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Adopting and Adapting an Existing Course Book

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Hanpin Li

on 13 April 2014

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Transcript of Adopting and Adapting an Existing Course Book

General aims
and communicative
nature
ELT Journal -
Writing academic English—a survey review of current published resources

Combination of tables and written text.
Chapter 11 Adopting and Adapting an
Existing Course Book
The Course Book, the Learners and the Teacher
Prabhu (1989) suggests that because teaching must be matched to the

learners’
current knowledge, course books will not be effective because they are not in touch with the state of this knowledge.
Allwright (1981) sees textbooks as removing
learners
from negotiating the curriculum design process.
E.g.
Rihanna is an experienced teacher. She has her own teaching format, sequencing and assessment approach.
Activity 1. Teaching Situations

1. Victoria is an inexperienced teacher. This is her first time teaching English as a foreign language in China. She found a high-quality course book, which is easy to handle.

2. Tim has been teaching Spanish for 15 years. The Ministry of education requires him to follow a certain course book. But he thinks that the sequencing of the activities in the course book should be changed.

3. Sara is convinced of using an excellent French reading book, and she is going to draw on some reading texts and reading activities in the source book depending on students’ needs.

4. Sandra is teaching Chinese for a multi-level class. She cannot find a Chinese course book that adopts Total Physical Response (TPR) and TPRS (TPR-Storytelling) as teaching methods. Based on some online teaching materials and the topics students are interested in, she is going to design some materials and activities for students.

5. Christian is a Vietnamese teacher. He has been using a course book for 3 years, and he found it very practical and learner-friendly.

Adopting and Adapting an Existing Course Book

Hanpin Li Liyun He Zihan Lin

Evaluating a course book
A systematic approach to course book evaluation can be based on the parts of the curriculum design process:
• Does the course book suit the environment in which it will be used?
• Does the course book meet the needs of the learners?
• Does the course book apply sensible principles of teaching and learning?
• Do the goals of the course book match the goals of the course?
• Does the content of the course book suit the proficiency level of the
learners and reflect sensible selection and sequencing principles?
• Is the course book interesting and does it use effective techniques?
• Does the course book include tests and ways of monitoring progress?
Essential features:
Reducing the list of possible books
• The book should be at the right vocabulary and grammar level for the learners.
• The book should focus on the language and skills that are the goal of the course.
• The book should be below a certain price.
• The book should be readily available.
• The size and number of lessons in the book should suit the length of the course.
• The book should not include behavior and topics that would offend the religious or cultural sensitivities of the learners and their parents.
Choosing and weighing the features
Three things need to be done :
1 Add features that you consider important but which are not on the list.
Try to do this systematically by considering the various parts of the
curriculum design process.
2 Take away features from the list so that it contains a manageable list of
features, leaving preferably no more than 10 or 12. Because it is not
possible to include all the principles of teaching and learning on this
list, it will be necessary to decide which of those principles are really
important enough to include. This will probably mean choosing no
more than two or three from the list of twenty.
3 Divide the features in the list into two or three groups in order to decide
which features are very important, which are important, and which are
desirable but not so important. This list of features does not include the
absolutely essential features which should be listed separately. There
are several reasons for dividing the features into groups. Firstly it helps
to clarify priorities. Secondly, it provides some indication of how
much time should be spent on examining a particular feature in the
course book. Thirdly, the grouping can act as the basis for giving numerical
points for each feature so that a “score” (total number of points)
can be given to a course book and thus make comparison of course
books easier.
A suggested list of features to choose from
GOALS, CONTENT AND SEQUENCING
The ideas in the course should help learning in the
classroom.
The ideas in the course should suit the age of the learners
and should interest them.
The content should take account of what learners expect to
see in an English course.
The sequencing of the content should allow for some
learners being absent for some classes.
The language in the course should be able to be modelled
and comprehended by the teacher.
The number of lessons in the course should suit the school
term or year.
The ideas in the course should increase the acceptability and
usefulness of the course outside the classroom.
The content should suit the proficiency level of the learners.
The content should take account of what learners want.
The content should be what learners need.
FORMAT AND PRESENTATION
The layout of the content should attract the learners.
The learners should have the skills to do the activities.
The activities could be used for self-study; The activities should take account of whether the learners share the same first language; The activities should be
suitable for a range of levels of proficiency in a class; The activities should suit
the size of the class; The activities should fit the learning styles of the learners;
The activities should be able to be presented and managed by the teacher [e.g.
the teacher should be able to organize group work].
The course book should be easy to carry.
The material in the course or the course book should not be too expensive.
The amount of material in a lesson should suit the length of a class.
The activities should suit the physical features of the classroom [e.g. move
desks for group work; sound proof for oral work].
The learners should be able to successfully complete the activities.
The activities should take account of what the learners expect to do in a
language-learning course.
The kinds of activities should be useful to the learners in their future use or
future learning of the language [e.g. knowing how to rank; knowing how to
negotiate].
MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT
The course should show the learners that they are learning
to do what they want to do.
An example evaluation form for a beginner's course book
Features

