Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Evaluation of "English Textbook 2" Taught in Iranian High Schools from Teachers' Perspectives

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Evaluation of "English Textbook 2" Taught in Iranian High Schools from Teachers' Perspectives

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study was to investigate the appropriateness of "English Textbook 2" for Iranian EFL second grade high school students from the teachers' perspectives. The participants of the study consisted of 25 English teachers (8 females and 17 males) randomly selected from different high schools in Boukan, Iran. The evaluation of the textbook was conducted quantitatively through an adapted checklist developed by Litz (2005). The checklist was a 5-point Likert scale and three criteria including subject and content, activities, and skills out of seven criteria in Litz's checklist were selected for this study. The results of the study revealed that teachers' perceptions about these criteria were not favorable in general. The results of this study can be helpful for teachers to use appropriate teaching techniques to compensate for the deficiencies of the textbook and the materials developers and syllabus and curriculum designers in Ministry of Education and other pedagogical experts to revise the current textbook or adopt a new textbook instead.

Keywords: EFL, English textbook, evaluation, high school, Iranian, teachers, student

1. Introduction

In order to evaluate a textbook in a correct and systematic way, it is necessary to define it although the term "textbook" is neither precise nor stable. Tomlinson (2011a) defines a textbook as a book "which provides the core materials for a language-learning course" (p. xi) in which a variety of issues are covered considering the learning requirements of the students within a course period. Generally, such a book consists of activities related to four skills, grammatical and lexical information, and various language functions.

Textbooks play a very crucial role in English as a foreign or as a second language (EFL/ESL) classroom. Sheldon (1988, p. 237) suggests that textbooks not only "represent the visible heart of any ELT program" but also offer considerable advantages-for both the student and the teacher-when they are being used in the ESL/EFL classroom. Nunan (1999, p. 98) states that "a textbook is the main component of any instructional program and it is difficult to imagine a class without it". According to Ahour and Ahmadi (2012), textbooks easily provide the knowledge to the learners. Therefore, in order to select a culturally and locally appropriate textbook that corresponds to the needs of the learners and teaching/learning requirements, the textbook evaluation is required.

There are different definitions of evaluation. Hutchinson and Waters (1993, p. 96) define evaluation as a "matter of judging the fitness of something for a particular purpose". For Dudley-Evans and St John (2005, p. 128), "evaluation is a whole process which begins with determining what information to gather and ends with bringing about change in current activities or influencing future ones".

In this regard, textbooks as instructional materials require evaluation. According to McDonough and Shaw (2003, p. 60), the evaluation of textbooks deserves serious consideration because "an inappropriate choice may waste time and funds and this may have a demotivating effect on both students and other teachers". Hutchinson and Waters (1993, p. 97) believe that textbook evaluation is basically a straightforward, analytical "matching process: matching needs to available solutions".

Considering the importance of evaluation, we can say that the textbook evaluation is a requisite to qualifying the content of the textbooks and homogenizing it with the teaching/learning requirement in EFL/ESL settings. In this case, one of the researchers of this study who has 14 years of teaching experience in different high schools in Boukan, Iran, has noticed that most students encounter immense English language problems after graduating from high schools. For instance, they are not able to use English for communicative purposes appropriately. One might ask where these problems may arise from. …

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