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Thread: Text Books like Interchange etc

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    Text Books like Interchange etc

    I have worked in many schools and even some Unis where we have had to use course books such as Interchange/Headway and other such crap.
    In my opinion, these books are only good for bad or inexperienced "teachers", or for self-study. Give anyone an interchange book and a tape and they can get through 2 hours. Some of these teachers that I have observed are terrible. Some even claim that they know what the communicative approach is.
    Really, I don't know why so many "good" schools use these books.
    Have they any use??????

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    Quote Originally Posted by beuasawnlaew
    I have worked in many schools and even some Unis where we have had to use course books such as Interchange/Headway and other such crap.
    In my opinion, these books are only good for bad or inexperienced "teachers", or for self-study. Give anyone an interchange book and a tape and they can get through 2 hours. Some of these teachers that I have observed are terrible. Some even claim that they know what the communicative approach is.
    Really, I don't know why so many "good" schools use these books.
    Have they any use??????
    Leaving your bonehead teacher with the option of skipping the grammar focus and just talking to the students about the topic.

    We used to use these books for resource books. I couldn't believe it when schools started using these types of books for core curriculum. Since the book spoon-feeds the information there is almost no reason for the students to have to interact at all.
    "We're all very different people. We're not Watusi, we're not Spartans, we're Americans. With a capital "A", huh? And you know what that means? Do you? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts."
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    Didn't see any good mass-produced English textbooks during my two years in two schools. They were all fairly dismal. They give you starting points, but you can't build or teach just with them. Some examples were terrible. I recall an M5 or M6 book with a game like Jeopardy. All kinds of European geography and history for test questions, to teach them the conditional verbs! You had to explain 10 things that had nothing to do with English language to get through each test question. They learned nothing. Teacher insisted we go page by page, point by point, and get a rote answer. Trash.

    Each time we've discussed textbooks, we get an array of opinions with no consensus.

    And the tapes! If you have the entire set, you may not have the equipment to properly play the tapes. If class size is over ten, who can hear clearly?
    "The times I've been mistaken, it's impossible to say" - by the Moody Blues

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    The fact that a bad teacher can get through a class with the book does not tell you anything about what a good teacher can do with it.

    "Spoon-feeding" information should be rather an effective way of getting it into the students' heads. Keeping it in their heads is what you should be worried about.
    Distrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong.

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    i "have" to use super goal 3. the book is good as a reference tool.
    for grammar forms and some word blanks. the rest is just plain crap.
    main characters:consuela and ricardo. venezuala SP.? and brazil?

    just today, i had a thai english teacher ask me to listen to a tape for her book. she couldn't understand it. i asked her why she was using it. "it's part of the course"
    she couldn't understand it, but she was adamant she was going to use it with her class.,of 50+.
    i never use tapes. i refuse to.i will make a tape, or ask another farang to role play.

    too many of these books focus on the method, but ignore the concept.
    this is where the teaching comes into play.

    when i start with a new class it is always so difficult to get them to understand that there can be more than one answer. ie: learning by rote, not understanding the concept.

    at my new school we have 2 'freshies". they are teaching page by page.
    tefl,tesol can be good in some ways. in others, like getting them to rely on the book?

    un and pb. i suppose in a long winded way, i'm agreeing with what you say. the insistence on using "books" to learn the language has always been a bone of contention where i have worked.

    maybe we should get together and write an Asian based, culturally sensitive book.
    a book without consuella. sorry for the rant. it's just something that really bugs me. using life exp. and making something relate to the environment you are in is part of our job, isn't it? not p.1 p2 p3...............
    to be or not to be.......didn't know will was a tefler

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    Waddaya know!? Yeah! Array the antithesis's Avatar
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    so what other alternatives are there besides using the sorts of curriculum framework that these books provide? worksheets? fresh air? there has to be some sort of direction, doesn't there?

    beuasawnlaew: What exactly is the 'communicative approach'? Is it a patented approach to ESL/EFL teaching? Surely some of those books you despise have that approach in mind?

    I am all for throwing textbooks out of my university level classrooms, but with what will I replace them with? When one considers that many of my uni students have a hideously pathetic grasp of English, surely a well-designed, or well-selected textbook/ curriculum replete with task-based activities appropriate to their abilties is at least a solid starting point?
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    keegan, I used SuperGoal a lot last year, especially for year M1. I never could understand the use of Hispanic names either, except that one of the authors (I think the first year course) has Hispanic name like "Santos." Maybe they're trying to show how multi-cultural the English-speaking countries are. The grocer was East Indian. But it doesn't teach English language any faster. There was the story of the British woman in the south of the USA calling her front yard a garden, and I didn't see no vegetable garden. Another example was pyramids in Yucatan, Mexico. I've been there and done that, but it's a whole different course, "Pre-Columbian Meso-American Architecture and Religion." I taught a lesson on transport methods in Scotland - hello, Edinburgh. I almost taught them about Edinburg, Texas, and I told them I found a Thai restaurant in Edinburgh. But when I explain that sort of stuff, it's at the post-graduate level for university students in Tie-Land.

