As we all know, in the field of ESL/EFL, there exists a multitude of debatable topics and ideas.Therefore, it would come as no surprise that when discussing the choice and use of course textbooks, many schools of thought arise. Every teacher of a foreign language finds himself/herself in a unique situation. Factors that affect these circumstances include: group size, student background, access to resources, student interests/reasons for learning and disparaging levels of knowledge. Theseare just a few of the many aspects that teachers need to take into consideration when organizing a program for a select group of students. Part of the decision process is whether or not the teacher will use a course textbook. Some teachers choose not to use a textbook and instead create their own materials which would seem to allow for the designing of classes that better caster to the uniqueness wetalked about earlier. On the other hand, foreign language teachers everywhere fervently rely on the use of a class textbook which may give them the framework and guidance that they feel is necessary in order to carry out their proposed objectives. In this circumstance, it would behoove the teacher to select the best textbook for their group of students. Various aspects of the textbook need to betaken into consideration and fortunately guidelines and frameworks exist to facilitate the teacher in this process. In this essay I will be evaluating a textbook called Side by Side by Steven J. Molinsky and Bill Bliss. Since I have used this textbook in the past, I will attempt to decipher if the textbook covers some of the most important criteria that Penny Ur points out in her book “A Course inLanguage Teaching” (1996). I will also look at whether some important aspects are missing and finally give my opinion as to whether or not I think this textbook is a good choice for the language classroom. This essay will be presented with the following sections.
* Textbook evaluation
In order to evaluate this textbook, I’m goingto rely on Ur’s criteria for course book assessment. I will briefly examine the criteria and then discuss these results in the following section. This is Side by Side book 1.
Objectives explicitly laid out in an introduction, and implemented in the material: This book is unusual as there is no introduction and no message to the students or teachers as far as methodology or objectives.
Clear,attractive layout; print easy to read: This is one of the positives of this book. It contains a very clear, easy to read layout. I think it is well received by the students, as it doesn’t overwhelm them with too much information or too many different types of activities.
Appropriate visual material available: Picture cards and video are available although I have never seen them.
Interestingtopics and tasks: I think at the beginning level, it is difficult to create really interesting topics due to the limited availability of language. Although the topics and tasks here aren’t the most genuine or interesting I’ve seen, I think they are appropriate for both young learners and adults (in the beginning level) who should be able to follow and understand them.
Varied topics and tasks,so as to provide for different learner levels, learning styles, interests, etc.: The format for this textbook is very simple and easy to follow. It provides for a sufficient amount of topics and varied tasks which should provide for different learner levels and learning styles. Many communicative activities can be created or added to supplement the existing activities. Students with different...