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Опубликован: 18.11.2015 | Уровень: для всех | Доступ: платный
Лекция 8:

Visual Aids


Your syllabus or textbook

Teachers should be free, within limits, to vary the diet of any ESOL class. We should be able to adapt and supplement the basic textbook and not be instructed to follow it word for word. This makes it a very important aid, but not the dictator. However, many teachers find themselves in a situation where they have to stick to a rigid course and it can be terribly frustrating. Think only, in this situation, that the opposite can be equally difficult. A teacher, asked to teach his classes without even a detailed syllabus will find himself faced with the impossible task of collecting and creating all his own material.

The ideal is to be allowed (or encouraged) to roughly follow the syllabus, using your own materials where appropriate. This is why we should regard the textbook as a very important aid.

Most teachers use a textbook/syllabus with their classes. The textbook is our friend because:

  • It sets out ‘bits’ of language to teach
  • It helps the teacher plan with the ‘teacher’s book’
  • It has reading and listening materials
  • It helps with managing time.
  • It saves on photocopying.

Here are THE FOUR A’s to get the best out of the course book that you work with:






Assessing means deciding how suitable the book is for your class - BEFORE YOU START TEACHING.

It is important to work out how your book is organised. Look at the contents page(s) at the front of the book. Some books arrange their language grammatically:

  • Unit 1: There is, there are
  • Unit 2: Present tense questions

Books organised in this way may have several different topics in the same unit: Present tense questions could include ‘Where are you from?’ (countries), What do you do? (jobs) What do you do at the weekends? (hobbies).

You may have to be careful that the students do not end up with an overload of unconnected vocabulary. Also, it can be difficult to get continuity between the different topics.

Some books arrange their material by topic and then fit the grammar in:

  • Unit 1: Money
  • Unit 2: Travel

Books like this will cover an area of vocabulary and often have good connections between tasks, for example reading about a place and then writing about your own town. But they may not have much direct teaching of grammar and you may find connections between grammar topics cause confusion.

You also need to assess how much there is in the book. Is it designed for one term or two? Not finishing a book can be depressing for students. If you have to get to the end of the book, decide before you start which whole units you could cut out, and don’t rush. So before you start, try to assess what you will need to make the course a success.

As you start teaching, you need to keep your eyes on the other three A’s.


This means keeping the materials that you have but changing them so they are more suitable for your class. Sometimes reading and listening activities are too long and complicated, so cut the texts into chunks and write different exercises. In some books every chapter has the same order to the activities. Look at the pictures, talk about them, then a listening, then a reading.

Get variety into the lesson by starting with the listening or reading and then do the speaking activity.

Be especially careful about writing - course books do not always have good writing tasks and they squeeze them into the end of the Unit. Make sure your course book writing activities are useful and realistic. If not, change them.


To axe means to cut. Don’t be afraid to just cut out a section of your course book. Sometimes there are too many boring exercises. Sometimes a reading or listening is very out of date such as an interview with Margaret Thatcher! Your course book may be 10 or more years old. Sometimes the listenings are just boring.

Adding in a more up to date newspaper article or a different song of your own can be much more interesting. Also look for pictures from magazines to replace or add. You may want to add some extra information on a grammar point too.

If you add too much, then the students lose trust and interest in the course book. If you axe too much then you will have a lot of work to do to fill up the time! So balance the two. And don’t add at the last minute. Look ahead in the course book and get your materials ready.


Which of these tasks is which?

Write the word assess, axe, adapt or add next to each teacher activity.

Count the number of chapters in the book. (Assess)

Listen to the cassette tapes to see what the speed and accents are like.

Plan two projects per term on topics covered by the book. (Add)

As you don’t have a video or DVD you can’t use the video workbook.

Choose websites that you can use with each unit.

Photocopy and cut up a reading passage for group reading activity.

Change the questions for a listening activity.

Bring in real examples of what the students have to do for a writing task.

Leave out the section on dating as your students are all married!

Вадим Бондарь
Вадим Бондарь
Как найти и выбрать тьютора?
Ирина Суханова
Ирина Суханова
здравствуйте! я прохожу курс учитель англ. языка. я отправила тест №1, как долго его будут проверять.
Артур Гибадуллин
Артур Гибадуллин
Россия, г. Нижневартовск