    Now I remember the game in that M6 book: 'Trivial Pursuit.' One question was, "If you were at Picadilly Circus, you would be in what city?" However, most of the examples were Italian. Marco Polo, come over.

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    if you have books as mentioned, use them as a reference to what you have to teach. just make the work you give more environmentally friendly.
    make it understandable for the students. take out the cultural references to the uk, america or spanish speaking countries.

    i,m pretty sure the students will respond, and achieve a lot better?

    just my experience. :chug:

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    The best core book I've ever used is "Side by Side" and "Exploring English". They're both quite dry by "Interchange" standards, but offer many opportunities for students to speak and provide grammar targets which help students overcome difficulties in certain grammar areas. The other books "Interchange" and the lot I find quite good for topics.

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    Some of the books are okay, and some audio tapes are good. The advantage to using audio tapes is that the students get used to listening to accents other than just yours, and a good teacher can use any book as a starting point and then add material from there.

    One of the Thai administrators last year while complaining about one of the farangs said "She doesn't seem to understand that you don't JUST use text books all the time. You have to add material to it - games, worksheets, role plays, activities etc. The text book should just be CORE information." (which this farang teacher just didn't get - all her class lesson plans were "Text Book - Pages 6-8. Text Book - Pages 11-14. Text Book - Pages 18-23". Her kids were bored stiff!

    I've used American Headway before and it's not bad (the British one is terrible). It gives you ideas for topics which you can then build on.

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    most of the thai i learned in a classroom , i learned with a text book in front of me .

    could not imagine learning most anything without something in writing to refer to .

    i like new interchange .

    taught camparisons (not as big as) and evaluations (not enough of) last night ; kids were really scratching their heads (in addition to having a fun time trying to pronouce "huge") ; wasn't easy 4 them but they were using their brains , talking with other , trying to relate it to thai and USING THE BOOK .

    p.s. this was a good class , but why it is that about 50% of classes u walk out saying, man, that/i was horrible and the other half u could swear u were/r mr. chips incarnate ... ?
    "A man has got to know his limitations."

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    Agreeing with Raphaela and others - the textbook is a starting point. Since I had observed more Thai teachers of English than farang, I've noticed more Thai teachers going straight by the book. But yes, there are lots of good things in there. During the two brief years I was a Baptist minister of education and youth, I was a state-wide consultant to teachers of youth. I would tell them, "the instructional booklets are just guidelines. Use what you want, and ignore the rest." Now, that sounds like an AA slogan: "Take what you want, and leave the rest."

    Yes, some Thai and farang teachers have file drawers fool of good handouts, worksheets, etc. Some of those handouts, however, are only good as bogrolls (TP). Partly because I was so isolated, I used to make my own worksheets. If I used the handouts that Ajarn Goodoldgirlapat gave me, I'd try to say, "Kids, don't finish problems 4 or 14." But they'd dutifully start at problem 1 and go straight through the sheet.

    You have to be flexible and use your imagination, with whatever resources they give you.

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    The only way to get a book that suits your teaching style is to write one. I found American Headway good for one on one's. Same thing for New Interchange. Personally I didn't like teaching American Headway in a group situation in a so-called conversation class with twenty-plus high school students.

    I found the Get Together books to be more like what the original poster typed about. As they're mostly filling out grammar exercises and leave little leeway for actual conversational English.

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    Re: Text Books like Interchange etc

    Quote Originally Posted by beuasawnlaew
    In my opinion, these books are only good for bad or inexperienced "teachers".... Really, I don't know why so many "good" schools use these books. Have they any use??????
    Do you honestly think that the mark of a good teacher is to never use a book? Or just those ones in particular?

    As well as the points made previously about additional material, I hope you are not really suggesting that all "good" teachers should write all their own material for all the classes. Sorry, dont want to do that and quite frankly the majority of teachers here arent paid enough to do that and some arent skilled enough to do that.

    This year I am using Superworld and it is quite frankly thin. 47 pages long including two special sections on Xmas and Carnival. We see the classes 4 times a week for 55 minutes and this book has to last 1 whole year. I would love to have Interchange and Headway as a starting point. Our year group is having to create so much material its already unreal.

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    Last year, I would help teachers at each of the various M1 to M5 or M6 in their classes. At the same grade level using the same textbook, some classes (esp. with different Thai teachers) would be at quite different places in the texts. Almost always, the class went straight through from front to back. If four pages had to last for 8 classroom hours, somehow they stretched, sometimes by adding some handouts that were immaterial, outdated, and just plain wrong.

    Sometimes, a half-decent farang EFL teacher earns all our wages and more, because we understand the language, we can 'pad' the time with actual experiences, we think standing on our feet. Not that Thai ajarns can't do classroom mgmnt. while standing (they often sit at their desk in the clasroom), but I suspect the farang often can think about how to teach Engish more effectively. We look at the illustration in the book and think of something, in English and in native culture, to which it relates. I saw the phrase "over my head" and started telling the class the story behind that pop song, how Grandma was over Doug's head, telling him to study for school....

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