Teach English in BaiyinhuA Zhen - Tongliao Shi

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Although courses may vary in length, subject matter, level or approach, well-designed and developed learning-teaching materials are essential to facilitate learning and eventually achieve instructional goals. Throughout their career, teachers will need to design, modify, revise or evaluate a course material or simply rethink and re-examine their developed materials. Being a systematic process, material development follows a set of steps and requirements, as outlined in the next paragraphs. This essay focuses on coursebook development; however, the same information might be useful and valid for other types of learning-teaching materials such as textbook, resource book, workbook etc. Before starting the coursebook design, teachers or instructional designers need to collect some information that would help them in this process. This information includes: 1) School’s academic policy and procedures, educational philosophy and guiding principles, curriculum goals and outcomes, and academic calendar. This information will help design a material that matches with the educational goals and calendar of the institution. 2) Course syllabus is an important document to take into consideration, when developing course materials. A syllabus will determine the content of the material and how each is activity is taught and assessed. 3) Target group. Here we need to consider students’ background, level and capabilities. 4) Available technologies, space and context. This information is essential to design relevant content and feasible learning activities. The coursebook development process: • Analyze: the need, the usefulness and the purpose of the coursebook are analyzed. These should be based on learning needs, the goals and objectives of the course, and the available resources. • Design: the design the coursebook needs to give details on the structures of the book, the topics outline, instructional approach, and types of activities (learning and assessment). • Develop: based on the design, the content of the coursebook is assembled and developed into an instructional package which is then reviewed and revised based on feedback received from peers and/or the institution/school. • Implement: in this phase the coursebook is used, the learning and the assessment activities are conducted. This phase serves also to determine the effectiveness and the appropriateness of the coursebook and may be used as a pilot phase for the coursebook. Throughout the course, monitoring and feedback should be collected. At the end of course, a comprehensive evaluation of the coursebook should be conducted to inform future decisions for improvements. • Review: upon collection and analysis of feedback and results of the evaluation, the coursebook is reviewed and modified to serve its purpose and to ensure its appropriateness and effectiveness. Coursebook components and format may change from institution to another and from teacher to another. To produce a well-designed coursebook, the following components should be included: • Basic information – this includes the coursebook name, subject and level. • Coursebook description – this should serve as an introduction to the coursebook, briefly explain its content and mention major topics, and shed the light on the types of learning activities and target group as well as the coursebook context. • Objectives and learning outcomes – this section describes most important knowledge, skills and attitudes gained through the coursebook. It outlines what students will be able to do by the end of the coursebook. Learning objectives need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound). • Types of activities – in this section the types of used activities are described and explained. It is important to describe the activities once before they are used in the books. This will give an understanding how to use and follow these activities. Type of learning activities may include: brainstorming, mind-mapping, reading, discussion, exercises (fill-in the gap, match the correct answers etc.), experiments, reflection, etc. • Coursebook structure – this section describes how the coursebook is structured. For examples whether the answers to the activities and exercise are included or not and if so, where they can be found. Other characteristics of good coursebook include: • The structure is clear. • The content is well-sequenced. • The instructions are clear, well-written and consistent. • Visual aids are properly used. • Keys words are defined. • Approximative time for activities is set. • References are included. A coursebook is a useful resource to use to support the learning and help reach educational goals. It is essential and worth to put significant thoughts when designing and developing it.