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Aptness of the Course Material in a Certain Learning/Teaching Atmosphere - Literature review Example

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The paper seeks to consolidate information from the different studies to offer a better understanding of the aptness of the course material in a certain learning/teaching atmosphere.  It is important to identify the criteria to assess material as a major step to evaluate the materials…
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Aptness of the Course Material in a Certain Learning/Teaching Atmosphere
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According to Sheldon (1998, p.242), ‘global list of criteria can never apply in most local environments, without considerable evaluation’. As a result, it can be concluded that the nature of the learning/ teaching atmosphere may vary under different circumstances. Hence, it is important to keep in mind the requirements and significance of the specific learners in certain teaching conditions when selecting the criteria for the assessment of resources. There are many guidelines and checklists for evaluating the course material aimed to meet the needs of ELT situations as proposed by the majority of different authors. In the next section, some of these criteria are discussed in detail. According to McDonough and Shaw (1993, p.66), the criteria needed to evaluate the course material are categorized into two stages, external and internal. investigate different criteria in two stages, namely the external and internal stages. According to these researchers, the proposed criteria helps in a thorough evaluation of the learning material which is considered comprehensive to meet the ELT needs of the learners and the teachers around the globe. It has been pointed out by the researchers that the evaluation process is not concrete in nature; it changes with the learning/ teaching needs. The external evaluation revolves around meeting the needs of the intended audience, the ability of the learners/teachers, the framework of the material it is based on, the arrangement and presentation of the units/lessons, the author’s analysis of language, and understanding. These are aspects to be taken into consideration when evaluating the materials to be used.
McDonough and Shaw (1993, p.75) recommended internal standards for material assessment as the arrangement of the skills, the ordering and marking of the materials, the appropriateness of reading, speaking and listening abilities involved in the resources, the association of tests and exercises to meet the needs of learners and the central focus of the course material, the suitability of the material to match the different learning styles, and how the teachers and the learners balance the use of course material in an appropriate manner. Explanation of the criteria to be used:  Selection and organization of content: It is regarded as one of the most important standards to evaluate the material. The selection and organization of content are important. McDonough and Shaw (1993, p.   ) describe that learners become more proficient in the second language when they are speaking. This situation occurs when language skills are taught in a collective manner rather separately. Level: The level to which the ELT learners can get the advantage of a coursebook is established on the suitability of the coursebook to the point that it meets the needs of the concerned students. For example, the use of grammatical features, the words, and terms to be incorporated in reading texts and the standard of lessons should be beyond the ability of the students. General Appearance: Numerous researchers have underlined the significance of the exterior of the outer look of a coursebook. McDonough and Shaw (1993, p.61) have stressed the significance of external assessment because it “offers a brief overview of the outside of the book”. They emphasize the need for a significant and critical assessment of the claims made on the outer cover of the ELT books for teachers and the students. Dougill (1987, p. ) has emphasized that coursebooks should have interactive outlay to motivate and involve the students in learning. It has been observed that students judge the book by its outer look or the cover. If it is attractive, then the possibility of students being involved and attracted to the coursebook is high. Design and Illustration: McGrath (2002, p.34) believes the clear presentation and organization as one of the characteristics that should be considered when evaluating a coursebook. Ur (1996, p.17) further affirms that “among the points of evaluating materials are the clarity of layout and print and attractiveness of the illustrations”. A teacher would feel it difficult if the textbook is vague in its layout and presentation. Similarly, students would feel difficult to take any help in their studies and homework. A clear design and appropriate presentation are significant in successful teaching and learning.  Accompanying materials: The evaluation of the course books is also dependent on the evaluation of the supplementary materials if there is any. McGrath (2002, p.36) has emphasized the same evaluation criteria to be used for the accompanying material such as teacher’s book and video and audio components. Ur (1996, p.198) affirms that the majority of the language teaching coursebooks possibly need such material to some extent. This technique can make lessons more attractive and helpful. Objectives: Each coursebook has a different set of objectives. The basic purpose of the coursebook is to accomplish those objectives. McDonough and Shaw (1993, p.70) have acknowledged that coursebooks are to be chosen on the basis of their objectives and a particular outline of the syllabus. Richards (2001, p.124) has also affirmed that the objectives of any coursebook should be precise and to the point to help the student in understanding the meaning of the language. Topic suitability: course books should consist of different themes which are diverse and attractive to students having different personalities, learning styles, and ability. Exercises and activities/tasks: It is imperative for the students to do the exercises and activities in the classroom repeatedly.  According to Jones (1999, p. ), it is compulsory for the course materials to have different activities incorporated in the coursebook to compel students to develop an interest in the material and to become more motivated. Such activities encourage students to use the learning language in a meaningful manner. Read More
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