Academic journal article English Language Teaching

An Evaluation of Merits and Demerits of Iranian First Year High School English Textbook

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

An Evaluation of Merits and Demerits of Iranian First Year High School English Textbook

Article excerpt

Abstract

Despite the effects of new technologies, textbooks will certainly continue to play an important role in the process of language teaching and learning. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the English textbook which is taught in Iranian first grade high schools. For this purpose, the weaknesses and strengths of the English textbook are explained using 13 criteria which have been drawn on various checklists. The study was carried out at four schools of Tabriz, Iran. The data were obtained from a total of 126 language students, both female and male. It was collected through a questionnaire with 34 close-ended questions which were related to the seven sections of the book including the layout or physical make-up, vocabulary, topics and content, grammar points and exercises, language skills, pronunciation practice, language function, and social and cultural activities. Quantitative data were analyzed via SPSS. Meanwhile, qualitative data which were obtained through interviews with teachers and students were analyzed interpretatively. The results show that this book cannot meet the Iranian students' and teachers' needs and wants. It can be concluded that the English book 1 is grammar-based. So, the writers of the book had better modify it by employing more communicative tasks in order to motivation both teachers and students.

Keywords: textbook, criteria, evaluation, form, content

1. Introduction

Today, most of the people in the world use English as a foreign or a second language. Many of them acquire English language with the intention of being successful in education, improving their knowledge, and developing their skills, for their progress in this field depends on their ability to communicate in English. To this end, one of the abilities which has been emphasized is the ability to read and comprehend the foreign language. For this reason, in Iran, the main focus has been on the development of the reading comprehension ability. Furthermore, careful examination of Iran and other developing countries' educational system shows the great value of books and other written materials. In order to make the educational programs more successful, teachers must make judgment regarding the suitability of textbooks for their students' needs and wants. Therefore, making assessment is an individual way of obtaining the necessary information. This assessment should demonstrate the quality of a textbook and aid learners to acquire particular thoughts and skills and succeed in the required objectives. As Rea-Dickens and Germaine (1992) state, evaluation is a new idea which is continuously changing in order to try to find out the effectiveness of the available activities. This study gives students and teachers some hints about language teaching and learning. And the result of the current study might be worthwhile for students, teachers, and those who are, directly or indirectly, involved in the process of material development.

2. Review of Literature

Textbooks are helpful and useful means to students in the classroom. Students can use textbooks as organized resources to review and reinforce their learning. The structure of a textbook, which can generally include table of contents, chapter headings and subheadings, illustrations, and definitions help students become actively engaged in the learning process. High quality photographs and other visuals encourage students to spend time reading a textbook. If teachers do not use a textbook, they often rely on outside materials which may not be appropriate for certain ages or grade levels and which may contain complicated phrases or words.

In Iranian context, as an EFL teaching situation, sometimes it is stressed that a textbook is a reference with complete series of materials and activities from which the most suitable or useful issues can be selected. Regarding this aspect of a textbook, as a reference, McGrath (2006, p. 174) believes that "A textbook is like oil in cooking - a useful base ingredient. …

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