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Coursebook essay

  1. 1. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 1 Coursebook Analysis Juan Rosales Torres Victor Gonzalez Gerardo Valdivia Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC) Author note This Course book analysis was prepared for Didactics of English, taught by Roxanna Correa.
  2. 2. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 2 Factual Details Title: Travelers Author(S): Lina Alvarado Jantus Publisher: Macmillan ISBN: 9789568623548 > Price: Provided by the Ministry of Education No. of Pages: 222 Components: SB/TB/CD Level: Intermediate. Length: 100 pedagogical hours (approximately) Units: 4 Lesson/sections: 20 Target Skills: Listening & reading 10 lessons, speaking 9 and writing 8 Target Learners: Teenagers ASSESSMENT Poor Fair Good Excellent Rating and comments Rationale X TBL and collaborativework. Availability X The book is provided by the Ministry of education,so it is easy to get as it is present in every public school. Layout/Graphics X Representative and appropriate images according to the task. Balance between text and images. Good use of colours. Selection/Grading X Congruent relation between activities . It goes from easy to harder tasks . Authenticity X 1. unit 1, p.54, dialogue 1 In this dialogue the following discourse features were identified:
  3. 3. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 3 -false starts: “so”, “well”. -hesitation: “oh” 2. unit 2, p.95, dialogue 23 in this dialogue the following discourse features were identified: - false starts: “well”, “OK” (?) - pause: this appeared like this in the dialogue “...” 3. unit 4, p.172, dialogue 47 in this dialogue the following discourse features were identified: - back channels: “oh, sure” - false start: “so” Cultural bias X Chilean oriented, but it could be categorized as eclectic because in some activities there are references to world wide festivities. Also, It has images of touristic places and provides equal reference to british and US features; it shows the different spellings of similar words from American English and British English. Stimulus/Practice/ Revision X Stimulus: The book shows a deficient type of lead-ins, as they are only
  4. 4. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 4 questions to the students. Practice: It has plenty opportunities to develop and participate in the tasks, since it goes from simple predictions to complex reading , listening, writing and speaking tasks. Revisions are quite good, the book gives the chance to check answers in every task . Flexibility X You can teach a unit ignoring another one. C- Activities Do the materials a chosen unit provide a balance of activities that is appropriate for your students? Yes No Lesson Select Reject Adapt Extra Material Holidays and 1 Celebrations(3 classes) 7. This item was 3. we would change 2 rejected because it the 6 is sort of boring. It instead 9 is also confusing students work with because instructions. of the the a partner, we would instructions say that create two groups some slots will so that the students remain empty and compete. The idea
  5. 5. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 5 others do not. is that each group usually, most of the have people that students will intend represent them, and to fill all the slots. these people have to go to the board 5. it is a useless and write as many activity since they cognates did something possible similar in as in a item specific amount of number four. time. 4. we would change 11-12. These two the activities instructions. were instead of telling rejected for three the students to reasons. First, in simply guess the this lesson has nine celebrations, we items already, so would tell them to with two more identify and write items it would be down the too much for the celebrations students. they Second, listened have in they the no recording. connection with the topic, so they are 8. The useless. And third, would students not only since students have listen and identify to ask for the incorrect information to their information in the classmates. sentences, but also they will write the
  6. 6. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 6 correct information. 10. Teacher will read the numbers aloud, instead of playing the recording, and students will repeat after him in order to practice pronunciation. TwoChileancelebrations(3 3. classes) 2. As it is another 1. Instead of 5. lead-in activity we reading aloud the 6. will 7. number one. keep only text that refers to the 8. images, we would only present 9. 12. It is a redundant the 10. activity, 11. we images because they‟ll have and to already have predict where the information about celebrations are celebrations in the from. previous activity. 4. 14. We have which Instead already students looking up activities the words in the are better dictionary, than just listen and teacher repeat. of the them the provides meaning of on the 15. The activity is whiteboard.
  7. 7. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 7 too mechanical and simple. It basic as 6. Instead of only the previous one. thinking about the answers they have to write down the answers. 13. Different students will read each paragraph of the text aloud, instead of 1 student reading. Three “Top of the Pops”(3 2. classes) 1. We prefer to 8 and 9. They will 3. consider activity be added to number 6. number 2 as it is 7 in order to do a 7. more complete as a complete activity. 10. brainstorming 13. activity. 11. The question 14. for the interview 4. It does not have will be given. coherent with previous activities. 5. lt needs activity number to be done. 12. The activity is boring and a waste of time, it is only
  8. 8. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 8 focused on details. 15. It only refers to memorization. Four “Myth and 1. Legends”(3 classes) 2. Repetition 3. activity 4. of 7. Students find the number partner but without one. providing 5. the correct order of the 6. 10. Too simple and events. 9. irrelevant, what a 10. myth and legends 8. Teach the past are should be simple explained before. test, and then do the activity. 12. Students may feel embarrassed acting out in front of the class. Five “Chile’s National 2. Dance”(3 classes) 1. The instructions 4. not Instead of clear answering Kelly‟s 3. are 5. enough. We prefer questions, they just 6. to 7. number 10. warm up activity. use activity answer what they 2 as a know about Cueca. 13. 8. Teacher models 9. It requires the the language. same information as the 10th activity. 12. compare Students and
  9. 9. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 9 11. It is irrelevant, exchange it is repetition only a information. of previous activities. 14. The activity is not related to the main topic of the lesson.
