort to the dictionary just to understand the instructions.
A good thing (contrary to the previous edition) is that the book includes the transcript of the audio CD.
Why does the teacher avoid using the textbook? Many reasons can arise:
- She doesn’t like the way the book presents the themes.
- She lacks the necessary training to use the book in large classrooms
- The book brings irrelevant material for the students.
- The book brings way too difficult material for the students.
In an ideal world and school the English teacher could perfectly coordinate with the other teachers to define points to be incorporated in her lesson.
For example – history – students are learning about the independence of nations in Latin America
Or geography or science and biology…
English would then stop being one more subject they have to study and would become a tool for the students to learn the other subjects.
But in any different way or situation, the students could have a notebook where they would create their own textbook along the year.
Drawing pictures, pasting photos, taking dictation, reading short articles, grammar drills and exercises that they had been given by the teacher or copied from the board.
- The words and expressions will be tailored to suit YOUR own needs.
- Reduce clutter. You don’t waste time on useless topics.
- You can keep track of your progress.
- Your textbook serves as a reference of everything you’ve learned so far. Whenever you forget something, you can look it up easily.
- You are learning as you’re writing the textbook.
- It’s free.
- You need to create the content yourself. You have to look for the material.
- You are in charge of keeping it organized.
- Your textbook won’t be 100% error-free
Source: Self-Learner – Teach it to yourself http://self-learner.com/write-your-own-language-textbook/