How textbooks work
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How textbooks work. From ‘ dogme ’ to ‘ pragme ’ Simon Greenall International House Trust IH Directors of Studies Conference January 2013. How textbooks work. Textbooks, criticisms and survival ELT’s life-changing responsibilities Complex problems and complex solutions

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How textbooks work

How textbooks work

From ‘dogme’ to ‘pragme’

Simon Greenall

International House Trust

IH Directors of Studies Conference January 2013


How textbooks work1

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

ELTNEWS: You never thought of writing a coursebook?

Mario: Financially… of course. But never seriously. I firmly believe that what happens in my classes arises from the meeting between the students and me and the students and each other. How, rationally, can any outside person map this meeting out in advance? Suppose you go to have dinner with a few friends, do you all arrive with a pre-arranged conversation script? A coursebook is as daft and off-course as that. Feeling this, how could I contemplate writing one?


How textbooks work

Mario Rinvolucri “Ambition, rage, jealousy, betrayal, destiny, greed, fear and the other Shakespearean themes are far from the soft, fudgey sub-journalistic, woman’s magaziney world of EFLese course materials.”

The UK, EFLese Sub-Culture and Dialect on TEFL Farm, 1999


How textbooks work2

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

Target culture

Sample culture


How textbooks work

… multipolarization

economic globalization

informatization.


How textbooks work

… the principal tool to enhance international communication as well as scientific and cultural exchanges

… conducive to laying a solid foundation for improving the overall qualities of our people

… cultivating talent with innovative and cross-cultural capabilities

… enhancing international competitiveness of China and communication skills of its people


How textbooks work

… helps them better understand the world

… acquire advanced scientific and cultural knowledge

… spread Chinese culture

… enhance mutual understanding and communication

… more opportunities for education and career development


How textbooks work

… cultivate the character of openness and tolerance

… develop an awareness and capability for cross-cultural communication

… promote the development of thinking

… form correct life outlooks, values and high character attainment


How textbooks work

… an increasingly interdependent community of nations…

… internationalism is the hallmark of modern education

… linguistic and cultural diversity are the hallmarks of internationalism


How textbooks work

… more active thinkers

… an economic-reproductive function

… an ideological function

… increasing the language resources available as Palestine competes in the global economy


How textbooks work3

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

course design

multi -syllabus course design

organizing or principle syllabuses

topics

lexis

grammar

functions.


How textbooks work

supplementary syllabuses

reading

writing

speaking

listening

learning strategies

socio-cultural competence


How textbooks work

grammar syllabus

natural order of grammar


How textbooks work

methodology or an approach

communicative

classroom interaction

pairwork

information gap

content-rich material

learner-centred teaching and learning

prescriptive or descriptive approaches


How textbooks work

Where do the words we teach come from?


How textbooks work

meaning

contextualisation

integration

communicative activity sequences


How textbooks work

layout and design

white space

visuals

cosmetic artwork/photos

functional artwork/photos

typeface

point size


How textbooks work

yield


How textbooks work

Rubrics

consistency

brevity

clarity

1 Underline the true sentences.

2 Correct the false sentences.

OR

1 Underline the true sentences. Now correct the false sentences.


How textbooks work

teaching to an exam syllabus

exam-oriented

exam-specific


How textbooks work

Content


How textbooks work

Criteria for choosing a text

A text should one or more of the following criteria:

interest

entertainment

new information

cross-cultural relevance

Relevance to the learner’s personal experience


How textbooks work

suitable lexical density

suitable structural density

attractive layout

suitable length

relevance to the hidden curriculum

suitable for exploitation (communicative activity sequences)


How textbooks work

book plan

teaching units or textbook lessons

review units

prelims

endmatter

textbook lesson or classroom lesson


How textbooks work4

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

‘Accepting and reinforcing this state of psychological affairs (the disempowerment of the non-native speaker teacher) is a handy way for publishers to ensure that the standardised native speaker versions of English remain the status quo. … It’s called protecting your profit margin.’

Luke Meddings, The Guardian, 2004


How textbooks work

‘Coursebook writers are the arms dealers of the

ELT profession’

#ELTchat 2011


How textbooks work

The P&L

  • The total number of copies forecast to sell annually

  • The revenue from each item for sale

  • The number of years the publisher considers the product will stay in the market.

    Sue Jones, former Publishing Director, Macmillan Education


How textbooks work

The future of coursebooks – digital publishing?

Editing

Breadth of appeal

Funding

Online access


How textbooks work

‘Do you really think you would have written what you’ve written if you hadn’t been obliged to do so by your publishers?’

Anon, Dogme yahoo list 2011


How textbooks work5

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

  • 1.5 billion learners of English worldwide

  • 11.5 million teachers of English in PES and PLS

  • 90% are non-native teachers

  • Approximately 200,000 in the PLS

  • Approximately 100, 000 are CELTA/DELTA trained

  • So 1.3 million in the PES


How textbooks work6

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

‘Coursebooks don't just dominate the teachers' lives, they dominate the students' lives too’

Chiasuan Chong


How textbooks work

‘ … the reason that coursebooks are so often in the line of fire is that they DO to a large extent dominate and determine so many aspects of a teacher's day-to-day professional life. They (more often as not) instantiate the curriculum, provide the texts, and - to a large extent - guide the methodology.’

Scott Thornbury An A-Z of ELT blog


How textbooks work

Due to a lack of training and support, as well as uncertainty about their own English language skills, coupled with learner and other stakeholder expectations about the role of the teacher, ‘many teachers feel insecure and disempowered.’ For teachers such as these, the courseboook is their lifeline. To suggest that they should abandon coursebooks and engage with the language that emerges from the socializing and communicative needs of the ‘The people in the room’ is simply disingenuous.

Scott Thornbury (ibid)


How textbooks work7

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


The pragme doctrine

The ‘pragme doctrine’

  • Teachers need our help. They don’t need to feel disempowered or downgraded by the devices they use to help them: eg technology

  • Teachers need to adapt to learners’ needs – a mark of good teaching

  • Teaching for exams or a formal curriculum is a reality for many teachers, it’s not teaching in inferior circumstances.

  • Teachers need approaches and methodologies appropriate to their cultural contexts


The pragme doctrine cont

The ‘pragme doctrine’ (cont)

  • Teachers don’t always teach in ideal circumstances

  • Teachers need to be encouraged to use their own instinct, training and emotional sensitivity and intelligence to provide an honest response to their students needs, by whatever means they use.

  • Common sense and basic good instinct need to prevail.

  • Dogmatic principles need to yield to pragmatic awareness of the huge variation in teaching circumstances. We cannot afford to give them anything but the very best and most complete facilities and training.


How textbooks work8

How textbooks work

Textbooks, criticisms and survival

ELT’s life-changing responsibilities

Complex problems and complex solutions

Publishing and profits

Textbooks and good teachers

Sharing failure, reforming for success

Creative compromise and pragmatic response


How textbooks work

[email protected]

@simongreenall


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