Lindsay Clandfield delivers some interesting observations about what appears to be hot (or not) in contemporary coursebook design. See the video here.
I watched the video of Lindsay Clandfield's talk on coursebooks at the International House DOS Conference last night, and found it interesting in all sorts of ways. Credit goes to Lindsay for what I thought was an astute, nicely organised and frank look at what would have to be the most influential sector of ELT. He gives us plenty to think about.
Given the almost fundamental role coursebooks play in anything where English language learners and their teachers get together, I think Lindsay's talk would make for an excellent in-house teacher development session, with plenty to think about and discuss.
- Other than coursebooks, what else might we include in a time capsule designed to "capture" or represent ELT in the here and now?
- Lindsay makes the point that while coursebooks for teens and younger learners outsell adult coursebooks, so why do you think we see so much emphasis on the adult coursebooks both as "flagship" products and the target of so much marketing and presentation at things like conferences? Do coursebooks for the younger sectors get an unfair deal?
- Lindsay points out that, in terms of grammar and vocabulary, coursebook writers now appear to be working more around the idea of frequency (as an organising structure) than "ease" (or ease and perhaps logic of teaching/uptake). Do you think this is an effective organising principle? Why or why not?
- Integrated skills appear to be all the go, but focus on individual macro skills (reading, writing, speaking, etc.) as well as micro skills is a "not" -- do you think this warranted?
- The word "real" is huge in coursebook blurbs now. Do you find the coursebooks on offer now any more "real" in their selection of language and activities than coursebooks from the past (or alternatively, would you describe the coursebooks you're currently using as being targeted more or less on realism)?
- Would you agree with Lindsay's observation that coursebooks now have much more emphasis on speaking, and try to feature something speaking-related virtually on every page?
- Discuss what Lindsay means by "pseudo-inductive" grammar learning. Do you see this in your coursebooks, and if so, what do you think of it?
- What is meant by "suprasegmentals"? Are you seeing more emphasis on this in your own coursebooks? Do you think it is good to broaden the approach to pronunciation in this way, and why?
- What do you think about Lindsay's prediction (or call for) more in the way of "writing fluency", based on the idea that more of our spoken language is being called on for use in synchronous online exchanges?
- Lindsay emphasises the role of mobile learning (and mobile devices) in the future development of course work. Do you think "going mobile" should be a major priority? Is this what learners are likely to want (and actually use more of) for their language learning?
There are quite a few other juicy bits in Lindsay's talk, but those are the thoughts that popped up for me in terms of teacher discussion after watching the video once.
Perhaps you could think of some more!