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    • #12431
      Manuel Flores Lasarte

          Come up with 8-10 questions that you would ask when choosing/using a new coursebook/materials.

        • #56750
          Gajinder Kaur

              Relevant questions I would consider whilst choosing teaching coursebooks/materials are:

              1. Is it culturally appropriate/ relevant for my learners?
              2. Is it aligned with the purpose/age/level of the learners in the class?
              3. Does it provide good enough rubrics/ exam practice for professional /exam ended courses?(BE/ESP/EAP..)
              4. Does it cover the intended target language aspects comprehensively for the course?
              5. Are learner needs addressed?
              6. Is it fun/ engaging/motivating for learners?
              7. Does it integrate 21st c skills?
              8. Is it clear/precise/ready to use?
              9. Is the layout well organzsed and goal oriented?
              10. Does it provide learners enough oppurtunity and scope to practice target language?
            • #56878
              Robert Dailey

                  Come up with 8-10 questions that you would ask when choosing/using a new coursebook/materials.

                  1. To what extent is the content relevant to my learners´needs? This, I think, is the most important question.

                  2. To what extent are the tasks “do-able”? (I was once obliged to work with a business English book that was awful. Everything about it seemed contrived and artificial).

                  3. Is the coursebook/ material affordable? In other words, how much does it cost? Can students – and perhaps the teacher – afford it?

                  4. Is there any supporting material? For example, New English File – my favourite book – has, at least online, additional workbooks, photocopiable materials, audio, videos etc.

                  5. Is there an easy-to-use teacher´s book?

                  6. Does the resource include information and tasks about pronunciation?

                  7. To what extent is the content up-to-date? (When I started teaching, in 2008, a lot of the material I saw was about financial collapse, businesses going bankrupt, rising unemployment etc. It was quite funny to see the materials a few years later, but unfortunately they´re now probably very relevant again).

                  8. To what extent are the grammar explanations understandable and the exercises “do-able”? (Has anyone else tried to work with the advanced version of English Grammar in Use ??!!)

                  9. To what extent can I adapt the material to the needs of my learners?

                  10. Is the material well presented? Does it look professional, attractive?

                • #57073

                      1.     Is it appropriate to the type of course/ students?

                      2.     Can the content be adapted to fit with the course syllabus/ curriculum?

                      3.      Does it have supplementary exercises to encourage studying outside the classroom (homework)?

                      4.     Does it offer a wide range of activities (communicative, focused on lexis, etc.) to practice the target language?

                      5.     How is the language presented (especially grammar)? Can it work well with my students? Can be easily adapted to my students’ needs/ abilities?

                      6. Does it have revision units?

                      7.  Is the “new” language recycled / linked among the units? / Does the units build upon language/ grammatical items?

                      8.     Is the teacher book easy to use? Are the lessons well explained  (= Can I learn / steal from it)?

                      9.     Do I like it? Is it well presented? Is its content engaging/ relevant? (Especially when it’s possible to select a coursebook.)

                      10.     Is it updated? Is it worth having the latest edition? Is the previous one still acceptable? Why? Can I recycle some grammar /communicative activities from the old edition?

                    • #57386
                      Manuel Flores Lasarte

                          Thanks everyone for your contributions so far.  It seems that there are a range of different questions that we should ask when choosing new materials. As you all mention, it is very important to assess the relevance of the material in terms of level, culture, learner needs or learning goals

                          I think in general coursebooks are ok in terms of language level and linguistic content. However, as @gk mentions, we also need to think more carefully about the materials ‘being culturally appropriate’ and ‘interesting’ for our learners. Often I have found that students are unable to engage with topics simply because they do not understand them. What we may consider (especially if we are living in ‘the West’) to be common knowledge may not be for some of your learners.  For example, I once had a student who had never heard of Saddam Hussein; and once I had another student who did not comprehend the concept of a rock band – he had never heard of the Beatles. Although this may sound incredible to someone living in the UK, I am sure that some common references in students’ cultures would be alien to me. To learn more about this idea of choice of topic,  you may find the following blog post from Scott Thornbury very interesting – please read the discussion under it too!

