How do you choose a textbook for your students?

When you constantly focus on how to improve your teaching skills and how to choose an interesting textbook you should always keep up to date. That means that you have to get ready to change everything in your teacher’s practices, including the material you use.

Textbooks are considered the death of teachers’ imagination, but actually they are the starting point of a course. In the best world ever, a perfect balance between teacher’s imagination and textbooks would be ideal. Now the question is: how to choose the right textbook?

There are many publishing houses as well as many textbooks, so what should you consider when choosing it? Which is the right one for your course and your teaching skills? It can be useful to focus on some key points: index; pictures; four abilities’ balance; linguistic inputs; cultural inputs; price and availability.

Let’s go through all of them!

A book’s index describes its teaching approach, so it helps you understand immediately whether it’s the right book or not. Scrolling down the index you also understand if any CD is included or not, how language is presented, how contents are organised and much more.

As teachers that previously were learners you know how important pictures and graphics are. You know that material must be appealing and target oriented to keep always high the attention. That’s why you should consider textbooks from the student’s point of view!

Browsing through the book you can get an impression about how the four abilities are balanced. It’s once again a matter of approach because looking at the abilities’ management you understand if the book can provide you a right guideline. In fact if they are not well balanced, you’ll need to compensate with extra activities to readjust their balance.

Leafing through the book, you should pay attention to the materials chosen. You need to check if they are authentic or not: this is very important in order to expose students to the real language. The book should put them in front of the spoken and written language that they will face in interactions with native speakers. So materials must be imagined for native speakers, not for L2 learners, however they have to respect the students’ level.

Language and culture are closely related, especially in a language course. You cannot teach a language without its culture. That’s one of the most important topic you should consider in your choice: the book must reflect the culture because usually students are interested in learning a language because of the culture behind.

You should not ignore its availability and price. You should check if it’s available in the country you live in, whether it’s easy or not to purchase it, and if it’s cheap or expensive.

We thought about these key points, and you? Do you pay attention to other aspects?


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