Selecting Textbooks for Teaching English as a Second Language

A well-designed textbook can help students learn English more quickly and easily. Some key factors to keep in mind when assessing each book include the age of the students, their current capability with the language, and the learning objectives. The questions listed in the following three categories will help you evaluate and decide which text meets the need.

Is the text easy to use?
Is there a teacher’s guide and/or answer key?
Is the text flexible enough to be used in several ways?
Can students write in the text or is there a separate workbook?
Is the text compatible with your teaching method?
Is the text part of a series which you can use as students progress?

Is the layout clear with plenty of white space?
Is the print size large enough to read easily?
Are new lessons, lesson sections, and exercises clearly identified and separated to delineate the transitions?
Does the text use new material in subsequent lessons?
Are the exercises varied and interesting?
Do the exercises result in meaningful communication?
Are there a sufficient number of exercises?
Are the directions for completing the exercises simple and concise?
Are the exercises intended for large groups or can they be done by an individual student?
Are there illustrations to help convey the meaning of the text?
Are the illustrations clear and appropriate to the age of the students?
Do the illustrations show people of many cultural and racial groups and both sexes?

Subject matter:
Is the material of current interest?
Does the book explain common idioms?
Is there a variety of subject matter appropriate to the interests of the students?
Does the text avoid racist and sexist stereotypes and other objectionable material?

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