                          Of course, for the content to be interesting it also needs to feel up-to-date as indicated by @robertd and @erica and perhaps include some 21st century skills as @gk also highlights. Indeed, English lessons have become much more than just focusing on grammar and developing skills as we encourage learners to engage with technology, be more creative, develop their autonomy… so it is useful when coursebooks support the development of these skills alongside the linguistic content.

                          In addition to content and language, you also raise good points about the importance of presenting content, language, explanations and activities so they are clear for learners (and teachers!), ‘do-able’, varied and even inspiring! (here I note the point raised by @erica about the teacher explanations being useful so that you can learn / steal something from it). Considering supplementary materials and revision units is also very useful since we know learners will need lots of practice and revision before they can master the target language.

                          We also need coursebooks that are affordable and materials that make our job easier, so it is great when they can be easily adapted to suit our learners’ needs.

                          Finally, a coursebook may tick all the boxes but if it doesn’t look good, it will be less engaging for both the teacher and the students, so having beautifully presented materials is also a point not to forget (and something we can consider when creating our own handouts!).

                          So lots of things to consider, and everything will depend on our teaching context and our priorities. There is no perfect coursebook but it is important we consider these questions so that we can choose the book that will be the easiest to teach with! Please feel free to continue the discussion.

                          Best wishes,


                        • #57437
                          Aytaj Suleymanova

                              Come up with 8-10 questions that you would ask when choosing/using a new coursebook/materials.

                              1. Is the publisher of the coursebook well-established and trustworthy?

                              2. Do learners have access to copies of the coursebook?

                              3. Is there a pdf version of the coursebook I can use during online sessions?

                              4. Does the coursebook look appealing to the students? (colorful for children, modern for young adults, etc).

                              5. Are there video materials/ wordlist / other extra materials in it that support students’ learning?

                              6. Are progress tests available for each unit?

                              7. Is grammar presented in a natural and engaging way?

                              8. Is content fun, interesting and appropriate for the age group?

                            • #57458
                              Manuel Flores Lasarte

                                  Thank you Aytaj for continuing the discussion! You highlight useful points about the need for revision and extra materials to support students’ learning and I really like your points about reputable and trustworthy publishers + the use of materials in an online environment. Thanks for sharing, please keep the discussion going.



                                • #58039
                                  Amira Madkour

                                      Hi may I just add to what my colleagues have been saying.

                                      1. Are the supplementary materials engaging and useful?

                                      2. Does the course book have ready made assessment, or test bank?

                                      3. Does the course book have an entry or placement test?

                                      4. Are the units and topics relevant to student’s needs?

                                      5. Does it integrate technology, is it linked to app or a website?

                                      6. Is the target language contextualised?

                                    • #58125
                                      Vasiliki Zinonos

                                          1. Are they level/age appropriate?

                                          2. Are they current and relevant?

                                          3. Are they authentic?

                                          4. Are they interesting and fun?

                                          5. Are they fit for purpose? Do the tasks measure what they suppose to measure?

                                          6. Do the tasks achieve the lesson objectives and contribute to the course objectives/goals?

                                          7. Are there enough links to assessments?

                                          8. Do they adequately offer preparation for assessments?

                                          9. Are they collaborative?

                                          10. Are they cross-cultural and inter-cultural?

                                          11. Are they addressing students’ needs?

                                          12. Are they making use of tech aids which are relevant to students to increase engagement?

                                          13. Is there substantial recycling?

                                        • #58293
                                          Manuel Flores Lasarte

                                              Many thanks @amy-madkr and @vasiliki for adding very interesting questions to the ones already discussed. From your questions, I’d like to highlight  what you mention about meeting students’ needs + the importance of having a clear context and lots of materials for recycling and engaging learners. It’s also very interesting what you mention @vasiliki of the importance of having materials that are aligned to course objectives and assessment. All of the points that everybody has mentioned so far are not only useful when analysing coursebooks but can also serve as a checklist for when we are creating our own materials.



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