Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Course books, are they really helpful?

I am already in vacation, and you might be saying, I am already resting... well, actually the answer is no. I have been doing personal tasks, and of course, preparing already the material for next school year.
I was reading the new plans, and I was checking the course books through internet. And then I thought how much important a book can be for my work.
I have seen both sides: teachers using the course books step by step, without omitting any activity, and teachers not even taking into account this element. I must say I am both sides.
How is that possible? I will tell you why.
Using course books as a guide to follow step by step is a total mistake. Even though they are very well made, and they have clear goals with interesting and engaging activities, it is just a book for one year only. It means that you need to have a whole collection of books to have a real course. And at least in my country, every level has a different book, from a different publisher makes the work hard for a teacher. At the same time, I must consider the program of the ministery of education, because their objectives, activities, lesson plans, actually the whole plan can be different from the books I am going to use. In order words, the book says that in the first semester, in the first unit I must teach "The verb to Be", while the program of the government is telling me to teach the "future tense".
In addition, I must consider my reality.  The course book can have an example on how to use an iphone, but what happen if my students have never watched that kind of cellphone? The it means the course book is not a good tool for me.
In other hand, avoiding the use of this tool is really pointless. First, because if we want a better education, then we must use every possible tool to work with the students. And it is a big investment, a lot of money to help the education.
But let's be true, using the course book everyday is really boring. I won't use it everyday. But if I compare the books I used in primary school with the books of today, wow... now they are so much interesting, and for students that is something to think about.

In summary, a tool will always be a good tool, but a hammer just can nail, and nothing more. So you need a complete set of tools to do a good work. So think the course book as just one tool, but remember you need more.

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