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1. Coverage.

Any single unit of a course book should cover a fair range of language content and skills.

  1. Texts. – Are the texts of an appropriate level? Are they interesting? Varied?

  2. Tasks (activities, exercises) – Do the tasks provide opportunities for plenty of use of the target language? Are they heterogeneous, allowing for responses at different levels? Do they cover a satisfactory range of language items and skills? Are they interesting? Are they relevant and useful for your classes? Is there a balance between accuracy and fluency practice: that is to say, activities whose objective is the production of correct language forms, and those whose objective is communicative language use?

2. Educational Technology and Other Teaching Equipment

To teach a FL effectively the teacher needs teaching aids. By teaching aids we mean various devices which can help the foreign language teacher in presenting linguistic material to his pupils and fixing it in their memory.

Computers

Computers are seen by many as an important teaching aid. These days learners need to be 'computer literate', and since computers use language it would seem logical to take advantage of them for language learning. They enable individual work, since learners can progress at their own pace, and many programs include a self-check facility. Also, younger and adolescent learners in particular find the use of computers attractive and motivating. However, it takes time to train both teachers and students in their use; and in practice a lot of time in a computer lesson often goes on setting up programs, getting students into them, and then solving problems with moving from one stage, or one program, to another.

For teachers who are familiar with their use computers can be invaluable for preparing materials such as worksheets or tests.

Books

Books are very user-friendly 'packages' of material: they are light, easily scanned, easily stacked and do not need hardware or electricity. They are still the most convenient and popular method of packaging large texts, and a library of them is arguably the best way for learners to acquire a wide experience of foreign language reading.

It is very useful to have a collection of reference books, extra textbooks and teachers' handbooks easily available to the teaching staff; and regular reading of a professional journal can inject new ideas and update teachers on current thinking.

Overhead projectors

These are useful for presenting visual or written material to classes: they are more vivid and attention-catching than the black- or whiteboards. They also save lesson time, since you can prepare the displays in advance. However, this does mean added work in preparation! Another disadvantage is the need to carry the OHP from class to class, unless each classroom has its own - which true only of the more affluent institutions. And of course, like any other electrical equipment, OHP’s are vulnerable to breakdowns: electricity failure.

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