Teachers' Opinions on the Evaluation of ELT Teachers' Books

By Kim, Haedong | English Language Teaching, March 2015 | Go to article overview

Teachers' Opinions on the Evaluation of ELT Teachers' Books


Kim, Haedong, English Language Teaching


Abstract

The aim of this study is to identify differences in opinions on the evaluation of ELT teachers' books between pre-service and in-service teachers. In literature, it has been argued that the development of teachers' books for EFL teachers can be assisted by the results of a needs analysis. A total of 65 pre-service and 50 in-servicesecondary school teachers from South Korea took part in a survey. There was a high level of agreement for the 22 criteria-items that asked for the evaluative opinions between two groupsas shown through the correlation.85. However, there were statistically different opinions. The pre-service teachers stressed the importance of clear objectives for each lesson, but the in-service teachers emphasized the need for the inclusion of process tests in teachers' books. Interestingly, there were also different opinions on the use of a teacher's book. The results from semi-structured interviews revealed that the former plan to use the teacher's book for their classroom teaching in the future whereas the latter responded that their own notes would be somewhat more useful than teachers' books. To conclude, it can be proposed that greater emphasis should be placed on gauging preferences of certain groups of teachers in specific EFL contexts for the development of teachers' books.

Keywords: teachers' books, teachers' opinions, textbook, materials evaluation, materials development, teaching experience

1. Introduction

In order to evaluate or develop ELT materials for a specific context, it is necessary to identify target users' opinions (Cunningsworth, 1995; Rubdy, 2003; Tomlinson, 2003). Among the target users, along with learners, teachers are the main users of the materials (Breen & Candlin, 1987). Teachers' opinions may influence their own selection of and their classroom use of materials (Crawford, 2002). Therefore, it is, in essence, crucial for materials evaluators or developers to clarifyteachers' preferences on the aspects of materials. Following the theoretical proposals, this study intends to clarify teachers' opinions on criteria for ELT materials evaluation. To be specific, this study focuses on teachers' books and investigates the differences of opinions on them between pre-service and in-servicesecondary school teachers in South Korea.

The value of this study can be supported by the relevance of informationfor teachers in similar ELT contexts and the usefulness of findings for the developers of teachers' books. Wright (1990) states that teachers'opinions in a certain context should be worthy information for teachers in a similar context. Roberts (1996) mentions that "it would be interesting to know whether an "evaluative consensus" exists" in a certain ELT context-and "it would be informative to compare notes" (p. 386, emphasis by himself) with other contexts. Tomlinson (2003) indicates that materials developers should utilize the findings about teachers' preferences on materials. Tomlinson and Masuhara (2010) claimsthat the literature on materials development in recent years has presented scholarship and theory but not much empirical investigation. In these aspects, the need for the empirical investigation on teachers' opinions on teachers' books is justified.

The research questions set up for this study are as follows: 1) What are teachers' opinions on materials evaluation criteria for secondary school ELT teachers' books? And 2) Are there any differences in teachers' opinions on materials evaluation criteriabetween pre-service and in-service secondary school teachers?

2. Literature Review

2.1 Teachers' Opinions

According to Longmandictionary of contemporary English (2005), the term 'opinions' means 'ideas or beliefs about a particular subject'. Therefore, the term 'teachers'opinions' can be equated with 'teachers'beliefs or ideas'. Clark and Peterson (1986) assert that teachers' beliefs formulate their thought processes. In similar vein, Richards and Lockhart (1994) defines teachers' belief systems as "the information, attitudes, values, theories, and assumptions . …

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