Choosing a main course book - general constraints
[A] Profile of the learner(s)
[B] Needs of the learner / group / level; Fluency or Accuracy?
[C] Motivation - Method; interests; Cultural; Age Group?
[D] Time & Place - 2 weeks or 1 academic year? L1 or L2 environment?
[E] Other external constraints - public perception; examination syllabus.
Criteria for evaluating the main course book and other ELT resources
The order of importance will vary according to learning / teaching / institutional context, time-scale and nature of goals:
- Learners' needs
- Ordering and pacing of syllabus
- Maintenance of interest - suitable (perhaps for captive learners)
- Type of course: exam based, intensive, vacation - fixed period or continuous intake
- Age group - suitable for maturity-level and motivation of learners
- Time scale - variety & quantity of material - suitable for length of course
- Cultural orientation
- Suitable for class-size
- Role of teacher(s) and learner(s) appropriate to preferred teaching & learning styles
- Mono or Multilingual
- Narrative or Topic based
- Assumption of learner knowledge
- Mix of syllabus: structural; notional / functional; task-based (communicative)
- Right measure of authenticity i.e. suitably adapted for level
- Appropriacy of lexis, structure for learners' level
- Right selection of vocabulary and syntax for learners re function & complexity
- Range and appropriacy of texts
- Range & weighting of skills
- Revision technique: cyclical or linear
- Suitability for self-access
- Do learners' exercises, activities and tasks work?
- Ease of use for teacher
- Ease of use for learners
- Summary of items for reference
- Visual impact
- Accompanying aids: charts, cassettes, videos, CD-rom
- Dated or modern language
- Teacher book
- Course or part course book
But the real evaluation is made when it is used in the classroom.
Materials Development in Language Teaching by Brian Tomlinson - (Cambridge Language Teaching Library 1998)
Choosing Your Coursebook by Alan Cunningsworth - (Macmillan ELT 1995)