Weight
Score out of 5 Score ×
Weight
Interesting content
3
Useful language items
3
Avoidance of interference
1
Interesting and useful activities
2
Illustrations support activities
1
Coverage and balance of
the four strands
3
Attractive layout
1
Reasonable cost
1
Opportunities for self-study
1
Number of lessons & length of
2

each lesson suit the time available
Suitable for the teacher’s skills
2

The importance of each feature is indicated by its weighting. The evaluator
then scores each feature and multiplies the score by the weight given to that
feature, to provide an overall score out of 100.
Relationships between the Teacher and the Course Material
1. Strong reliance on the course book with minimal adaption
2. Adapting a course book
3. Using source books instead of course books
4. Using computers and the Internet
1. Strong reliance on the course book with minimal adaption
Teachers follow the chosen course books very closely, making only small essential changes and additions.
Reasons:
2. Inexperienced or untrained teacher
4. Learners wish to cover every part of the course book ( Especially in East Asia)
Areas Enjoying Flexibility:
1. Requirement of the school or Ministry of education
1. Format and presentation
2. Monitoring and assessment
1. Format and presentation
Simple techniques:

Designing more task-like classroom activities (Answer questions proposed by Willis and Willis (2007).
Varying the speed, number of repetitions, assigning some parts of the lesson as homework, or getting learners to act out parts of the materials.
2. Monitoring and assessment
Teachers design tests and find ways to assess their students.
( Observations, interviews etc. )
2. Adapting a course book
Teachers make substantial changes to the chosen course book. Cannot be totally abandoned.
Reasons of adapting a course book:
Responding to the environment:
Taking account of needs
Putting principle into practice
6 Ways to adapt a course book:
1. Add or omit content
2. Change the sequencing of the content
3. Change the format
4. Change the presentation
5. Add or omit monitoring
6. Add or omit assessment
2. Adapting a course book:
Tanaka and Stapleton (2007) describe the implementation and the results of adding content through the addition of
an extensive reading component to the course
in a Japanese high school.
Course book fails to apply principles that the teacher believes are important.
(Principles: comprehensible input, fluency, time on task )
Students read teacher-made reading materials for a short time in class over a period of about five months
Reason:
How:
Result:
Reading speed gains recorded for all students, and for those who also read graded readers reading comprehension also improved.
Suggestions
Progressive adaptation

of a course book over several courses can be a safe way for a teacher to develop professionally through a modest amount of action research.
it is also a useful way of beginning to design your own course.
3. Using source books instead of course books
Teachers assemble their courses by drawing on a variety of source books such as conversation books, timed reading books, intensive reading books, listening texts as well as teacher-made materials instead of using only the assigned course books.
Reasons:
1 A single course book does not meet the diverse needs of the learners in the class.

