Coursebook Evaluation on College English INTENSIVE READING


教师·下 2009年12期

Chen Meimei

Abstract:This study sets out to conduct an informed post-use evaluation of a general College English textbook intended for Non-English majors, College English (Intensive Reading), published by Shanghai foreign language education press, with the aim of assessing its effects in promoting the skill oflearning language.

Key words:Language skills; materials analysis; materials evaluation; materials adaptation

This research presents an evaluation of a recent college English textbook- College English (Intensive Reading). This course consists of six packages from Bo-

ok One to Book Six for six progressive levels. This coursebook consists of ten units for one term each unit is composed of six parts. In the preface, the writer claims that the aim of the course book is “promote students English comprehe-

nsively practical competence”. And it is adopted as the coursebook of the college students for the professional training in three years education. Thus this articleattempts to conduct evaluation of Unit one of College English Book 2 find out, to what extent, the materials are helpful in promoting learners language practical competence based on the evaluation theory——methodology.

一、 Learner needs

It isnt done explicitly, but the ap-proach can be inferred from the material.Among the exceptions to this generaliza-tion is Blueprint one event since 1990, states that ‘students in the 1990s live in a world where political, economic and cultural barriers are rapidly disappearin-

g. The authors are identifying five nee-ds experienced by beginners when learn-ing a language in a classroom with a teacher and a textbook. These are:①the need to communicate effectively;②the n-

eed to be familiar with the language sy-00000000000000stems;③the need for challenge;④the need to take on more responsibilities for their own learning;⑤the need for cross-cultural awareness.Here the author selects two of these needs to explore this part of evaluation.

1.The need to communicate effe-ctively

In the oral practice, learners are asked to discuss the greatest difference between men and women. And this text is a short narrative story. In the beginn-

ing of the story there is a plot——a heated discussion about whether men are braver than women happen in the dinner party. Therefore, students can use this part to play the role to resemble the plot in the story so that they can practice the communicative ability.

2.The need to be familiar with the language systems

In the practice, Enriching Your Word Power (this is the exercise for word building) and Reading Activity ex-ercise A (give the meanings of the words and expressions either in English or in Chinese, using context clues or word pa-rt clues), both of them teach learners to use word part clues-prefixes, suffixes and stems, to understand and memorize the word's meaning. Therefore, this cour-sebook meets the needs for their being familiar with the language system into consideration.

二、 Guiding Principles

It is illuminating to consider the ge-neral principles that underlie the actual ethodological procedures adopted by c-ourses, and these principles are made e-xplicitness in the case of this book.

Firstly the definition of two pairs of terms——Inductive/deductive and Process oriented/product oriented.

The term inductive learning refers to the sort of learning where the starting p-oint consists of examples of language w-hich illustrate a rule, without rule being stated. While deductive learning refers to the sort of learning process where expli-cit rulers are given and learners seek to understand these rules and then product correct sentences.

Most current materials are process oriented in that they assume that teachi-ng is a matter of negotiation with learn-ers and has a concern for communicati-on, but in product oriented material, knowledge is seen as a static external entity.

Checklist for principles and approa-ches:

1.Are learners encouraged to use language creatively

In the exercise of reading activity which is mentioned above, the learners are encouraged to guess the meaning of according to the context. Its not possib-

le for learners to know the full range of meaning of a word. However, the learne-

rs can make active use of their prior knowledge such as word building rules, reading knowledge to try to finish this exercise creatively.

2.Are any learning activity pers-onalized

The direction ofthe oral practice in Unit one is:“If you are a man, are you…?” This kind of personalization helps to ensure involvement by the lear-

ners. However, this kind of method is not used very regularly in the whole exercise.

3.Is the coursebook essentially prx-ocess-oriented or product-oriented

When you go through the exercise you can find the most popular forms of exercise is either multiple choice or blank-filling items. Likewise, the key to exercise is also standard without any op-tions.This style is rigid for students which does not encourage the negotiation with learners and has no concern for c-ommunication. Therefore, it is a pity that this coursebook is essentially product-or-iented not process-oriented.

三、 Procedures for learning and teaching

Learning a new item is facilitated if the learner can relate it , through similarity, comparison or contrast, with something that is already known and familiar. The learning process is essenti-ally bound up with extending knowledge, understanding and skills from the famil-iar to the unfamiliar. Course materials may use any or all of these procedures to structure and contextualize the learni-ng process.

Checklist for learning/teaching proc-edures:

1.How are new grammar items presented and practiced

In the sentence structure practice—“be+ infinite”, firstly, according to the guidance, learners know what the gram-mar is. Then, from the models represen-ted in the following, the learners know how to use it. At last, learners are req-uired to do the rewriting sentence exer-

cise to practice this grammar. However, this format is not beneficial for English practical competence as the learners do-nt know why they use this sentence structure and in what situation..a)

2.To what extent is the present-ation and practice

Representation of the grammar rule to be learned.

3.How is new vocabulary presen-ted

The amount of new lexis to be taught in each unit is a debatable point, but in normal circumstances, the number of new words in a text should not exce-ed five percent of the total. In this cou-rsebook, words are divided into 3 clasii-fications:1) words to drill; 2) words to know; 3) words to have a nodding acqu-aintance with.

4.Are visuals used as an integral part of teaching material or are they decorative essentially

This text is a short story which gives the message: despite mens long-standing prejudice, women have great courage and presence of mind to face e-xtremely dangerous situations, but the visual is a very simple picture where there is a woman smiling confidently wi-th the arms crossed in front of her bre-ast, and behind her is a man standing coolly with the same gesture. It is the same with other visuals presented in the book. Then it may make learners feel a little bit puzzled and they usually ignore visuals. Therefore the visuals used are not very closely linked to the teaching material and are not very integral to teaching material but cant regard as decorations.

四、The students role

(1)Does the material provide addit-ional material for independent study based on material already taught?Yes, additional materials for reading, speaking and writing based on material already taught are available.

(2)If so, is guidance provided on how to proceed?Yes, there is clear dire-

ction in each part but the learners cant perceive the purpose of the additional material from the guidance when they do the job.

(3)Is there a key for self-monitori-ng?No, no key for self-monitoring behind the material or in appendixes.

五、 Study skills

The study skills focuson three di-fferent skills mainly, which is reflective, referenceand monitory skill.

1.Are students encouraged to take some degree of responsibility for their learning

In connection with guidance in the exercise of this unit, students are enco-uraged to take some degree of respons-ibility for their own learning, especially in the exercise: Usage and guided writ-ing. Learners can autonomously learn normal usage and some expressions after reading the passage in the table and in guided writing. there is a detailed writing direction about how to combine sentences with coordinating conjunctions and conj-unctive adverbs.

2.Implications for Material Deve-lopment

Upon the discussion presented in the previous section, possible adaptations for the materials are suggested as below.

(1)The importance, the purpose and specific requirements of exercises for se-lf-assessment should be made clear to the students so that they can take posi-tive attitude and cooperate with teachers.

(2)The additional material for selfmo-nitoring learning should be designed ca-refully. They should be concise and op-erable and the directions must be clearer so that students can easily answer the questions and fill in the forms.

(作者单位:Central South University,Huan University of Techology)


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