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Coursebooks are a useful resource, but they need to be used selectively, critically and creatively. This course provides some practical tools for teachers to help them use their materials effectively. It begins with a definition of the term 'teaching materials', followed by an exploration of background issues. These include advantages and disadvantages of using a coursebook in general; paper versus digital materials; criteria for design, evaluation and selection of a coursebook. The main focus then shifts to coursebook use; some reasons why we might want to adapt its material by omitting, changing or supplementing, and some useful guidelines on such adaptation, illustrated by a number of practical examples.
• Teaching materials and what they include
Follow-up assignment: Forum. Participants voice their opinions on a) the advantages and disadvantages of using a coursebook in their own situation, and/or their experiences of using digital materials.
Week 2. Some criteria for design, evaluation and selection of good materials:
• Who are the stakeholders, and what are their interests?
Follow-up assignment: Forum. Participants describe and criticize course materials they have first-hand knowledge of using, whether as teachers or as learners.
• Reasons for adapting course materials
Follow-up assignment: Forum. Participants choose a text they know from course materials, and suggest how they might adapt it for a particular class they know (are teaching now, or have taught, or have participated in themselves as learners).
• Guidelines for adapting tasks (language exercises or communciative tasks)
Follow-up assignment: Forum. Participants choose an exercise or communicative task from course materials they are familiar with, and suggest how they might adapt it for a particular class they know (are teaching now, or have taught, or have participated in themselves as learners).
Penny Ur has thirty-five years' experience as an English teacher in elementary, middle and high schools in Israel. Now retired, she has taught B.A. and M.A. courses at Oranim Academic College of Education and Haifa University. She has presented papers at TESOL, IATEFL and other English teachers' conferences worldwide. She was for ten years the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. Her books include Discussions that work (1981), Five minute activities (co authored with Andrew Wright) (1992), Grammar practice activities (2nd Edition) (2009), Vocabulary activities (2012), and A course in English language teaching (2012), all published by Cambridge University Press. A new book, Discussions and more, was published in 2015.