2 Drawing material from a variety of sources allows the teacher to keep each lesson as close as possible to what the learners need.

3 Learners can have a strong say in what kind of topics and what kind of material they work with.

4 Teachers have the chance to make greater use of their professional skills, such as material preparation, course planning, adaptation of activities, and multi-level teaching in one class.

5 The circumstances under which the course is taught make it difficult to find an appropriate textbook.

6 Current course books do not reflect “state of the art” knowledge in
Applied Linguistics.
3. The teacher is convinced of the high quality of the course book
Problems in using source books:
Being organised, unified and systematic.
The biggest problems facing the teacher in a course drawing on source books are to
provide systematic coverage of the important language and skills content of the course
, and to make it seem like
one unified course
rather than a set of unrelated bits. Such courses are often
organised around themes to provide this unity
. Learners sometimes complain of not seeing any obvious progress when they do not have a set course book
More demanding for teachers
They need to be aware of the various parts of the curriculum design process and need to be able to check that the greater freedom they have to draw on a variety of types of content, presentation and assessment is matched by monitoring of
all parts of the curriculum design process.
3. Using source books instead of course books
4. Using computers and the Internet
Determining factors:
1. Environment
2. Needs
3. Principles
1. Self-access centers (SAC) & language-learning laboratories
Impact on language teaching

Disscuss with your curriculum group members about what questions or problems you need to resolve first before considering using the Internet or computers instead of a certain course book. ( 2 minutes)
Salaberry (2001) suggests four major questions for teachers to consider about the pedagogical effectiveness and the use of technology:
1. Does better technology result in
better teaching
?

2. Which features of technology
help
teaching and learning?

3.
How
can we use new technologies in the curriculum?

4. Do new technologies result in an
efficient use of human and material resources
Study center enables language learners to supplement their class-based language learning with self-study, in their own time. (Learner-centered approach, learner autonomy). SAC contains a large number of books, films, documentaries, course videos and audio recordings in a wide range of languages.
Eg: The SAC in The University of Nottingham Ningbo China.
http://www.nottingham.edu.cn/en/cele/asu/sac/sac.aspx
2. Computer-mediated activities

3. Using internet as a source of information ( CAUCIOUS!)

4. Using corpora
eg: Contemporary American English
*** http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/




Activity : What do you think are the most important features when evaluating a course book that fits your unique teaching environment?
Please discuss it with your curriculum design group and give us your opinions on the chosen features. Write down the features you like with adequate explanation on the big posters.

You can refer to Table 11.2 i(p, 167)
Activity : In your group please evaluate a textbook of your choice based on the evaluation form on our handout. Tell us your weighting, scores and the total scores the textbook got. Please explain how you weigh the features.

You can change the weight on the form or you can keep it the same way, but in total there should be 20 points. Give 3 points for the important ones and 1 point for the not important ones. Write down your scores on our handout and give us some explanation.
Time for Discussion !
Amazing teaching and learning website
http://www.socrative.com/

Activity:

Discuss with your curriculum group members. Will you use this technology in your teaching setting ? And explain the reasons.
Hanpin Li, Liyun He, Zihan Lin
What did we learn from the activity?


As a teacher, it is important to clarify the roles that the course book, the teacher and the learners are going to play in our curriculum design process.

This chapter provides teachers with a rational and systematic approach to follow when deciding to adopt or adapt a course book.
Rihanna
Dividing the Parts of the Process
Each part of the curriculum design process
Activity 1

1.
Read the"teaching situations" part in the handout
.
2. The Prezi will show the picture about
the roles of the course book, the teacher and the learners
in the curriculum design process.
3. Representatives from each curriculum design group will
draw one teacher's name from the bag
for their group.
4. Discuss the scenario the teacher is facing with your group members and consider the roles of the course book, the teacher and the learners in the specific curriculum design process.
- Is the book’s role stronger than the teacher’s role in this scenario?
- Is the learners’ role more important in this situation?
5.
Think about which factor or factors have bigger influence on each situation,
choose the most appropriate place to put the teacher's name among the three circles.
Stick the name on the appropriate place and explain the reason.
The Course Book, the Learners and the Teacher
In the process of the curriculum design, we should ask ourselves:

Which part should be decided by the course book?
Which part should be decided by the teacher?
Which part should be decided by the learners?

