How To Teach Speaking (HOW) by Scott Thornbury

By Scott Thornbury

Find out how to educate conversing increases a teacher's wisdom in this the most important topic and supply principles to take and use at school.

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Various forms of adaptation are possible. Adding material to address an examination requirement: sometimes supplementary material may need to be added to address the requirements of a specific institutional or other exam. For example, the reading component of an institutional text may make use of multiple-choice questions rather than the kinds of comprehension tasks found in a coursebook, so extra material to practise using multiple-choice questions may be needed. Extending to provide additional practice: a book unit has a limited number of pages and at times the teacher may source other materials for the additional practise of grammar, vocabulary, or skills to supplement the book.

The Canadian specialists stress the impact of ‘properly designed teaching materials’ (1980: 393) on ELT in developing countries. The power attributed to teaching materials to effect a change in EFL, even if taught through more ‘traditional’ teaching approaches, is questionable since teachers adapt materials when planning classes and teaching, so it is not uncommon for instructors to use teaching materials in ways very different from those conceived by their authors. In our contemporary understanding the cases described above are examples of unsuccessful attempts to impose change from the top-down to solve, what is perceived as, a problem and we agree with Widdowson’s assertion that ‘the local contexts of actual practice are to be seen not as constraints to be overcome but conditions to be satisfied’ (2004: 369).

Consequently a teacher’s decision not to use a textbook may actually be ‘a touch of imperialism’ ... because it retains control in the hands of the teacher rather than the learner. In this chapter we will explore the process of textbook development and issues involved in selecting and evaluating textbooks in language programs. Types of published materials A few minutes browsing in any ELT catalogue will reveal a wide range of textbooks and materials to support every type of teaching and learning situation.

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