To make the textbook useful for the students and the teachers’ the following Qualities of A good Textbook should be taken into consideration. No textbook will be perfect, unless it has these characteristics.
Fixing the objectives
Obviously, the textbook should aim at teaching the materials that have to be taught to the class. If our aim is to teach our pupils to read and write English, a book which has been written for an aural oral approach will not be suitable. Adaptation will not help. Even if the pupil reads the dialogues out of the book and copies them a hundred times on paper, he will never learn the correct forms of written English.
We shall be very happy, if we find a book whose objectives are exactly the same as our own, but some materials will be better than others. This means that the amount of adaptation and extra material to be provided by the teacher will be highly valuable.
The vocabulary and constructions are what we often call the linguistic content of the book. There is also the option of to be examined thematic content. Some themes are almost always right for a child: the home, the school, games, the wonders of science. Others are suitable only for particular groups. Nor is it enough for a book simply to have the right thematic content?
Both linguistic and thematic content must be; right. If the linguistic content is poor, the teacher will have to do a great deal of adaptation. He will constantly have to add the book by creating exercises to fill the gaps, and lit’ will constantly have to add to the children’s knowledge by explaining items which the book contains but which he judges not worth teaching for active use.
If the thematic content is poor, the children will be the ones who have to make the extra effort, the effort to remain interested in activities when the materials do not provide the stimulus.
Grading the Structures
A good English textbook should put emphasis on gradation of the structures. The new vocabulary and structural items must be introduced and taught at any cost.
Subject Matter to be Presented
The presentation of subject matter is the most important step in text-book writing. Presentation refers to the communication of knowledge. In most cases, it will be the teacher who communicates the new information to the pupils, either directly or indirectly. A good teacher can do this whatever book the class is using. It is, however, much easier to make a good presentation if the material in the book helps It. For example, in recent years there has been more emphasis on the inductive approach to teach grammatical principles.
That is to say, the teacher moves from many particular examples to a few general ideas. He does this rather than teaching the rules first and then giving illustrations. The most important things which should be checked in evaluating a book for good presentation is contextualization. It is not enough for an author to provide a dozen examples of how a grammatical construction works. The examples must also “have some meaning for the pupils. It is the meaning which allows the pupil to understand the linguistic feature, not vice versa.
How Qualities Of A Good Textbook makes you a better Teacher
Repetition of New Structures and Vocabulary Items
In language teaching, therefore, the new structures and words once presented in interesting situations, should be repeated a number of times afterwards in a variety of situations. Such repetitions should be properly spaced for fixing the structures and the words firmly in the pupils’ minds. It has been suggested by some enlightened teachers and Meteorologists that a new linguistic item should be repeated at least four times in the lesson in which it has been introduced for the first lime and about ten times in subsequent lessons.
Achievement of Target
The English text-book should clearly state the target to be in achieved by the end of the year and from lesson to lesson in terms of phonetics, grammatical and lexical items. There should be a clear indication to this effect in the list of contents at the beginning of the book and either at the beginning or at the end of each lesson.
A good English text-book should be fully illustrated. The illustrations should be drawn correctly, relevant to the situations presented in the reading material. A few colored plates should also be there in the book.
Exercises at the end of the Lesson
The content and the language material in each lesson should be further practiced and tested through a variety of interesting and graded exercises at the end of each lesson. There should be sufficient and suitable teaching and testing exercises on each lesson. The instruction for each lesson should be simple enough for the students to understand. Until or unless it is very difficult to evaluate the materials contained in the book, a book of exercise a supplementary reader or composition course.
However, the teacher has to make his choice, based upon the best evaluation he can carry out he begins to teach a course for the first time.