Table 11.1 lists the areas we need to consider when we decide WHO WILL PLAY WHAT ROLE in the curriculum design. Each of these areas needs to be informed by considerations of
environment, needs, and principles.


For Example...

Principle (motivation)
-> how to say "dating" in Chinese/ add "fried rice" and "dumplings" to the vocabulary list->
the learners
->
Content


Group Discussion: Depending on the teaching situation your group is facing, complete Table 11.1 to show who performs which role in your situation. Share your result with peers.
Evaluating the Evaluation Forms
5
Example?
how?
Which kind of review is better?
Reference:

Tribble, C. (2009). Writing academic English—a survey review of current published resources. ELT Journal: English Language Teachers Journal, 63(4), 400-417. doi:10.1093/elt/ccp073

When examining the adequacy of an evaluation form we can use the same criteria as we use for evaluating a test:

• Is the form
reliable
? Would different people using the same form on
the same course book reach similar conclusions?

• Is the form
valid
? Does the form cover the important features of a
course book? Is the choice of features to examine in agreement with our
current knowledge of curriculum design and second language learning?

• Is the form
practical
? Is it easy to understand? Is it easy to use? Can
it be used to evaluate a course book in a reasonably short time? Are
the results of the evaluation understandable and usable?

Evaluating the Evaluation Forms
Evaluating the Evaluation Forms
Pros and Cons
Words or topics?
Do you think the evaluation form we used ( Table 11.3) is useful and efficient?
Presenting the Result
These reviews typically combine tables, charts, and written text, the written
text serving to explain, justify, emphasize, and sum up what is presented in
the tables and the charts.
1. Choose a book for your curriculum design group.
2. Tell us which book you are going to adopt. Why?
3. What environment, needs, and principles are you going to consider in this textbook evaluation process?
4. Are you going to adapt the textbook? How?

Homework
Quiz time

Evaluation:
1. What do you think about this presentation?
2. Is there any thing we need to improve?
3. Do you have any suggestion?
Identify the relationship between the teacher and the course material in Activity 1.
1. Victoria is an inexperienced teacher. This is her first time teaching English as a foreign language in China. She found a high-quality course book, which is easy to handle.

2. Tim has been teaching Spanish for 15 years. The Ministry of education requires him to follow a certain course book. But he thinks that the sequencing of the activities in the course book should be changed.

3. Sara is convinced of using an excellent French reading book, and she is going to draw on some reading texts and reading activities in the source book depending on students’ needs.

4. Sandra is teaching Chinese for a multi-level class. She cannot find a Chinese course book that adopts Total Physical Response (TPR) and TPRS (TPR-Storytelling) as teaching methods. Based on some online teaching materials and the topics students are interested in, she is going to design some materials and activities for students.

Pros and Cons
“The evaluation of course books is more important than designing courses.”

It should be clear from this chapter that
evaluating and adapting a course book draws on the same knowledge and procedures that are used when designing a course.
It is really important to combine the knowledge we learned to evaluate and adapt course books such as considering
the environment, principles, and needs analysis.
By looking for what we want from all kinds of books, and thinking about the goals we want to reach in the adapting process, we will successfully
achieve the balance
between the course books, the learners’ and our roles in curriculum design.

Sum Up
A
B
C
D
E
General checklist for evaluating a course book
Organization
and design
Methodology
Learner's needs
Topics
Grading
Grammar items
Language development skills
Vocabulary
Discourse
Social and
cultural values
Style and
appropriateness
1. Strong reliance on the coursebook with minimal adaption.

2. Adapting a course book

3. Using source books instead of course books

4. Using computers and the Internet
Full transcript