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How To Choose a Coursebook and Other Classroom Materials

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Finding the right coursebook is one of the most important tasks a teacher needs to undertake. This quick guide will help you in your decision making process and point you to some of the resources on this site that can help you find the right coursebooks and supplementary materials for your course.
Time Required: 1 hour

Here's How:

  1. Evaluate the makeup of your class. Important considerations include the age, final course (are the students going to take a test?), objectives and whether the class is made up of students learning for work purposes or for hobby.
  2. If you are teaching a standard test course (TOEFL, First Certificate, IELTS, etc.) you will need to choose a coursebook that specifically for these tests. In this case, make sure to choose the coursebook based on the age of the class. Don't choose a book that prepares for another test as these tests are very different in construction and objectives. Here are my recommendations for the TOEFL and the First Certificate tests.
  3. If you are not teaching a standard test course, are you going to teach a standard syllabus or do you want to focus on a specific area such as conversation or making presentations?
  4. Standard syllabuses require books that will cover grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. I highly recommend the English File series or the Headway series for this type of course. You might also want to take a look at this 120 hour intermediate level teaching syllabus.
  5. If you are teaching a non-standard syllabus class, maybe focusing on one skill set, you'll need to get some resource books for your classroom work. Here are my recommendations for classroom resource books for adults, and these are my recommendations for young learners.
  6. If you would like to take a different, non-grammar based, approach then I highly recommend taking a look at either the lexical approach (focusing on building language skills from vocabulary and linguistic forms) or the Brain friendly approach (focusing on bringing a wide variety of learning types into play).
  7. If you are going to teach a Business English or ESP (English for Specific Purposes) course you will need to not only find a standard special English book, but also use the Internet as a means of finding specific information and content related to the industry. Here is a fantastic book entitled Internet and Business English.
  8. You may also want to consider using software as a means of extending the possibilities in the classroom. Here are guides to my recommendations for beginner, intermediate and young learner software packages.
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