ESL Textbook evaluation for EDPN 673 by Touro TESOL teacher candidate Yevette Jensen

Touro TESOL teacher Candidate Yevette Jensen is 22 years old. She graduated from St. Joseph’s College with her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Ms. Jensen currently working towards her Master’s degree in TESOL and looks “forward to applying everything I will learn in my future classroom!”

The assignment in the course Methods and Materials for Teaching English calls for an evaluation of ESL Textbooks.

ESL Textbook evaluation assignment

Refer to Matching Books and Readers by Nancy Hathaway

With thousands of textbooks on the market, and dozens of publishers vying for your business, the selection of appropriate classroom materials is far from a simple process. To help you make well-informed decisions, here are some widely held myths about EFL/ESL textbooks and then three key steps to guide your evaluation of materials and selection of the most appropriate textbooks for your instructional needs.

Evaluation and Selection

Choose 3 chapters/sections OR 3 books (either from a textbook series, library, or a set of supplemental texts to review). Prepare a written description minimum of 2 pages per chapter/book/resource and critique of the material or resource, analyzing its effectiveness for ELL students. Your critique must address the following questions:

  • Know your students’ needs: four categories: (1) language background, (2) proficiency level, (3) goals, and (4) preferred approaches to learning.
  • What are your students’ native languages?
  • Can they read and write in their native language?
  • In what settings have they studied English (e.g., classroom, tutoring, self-study)
  • Proficiency level in English – Are they beginners, or do they already know some English? Are all students at the same level? Are they stronger in some skills (e.g., reading and writing) and weaker in others (e.g., listening and speaking)?

2. Know your instructional objectives
Taking the time to clearly define your objectives—or to understand the list of objectives provided by the institution in which you teach—will greatly limit the scope of your search for the right textbooks. To do this, you should ask questions such as this:

Given my students’ language background, proficiency level, learning goals, and preferred approaches to learning, what can I realistically expect them to be able to do as a result of my English instruction?

Then move from their needs to teaching objectives. With a list of objectives in hand, you can narrow your textbook selection considerably. You do this by matching your objectives with the proficiency level, content focus, and activity types of a number of potential choices.

3. Know your personal teaching preferences
The third step in the selection process is the assessment of your own teaching style and teaching preferences. To help you to think about the teaching-learning environment that is most ideal for you, as well as your expectations of a textbook, you can begin with questions such as these:

Classroom environment: roles of teacher and students

What teacher role(s) suit your personality and teaching style? Do you prefer the role of director (one who carefully guides students in their learning exercises and activities, usually having them interact more with you than with each other), the role of facilitator (one who organizes and monitors pair work and small group work), or some combination of these roles?

The “fit” between teaching style and textbook choice

How dependent are you on the textbook content for planning your lessons? For example, do you prefer to stick to the textbook, using it as your basic syllabus? Or, do you like to vary your approach based on the content of the lesson?
Are you good at adapting materials and/or creating supplemental activities?

Key Questions to be addressed in Materials Critique

  • What are the lesson objectives the material infers?
  • Can the identified methods and techniques be used appropriately to the teaching situation that you have in your classroom? (Describe your classroom situation in detail) Your students’ needs: four categories: (1) language background, (2) proficiency level, (3) goals, and (4) preferred approaches to learning.
  • Do the techniques used in the material advocate for achieving the stated/assumed objectives most effectively?
  • Do the techniques maintain the engagement of the learners and at what level of instruction (beginning, intermediate, advanced proficiency)?
  • How are the techniques appropriate for all types of students and can they be easily adapted in your classroom?
  • What are the identified methods and are they used appropriately to the teaching situation that you have in your classroom?
  • Do the techniques used in the material advocate for achieving the stated/assumed objectives most effectively?
  • Do the techniques maintain the engagement of the learners and at what level of instruction (beginning, intermediate, advanced proficiency)?
  • How are the techniques appropriate for all types of students including special needs students and can they be easily adapted in your classroom?
  • List which NYS TESOL standards this book addresses.
  • List key vocabulary.
  • Create a general Bloom’s Knowledge Matrix per selection – this means you will have 3 matrixes
  • Complete ESL TEXTBOOK EVALUATION CHECKLIST

Here the submission by Touro TESOL teacher Candidate Yevette Jensen: Materials Critique 673