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What make a good EFL textbook?

 
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Penny*Penny



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: What make a good EFL textbook? Reply with quote

Hi. I was wondering what qualities make a good EFL textbook?

How do you evaluate and analysize the textbook?
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rusmeister



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a darn good question, and it's telling that it has not been answered.

The critical thing is that language must be built, from square one, with no assumption that the pupils/students understand anything at all. So your best bet is to grab not the most advanced text, but the text offered for beginners in a given series, and try to see how they build language.

For adults, simple verb constructions (be and have) + basic noun constructions should be the rule, gradually expanding into question forms, different verb tenses etc. For example: I am Russian. I have a (big) car.

For children: basic noun constructions, followed by simple verb structures.
Ex: a dog - a big dog - a big red dog - I have a big red dog. (See Get Ready by Felicity Hopkins. It's fantastic for that.)

American texts tend to assume that the learner is immersed in an English-speaking environment, and are better avoided. (There are reasons for this, some of them commercial, others just plain practical - upshot, British books are better, MUCH better.)

Pretty pictures and formatting of textbooks are highly misleading and a lousy criterium. Try to examine the development of grammar and vocab, as well as how reading develops. Beginning texts should be very simple, and limited mostly to vocab the students have been exposed to in the textbook. Most publishers, like Heinle and Heinle in the US, depend on attractive formatting to sell their books, while their professionalism is abysmal. I go with OUP (Oxford U. Press) but you still have to be careful.
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