Every teacher knows the students need a course book. It would seem that a course book is an essential element in any course, at any age, no matter how young or old the students are. Every teacher also knows it should be the best course book possible for those students. But what exactly is the best course book? So, how do we choose the course books we want use with our students?
Choosing a course book is not a frivolous matter. When deciding on a course book for the students, we should be making an informed decision. It should be made based on analysis and knowledge. It shouldn’t be made lightly and we shouldn’t feel that ‘any old course book’ will do. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be coerced or bullied into choosing one course book over another, by anyone. Choose your course books based on a clear, detailed analysis of what it offers and what your students need.
Many researchers have compiled checklists and guidelines for choosing appropriate course books for different students. Some are more detailed and some are less so, but all deal with more or less the same issues. It is very important to know what to look for when choosing a book.
Before choosing a course book for the students in any course, it is important to create a needs-analysis for your own students. What will the students need to know by the end of the course or school year? Once the needs-analysis is done, it’s a good idea to create a list of items that you consider desirable in a course book. Based on these lists, any course book can then be analyzed.
Below are a few basic questions (to help get you started) that should be asked when we are in the process of choosing a course book for our classes and our students.