Values and Student Course Books in the UK

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Values and Student Course Books in the UK

Unread postby JeanPaul » 07 Dec 2012, 20:07

I've just been having a discussion about values and certain student course books because I truly think it concerns everyone involved with TEFL. Here are my comments in response to another teacher's who made some compelling arguments about the content of the new editions of New Headway : Yes, there really needs to be discussion about some of the EFL course books around nowadays like that New Headway edition and "New English File". I’m quite astonished at the NEF’s "authors" lack of honesty and humane standards, and I'm quite appalled by the shallow ideologies in a few course books now - anyone with a job in the media has to be worshipped and emulated not for who they are or what they do but just because they are would-be famous (where are the ordinary people who lead ordinary sometimes not-so-perfect lives, who sometimes fall on hard times, like you and I and the students in class?), the belief that everyone in this country is incredibly wealthy, that all you need to do is spend that spare £1k on a holiday and your life will suddenly be transformed into what you always dreamt it would, that students should be shocked and startled by obtrusive ghastly images of others because students are naturally lazy and need their senses blasted before they'll get engaged. To mention just three examples from New English File : Take a lesson entitled "How to Edit your Friends" - say two students looked at that and started laughing with each other about how they'd maltreated one of their "friends" - how can anyone justify teaching such a lesson? Or take one called "How X changed her job from librarian to political reporter in just 28 days" - suppose one of your students or one of their relatives is a librarian – Are they to be shamed for their “worthless” job?; Or take the "cartoons" that in the NEF Upper Intermediate book look as if they've been lifted from some sinister Video Nasty – personally I think most young adult students are more moved by wanting things to be better in the world, however naively, and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. I could go on and on with examples of the amoral and infantile (no disrespect to infants) attitudes of these "authors". What must non-native speakers think of the English? When I think of all the absolutely superb EFL books that were around in the 80s and early 90s (Cambridge English; Streamline; some but not all of Mario's exercises; some of the Pilgrims books, it seems such a shame that the excellent work they published has been to a certain extent ignored instead of built upon. At least Ann Baker's still around, Murphy (although restrictive) is still here, and Jim Scrivener's book is still selling well. What do people in the UK, Australia, the US, New Zealand, India etc think?

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