Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Update on coursebooks

These are my notes from an IATEFL webinar by Lindsay Clandfield on 21 June, 2014

What's hot and what's not in coursebooks
An IATEFL webinar by Lindsay Clandfield, 21 June 2014
  1. Methodology

HOT: Integrated skills, lots of speaking, process writing, pairwork, study skills, multi-strand syllabus
Up to now: The „Big Books”. New English File, Face2Face, Language Leader, Cutting Edge, Speak Out etc.. old: Streamline, Headway (now breaking away from them)
NOT. Adherence to only one method, do the book only one way, minimal stimulus (dogme type), decontextualised drills
  1. Language Systems – Grammar and Vocabulary

HOT: linear grammar syllabus, lexical work, „extra” vocabulary sections, pronunciation suprasegmentals, pseudo-inductive grammar, text-based exercises, extra grammar at back of book, extra vocab exercises, rules, corpus-based
NOT: Culturally specific lexical sets, obscure lexical sets, grammar without context, input flooding (a text with far more of the target structure than would normally occur)
Very small changes in grammar
  • have got – is it worth it?
  • can for ability: corpora say can for permission is more common
  • past simple . how to deal with it
  • time expressions – as grammar/vocabulary overlap
  • keywords and patterns of gr/voc, e.g. not teach read, rather /read a newspaper/read a website etc.
  1. Skills

HOT: speak in every lesson, fluency in writing, integrated skills, developing skills
English as an International Language (EIL, ELF) International accents, authentic audio and video, spoken grammar, the corpus “stamp of approval” (on CB cover, proves they checked a corpus to be sure people really use the lexis in the CB)
Life skills, competencies, critical thinking
CEF still hot? - levels system used globally, can-do statements, self evaluation, outcomes based, learner autonomy portfolios, diaries
Digital – videos, support sites, eworkbooks, CD Rom/DVD Rom (but will disappear and be tablet-online based soon), exam generators, learning platforms, teacher resource CD, IWB software
  1. Coursebook topics

Around the world (weddings, birthdays, shopping etc.)
Health memes (GM, food, water)
Urban life
Lifestyle questionnaires
People who live long (Okinawa)
Busting stereotypes of the English
Mobile phones
The Internet
CLIL (watered down)
Still not allowed: PARSNIP (Politics, Alcohol, Religion, Sex, Narcotics, Isms, Pork
Comics and funny drawings (because teachers hate bad drawings)
  1. The Future

See Knewton Education surveys – analytics. Future CB – gamification, Big Data, learning management, adaptive learning
6 Trends (see Philip Kerr in
  1. no more traditional CB – learning platforms insteajd
  2. increase adaptive learning technology
  3. discrete vocab-grammar functional language, phonology
  4. customizable content
  5. assessment will be major – but as discrete items, not skills work (this enables software)
  6. CEF level descriptors will be explicit
  1. Miscellaneous notes

Evan Frendo has a coursebook on Technical English about dark tourism and PARSNIP (Pearson)
Dogme vs CB debate – they have agreed to disagree
IATEFL's Learning Technologies SIG is worth watching
Notes by Mary Sousa

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