  10. 10. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 10 Dialogues 1. Unit 1, p.54, dialogue 1 In this dialogue the following discourse features were identified: -False starts: “so”, “well”. -hesitation: “oh” So, tell me Mike, what is your favorite celebration? Well, my favorite celebration is Halloween. Why Halloween? „Cause we wear costumes and go trick-or-treating; I love playing tricks! It's wicked!And you, Ana? I like all the celebrations in Brazil, but my favorite one is Carnival. What do you like about Carnival? I love the parades, dancing samba and playing with water in the street all night long! I never miss this celebration! Do you have a favorite celebration, Elizabeth? Oh, yes! Christmas is my favorite. It is the day when families get together for big parties. And what do you like most about it? I love the food, the tree, and of course, receiving presents! Francisco, can you tell us about your country? The most important celebration in my country is Independence Day. It's great that we have two days off, 18 and 19th September. And what do you do in those days? People usually go to the „fondas‟ to listen to national music and eat traditional food. Children often fly kites this time of the year. Sometimes it rains, but we love this holiday anyway Lexical Density: 71.4%
  11. 11. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 2. Unit 2, p.95, dialogue 23 In this dialogue the following discourse features were identified: - False starts: “well”, “OK” (?) - Pause: this appeared like this in the dialogue “...” This is WPST 97.5, HELP FOR YOU! You've got questions? We've got answers! Hello! What's your name? Hi, I'm Kevin. How are you, Kevin? What's the matter with you? Well…I really don't like drugs, but two of my friends do, and they want me to try them. How old are you? I'm fourteen. OK, Kevin. Do you want to stay healthy? Then stay away from drugs. How can I do that? You must avoid situations of risk or you can get rid of those friends. What? It is simple, Kevin! One of the most important things you can choose is your friends. You should keep your principles and just say NO! Thank you for calling, Kevin. Thank you! Good afternoon, who's calling? Hello, my name's Lily. Have you got a problem? Well, sort of. I don't know what to do or say when someone offers me drugs. Well, it's easy. Say “no, thanks”. This technique is fundamental, but you can also change the conversation or talk and talk and talk about anything else! Sometimes I get very nervous Lexical Density: 86.4% 11
  12. 12. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 3. Unit 4, p.172, dialogue 47 In this dialogue the following discourse features were identified: - Back channels: “oh, sure” - False start: “so” Your name is Daniel Radcliffe, but have you got a nickname? Oh! Sure! Everybody calls me Dan. O.K. Dan. When were you born? I was born on the 23rd of July, 1989. So, your star sign is Leo. Where were you born? In London. Have you got any brothers or sisters? No, I‟m an only child. What about your everyday life? Have you got a pet? Two dogs - Binka and Nugget. What do you like doing in your free time? I love PlayStation and football - I support Fulham Football Club. What would you do with magic powers? I would like to be invisible! And you, Emma, have you got a nickname? Yes, my nickname is Em. When and where were you born? I was born on April the 15th, 1990, in Oxford. My star sign is Aries. What can you tell us about your family? I live with my mother and with my younger brother Alex. Sarah: Do you like animals? Yes! I love cats – I‟ve got two: Bubbles and Domino What are your favorite pastimes? I love playing hockey. What would you do with magic powers? I would... I would act with Brad Pitt in Harry Potter! It would be great! Lexical Density:85.7% 12
  13. 13. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 13 Discoursefeature Textbook data Authentic data Lexical density 81.2% 48% False starts 5 6.5 Pauses 1 6.1 Hesitationdevices 1 54.3 1 30.2 Back-channels
  14. 14. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS Analysis of lessons based on the Communicative Methodological Framework (Littlewood,1981:86). Unit 1, lesson 1 Items 1. Quasi-communicative: because students only have to indicate the names of the celebrations and the ones they celebrate. 2. Quasi-communicative: because students only have to match they do not have to produce neither written nor oral speech. 3.Social interaction: because students have to work in pair, discuss and make lists about the topic. 4. Functional communication: because they have to listen to specific information, then express that in their words. 5. Functional communication: because they have to listen to specific information, then express that in their words. 6. Quasi-communicative: They do not have to produce language, but they have to show understanding of the recording by matching the pictures. 7. Quasi-communicative: because they have to look for specific information and the use of language is limited. 8. Quasi-communicative: because they just have to identify for specific mistakes in the sentences, but they do not have to produce language. 9. Quasi-communicative/Functional communication: because some sentences must be completed using specific information, however can be completed using what students believe is correct. 10. Quasi-communicative: Students only have to listen to and repeat after the recording. 11. Social interaction/Quasi-communicative:It is a Quasi-communicative because they have to replace the underlined parts with information that is given. It is also a social activity because they have to roleplay with the dialogue 12. Social interaction: Because they have to choose the celebration and work with their classmates. 14
