SELECTING AND ADAPTING COURSEBOOKS

by Willy C. Cardoso
http://authenticteaching.wordpress.com http://superteachersp.wordpress.com http://twitter.com/willycard

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WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN SELECTING A COURSEBOOK?

Language is functional and must be contextualized Language development requires learner engagement in purposeful use of language

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The language used should be realistic and authentic Classroom materials will usually seek to include an audio visual component

Learners need to develop the ability to deal with written as well as spoken genres Materials need to be flexible enough to cater to individual and contextual differences

Effective teaching materials foster learner autonomy Learning needs to engage learners both affectively and cognitively

Corpus-informed coursebooks
A corpus is a large collection of samples of a language held on a computer. The samples can come from anywhere the language is used in speech and in writing. A corpus helps us to understand more about the language and see how people use it when they speak and when they write.

READ MORE http://www.cambridge.org/elt/corpus/what_can_corpus_do.htm

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
Developed through a process of scientific research and wide consultation, this document provides a practical tool for setting clear standards to be attained at successive stages of learning and for evaluating outcomes in an internationally comparable manner.

READ MORE http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/Linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp

SIX TYPES OF SYLLABI

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Structural Syllabus
Notional/Functional Syllabus Situational Syllabus Skill-based Syllabus Task-based Syllabus

Content-based Syllabus

SIX TYPES OF SYLLABI

Structural Syllabus

The content of language teaching is a collection of the forms and structures, usually grammatical, of the language being taught.

Notional/Functional Syllabus

The content of the language teaching is a collection of the functions that are performed when language is used, or of the notions that language is used to express. Examples of functions include: informing, agreeing, apologizing, requesting; examples of notions include size, age, color, comparison, time, and so on.

Situational Syllabus

The content of language teaching is a collection of real or imaginary situations in which language occurs or is used. A situation usually involves several participants who are engaged in some activity in a specific setting. Examples of situations include: seeing the dentist, complaining to the landlord, buying a book at the book store, meeting a new student, and so on.

SIX TYPES OF SYLLABI

Skill-based Syllabus

The content of the language teaching is a collection of specific abilities that may play a part in using language. Skills are things that people must be able to do to be competent in a language, relatively independently of the situation or setting in which the language use can occur. Skill-based syllabi group linguistic competencies (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse) together into generalized types of behavior, such as listening to spoken language for the main idea, writing well-formed paragraphs, giving effective oral presentations, and so on.

Task-based Syllabus

The content of the teaching is a series of complex and purposeful tasks that the students want or need to perform with the language they are learning. Language learning is subordinate to task performance, and language teaching occurs only as the need arises during the performance of a given task. The students draw on a variety of language forms, functions, and skills, often in an individual and unpredictable way, in completing the tasks. Examples include: applying for a job, talking with a social worker, getting housing information over the telephone, and so on.

SIX TYPES OF SYLLABI

Content-based Syllabus

The primary purpose of instruction is to teach some content or information using the language that the students are also learning. The students are simultaneously language students and students of whatever content is being taught. The subject matter is primary, and language learning occurs incidentally to the content learning. An example of contentbased language teaching is a science class taught in the language the students need or want to learn, possibly with linguistic adjustment to make the science more comprehensible.

Presentation

Practice

Production

Standard coursebook approach = little opportunity for authentic language use

Presentation

Practice

Production

Practice

Suggested ratio between the 3 P’s
Presentation Production

Presentation
Break long language explanations to smaller pieces, and repeat the cycle as needed, it makes the lesson more dynamic, and students have more opportunities to use the language themselves. You don’t always need to start with Presentation.

Practice

Production

Alternative approach to PPP

Task

• Production (diagnosis) • Controlled Practice (if necessary)

Teach

• Meaning (as needed) • Pronunciation (as needed) • Form (as needed)
• Controlled Practice (focus on accuracy / if necessary) • Production (focus on fluency)

Task

VIDEO ACTIVITY
The grammar activity to practice the 3rd conditional, using the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, can be found on:
http://moviesegmentstoassessgrammargoals.blogspot.com

Keep in touch!
http://authenticteaching.wordpress.com http://superteachersp.wordpress.com http://twitter.com/willycard

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