A short reflection on using textbook effectively: the Nepalese context.
“I have to cover the syllabus.”
“I have no time to do the activities suggested by the trainers as I have to cover the course book.”
“I have to teach 3-4 books viz. Main course book, Grammar book, Conversation book and literature.”
These are some of the reasons given by the English teachers for not following the advice given in the training. I could not shun these comments by simply labelling them mere pretence of apathetic educators. The contents of the educators were not simply weaving some elusive story-lines, they contain latent despair. They are heavily burdened with the unnecessary collection of textbooks, distressing time-table, and a meagre salary. The list may continue.
They constantly leap from one book to another not knowing what to do with so many books. They find numerous overlaps, but cannot do anything to supersede this. Most of the educators do not know what to do with this. They do not have a choice but to follow the directives of the school administration and course book writers.
There are many school level textbooks available in the market in different size and colours. Most of them claim to cover the contents prescribed by CDC and ironically many of them fail to comply. However isolated these books might seem from the curriculum, they contain everything necessary for language learners. These books are carefully graded and contain Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Vocabulary and grammar contents are embedded in these textbooks. Teaching one textbook creatively is enough for achieving the aim of the curriculum, but the students are burdened with at least 2/3 books. The teachers embark on the journey of covering all the contents of these books from the beginning of an Academic Year and hence no creativity.
Fig. an example of course content (Better English, Koselee)
What can the teachers do to avoid this?
- Do not consider the textbooks as the Bible as if you cannot alter a single word. Unfortunately, this is the case to most of the teachers in Nepal.
- It is not necessary to have a separate book to teach grammar. It can be used as a reference book as the main course books cover the grammar content.
- Prepare the scheme of work so that you can have a road-map for your lesson. This helps to avoid unnecessary overlaps.
Fig.2. an example of unit plan
- SARS the textbook:
- SELECT the materials that are appropriate and useful for your students.
- ADAPT some materials to suit your students’ needs and background.
- REJECT materials that are unsuitable
- SUPPLEMENT the course book with material of your own or from other books (e.g. resource books)
These suggestions cannot solve all the problems teachers are facing in teaching English Language Teaching but can ease the burden. Happy TEACHING!
SARS: Select, Adapt, Reject and Supplement
CDC: Curriculum Development Center