  15. 15. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS Unit 2, lesson 1 1. Functional communication: the students have to indicate whatever they believe is correct and they do not have restrictions. 2. Quasi-communicative: Students only have to choose according to what they think it helps them to be fit. 3. Quasi-communicative: because they have to answer using only “yes or no” with given answers. 4. Functional: because students are free to choose the words they know and categorize them in the way they wish to do it. 5. Quasi-communicative: they only have to choose an option. 6. Quasi-communicative: they only have to check if their prediction was correct. 7. Quasi-communicative: Students have to answer the questions by selecting given alternatives 8. Social interaction: Students have to discuss and reflect with their partner about the topic 9. Social interaction/Quasi-communicative: it social because students have to discuss and do group work and is quasi because they have to talk about the questionnaire following a given pattern 10. Quasi-communicative: Students have to complete using two given options 11. Quasi-communicative: because they have to ask questions to their classmates that were already given in the previous activity and also complete a paragraph using specific information 12. Quasi-communicative: Students have to listen and repeat only. 13.Quasi-communicative/Social interaction: Quasi becausestudents have to complete the dialogue with specific given information and it is social because they have to role play it with a partner. 14. Quasi-communicative: Students have to identify words in a Wordsearch puzzle. Unit 1, lesson 4 1. Functional communication: Students can answer the questions in the way they want 2. Functional communication: Students do not have limited options to answer, so they can do it in the way they want. 15
  16. 16. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 3. Quasi-communicative: Students only have to match 4. Quasi-communicative: because they have to look for the cognates in the text, but it functional because they have to predict what the text is about. 5.Quasi-communicative: students only have to use the evidence in the text to support their ideas. 6. Quasi-communicative: Students have to complete the diagram using specific information 7. Quasi-communicative: students only have to reorganize the tiles and then write the correct sentences according with the tiles. 8. Quasi-communicative: Students have to fill the blanks using specific information 9. Quasi-communicative: Students only have to listen and repeat 10. Quasi-communicative: Students have to follow the path to find the meaning of myth and legends. 11. Quasi-communicative/Social interaction: quasi because students have to complete the dialogue with specific word and social because they have to role play it with a partner. 12. Social interaction: Because they have to role play the dialogue and act it out in front of the classroom. 16
  17. 17. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 17 Interview essay Margarita Barra is an Elementary Pedagogy teacher with mention in English. She is a graduated from the UCSC, and is currently teaching History and English at “ColegioBasicoHuachipato, Talcahuano”. This essay is a review of an interview which aim was to identify what the school teacher thought about course books, expressing what parts of the course book she frequently used and what extra things a course book should have. Margarita uses course books in History and English classes because she thinks that course books are useful and have interesting topics to cover throughout the units. Also, Margarita suggests that they are not difficult to understand for students. In addition, Margarita argued that she cannot choose the course books, since they are given by the Ministry of Education. Thus, she has two options: to plan the classes according to the given book, or bring extra material. It is necessary to mention that Margarita did not clarify if she could use other types of books. On one hand, Margarita explained that she frequently uses reading activities, as they are appropriate for students and they contain vocabulary that is easy to be understood. Also, she stated that a big problem in her class is that students do not bring the course book. On the other hand, the school teacher does not use listening activities from the course book because they are too difficult for students.She explained they have a basic level of English, so is difficult for them to comprehend listening activities. Moreover, Margarita stated that she used worksheets for grammar created by herself since the ones in the course book were too difficult for students. It was said by Margarita that the course book should have more games to be photocopied to teach
  18. 18. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS grammar, and needed to be more didactic. Finally, Margarita affirmed that the course book has good material, but it should have more. To conclude, the school teacher seemed to prefer using the course book. The main reason is because they are useful at some point in her lessons, and because they are given by the Ministry of Education. Secondly, according to her, course bookare appropriate for student in order to make reading activities. However, in the case of listening activities she did not use them frequently. In addition, Margarita stated that course books are a tool useful to teach, but apart from that, they should have more games and printable or photocopiable material as well. 18
