ESL signifies English as a Second Language. ESL Course books are books that teachers use to assist them in the teaching of the English Language in schools and institutions. These books are commonly used as they make teaching English remarkably easy- teacher uses them to prepare for class, they are visually appealing with pictures and illustrations. They also fit well with school timetables. They were designed for students of all levels and ages. In line with Cheung and Wong (Cheng and Wong, 2002), the key principle of an academic curriculum should be targeted at developing students’ intellectual abilities in subject study areas that are deemed most worthy. ESL course books have their advantages and disadvantages.
The first advantage is that the course books come with a set of achievement goals that are clearly set. They tell the learner what he or she will be able to do on completion of a course, and what to expect. The second advantage is that when using the course books, the genres and topics are structured such that they cover the four skill areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This greatly eases the burden off the teacher of having to prepare to address those areas. The course books also assist inexperienced teachers as they have ready-made activities and they assist such teachers to prepare for classes.
Several problems and issues have come up such as repetitive activities, uninteresting topics, and inadequate language exposure. Many of the activities in the course books come as ‘question and answer’ sections. After doing it several times, there is a likelihood that the students will start finding the lessons boring and uninteresting. In addition, the reading sections in the course book tend to be relatively short. Thus, they fail to be effective in helping students develop that component of the skill areas. The reading material also tends not to be challenging enough for learners, and the learners end up not benefitting from studying the course books. If not checked, such issues can end up affecting a student’s overall performance in the English language.
One solution is the addition of outside reading materials to the curriculum to supplement the course books. This would fill in the gap for the areas that the course books have not covered. Another solution would be to increase the reading material in the course books. The encouragement of literature reading even outside the classroom would also be a solution. It is confirmed that a great wealth of vocabulary and excellence in grammar is learnt through the reading of literature.
How is this argument right?
ESL course books have been an immense help to the education sector. They have eased the work of the teachers considerably. Before, making of the lessons and material to be studied rested solely on the shoulders of the teachers. Now, the teachers can use these textbooks to assist them to prepare for the classes; the teacher can also choose to use the books sometimes, as they come perfectly planned with most of the material needed for each lesson. The above argument recognizes this. The argument is right in the way it candidly examines the advantages and disadvantages of ESL course books without bias. The weight of the advantages compares to the weight of the disadvantages. A correct representation of the value and worth of the ESL course books is shown (Kayapinar, 2009). An accurate representation of the advantages that the ESL books bring is put forth, backed by credible resources like Kayapinar’s Course book Evaluations by English Teachers’. An accurate representation of the disadvantages is also put forth, backed by credible sources, as Harmer’s ‘How to Teach English’ (Harmer, 2007). In the solutions, a correct conclusion is made that the books are a valuable but a somewhat inadequate source of information and material; thus, the solution to add additional reading material to the curriculum, was sound.
How the argument is wrong?
According to the argument, teachers are depending on the ESL course books far too much. The work of teaching has been taken from the teachers and put on the course books, which is not the way it is supposed to be. The teacher is supposed to have a majority of the material needed to be taught in school; the books should just supplement their material. Another way that the argument is wrong is in the way it emphasizes the inadequacy of the course books. The books are seen to be lacking challenging material, adequate reading material, and are said to be dull. Instead of looking for additional textbooks, they can consider remaking the course books and filling them with the material that would be most useful to the teachers and students.
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The argument is also wrong in the way it accommodates the laziness of students. The students have no right to get bored of the course books. They are not in the classrooms to be entertained, but to study. The responsibility of learning should be put back where it belongs; on the shoulders of the students. They should take the initiative in the learning process, instilling within them, a self-driven desire to excel. That way, if the course books become inadequate, they will take the initiative of looking for additional information from other books and journals. This would significantly ease the work of the teachers, as well.
The course books have been of tremendous help in the education sector. The best thing to do would be to perfect them and add the relevant reading material to them. Still, students should take responsibility over their studies, and that way they will help the teachers assist them even more.
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