  19. 19. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 19 Course Book Essay The course book analyzed for this assignment was the Travelers course book for teachers, and it corresponds to eight graders. The objective of this essay was to analyze the parts of the course book that are related to the developing of the topics for the teacher to present. It was also necessary to answer the following questions:are the topics appropriate for the students?Canthe students work appropriately with those topics? Are they well balanced according to gender, equality, the relation and reference of ethnics groups?, anddo the topics are vary in content?. Finally, an analysis of skills will be shown, where it will be mentioned whether the textbook attends the four skills equally or not and if each skill is well organized in order to provide the best approach possible to teach it and have the expected results from the students. The Travelers textbook has a name that probably can indicate to the readerits contents. In fact when the book was analyzed, it can be noticed that it fulfillsthe readers‟ expectations about the topics that it had. The textbook had a wide variety of topics to be taught. If go along the book in unit one, students will find topics about famous special celebrations such as Halloween, Christmas, valentine's day, etc. There are also activities that permit to work with the topics like music, myth and legends, etc. The same happens with the rest of the units that deal with self-care, famous people and places, the different life styles that exist around the world, etc. Moreover, and especially in unit two, the topic of bullying is treated. Thus, this expresses that the textbook have a commitment with the students in the sense that provides them activities and topics that will be interesting for them because can be contextualized. Consequently, the teacher's labor is vital in this area
  20. 20. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS because since the topics are familiar to the students, they need to be well covered in order to develop and expand the vision of world that learners have. If a quick look is taken over the whole units and the entire book, it can be noticed that have very important and up-dated topics, one example in the bullying topic. The whole textbook tried to get the students quite engage at the beginning of each unit, as Brown (2007) indicated, warm-up activities must be motivating and relaxing and not focus on target language. That is what the book provided; warm-up activitiesthat are motivating and relate the activity to what the students already know or have lived in their own lives. Even though the language used is quite clear and simple for the students, for instance it turned to be complicated for them. Sometimes, the language doubts that students could have are related to details, specific words that they will need to look up in a dictionary. However, the book always presented a glossary with certain words that could be difficult to understand. The aim when presenting a glossary is to make the activities or the path throughout the book smoothly and not so complicated, thus students do not get trapped looking for the definition of a word. When it came to the equality of topics and the relation of women and men and ethnic groups, the textbook is well organized as it covers many of these aspects. For example, in every unit there is a "friend" that makes the learners questions about certain activities. This friend is a girl in the first part of the book and in the other part is a boy. In addition, the book made a good labor by permitting the students to know about cultural realities around the world. The last two unitswere related to places and "different lives" where learners can know, learn and practice English through activities that will make them 20
  21. 21. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS acquire knowledge about cultures from Africa, Asia, North America, and about religious behaviors, etc. The textbook provided a very good balance in terms of skills. It attended the writing, speaking, listening and reading skills with similar amount of task in every unit. There were at least two activities per skill to be covered in a normal lesson. Within the unit, the text provided the teacher's part where he/she can take some ideas to cover the lesson. Yet, Brown (2007) stated that the teacher do not have to just choose the workbook and use it, you have to find a creative way to pick those pieces of advice and modify them to provide a creative use of the workbook. Moreover, at the end of every lesson there was a group activity that tended to integrate the skills practiced. Littlewood (1981) presented the social communicative activities where students exchange answers, experiences or the activities are in groups. According to what the author provided, the book made a group activity where students have to listen to the peer's answers, take notes about it and explain what they have written. Along the entire workbook, the reading aspect is well covered as it is provided by many readings with a suitable amount of words and paragraphs. In addition, the topics of certain readings are familiar to the students as there are love letters, readings about festivals, famous people, etc. As for the listening skill, the book has a CD with all the recordings that could be used. In our analysis about the dialogues and following Gilmore's discourse features (2004), we found that they are not authentic because their lexical density is higher than real data and they do not have enough discourse features in them. However, in the speaking aspect, the course book provided good and entertaining dialogues to be read, because they are related to real life topics, thus students feel that they would be useful 21
  22. 22. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS for them in a real context apart from the classroom.Brown (2004) proposed the adaptation of speaking activities and the teacher must check if the activity or the lesson is appropriately geared for the students. Finally the writing activities go from fill in the blanks to the creation of a piece of writing about the corresponding topic. These activities do not go from scratch, they start from reviewing the content and certain words and then students start writing the final product. 22
  23. 23. COURSEBOOK ANALYSIS 23 References Brown, H. D. (2007). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Pearson Education. Gilmore, A. (2004). A comparison of textbook and authentic interactions. ELT journal, 58(4), 363–374. Littlewood, W. (1981). Communicative Language Teaching: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. McGrath, I. (2002). Materials evaluation and design for language teaching.