09 SES 12 B, Analyzing Text Books and other Educational Material
Due to the fact that English works as a lingua franca throughout the world, teaching and learning English has been quite significant so as to be able connect with people from other countries. The process of learning and teaching English is comprised of three components; the teacher, the students and the materials. Textbooks are the ultimate materials that are used in a language program. They not only yield a clear framework for teachers but also serve as useful guidelines by including a balanced presentation of language content. Textbooks have always been considered as the main sources of input for the learners in second and foreign language settings. Also, the content of the textbooks is used to develop and evaluate the language skills of the learners.
Moreover, textbooks gain much more importance in assessment of the learners since they provide the materials to be evaluated. Assessment as one of the cornerstones of the learning process reveals whether the learning process results in success or failure (Dochy 2009; Kozhageldiyeva 2005). More specifically, the increase of young language learners (YLLs) in primary schools created a need for research both in instruction and assessment of YLL (McKay, 2006; Alderson and Banerjee, 2001). Yang (2008) points out that since the 1990s, two main themes are the main focus of the research in YLL assessment: what YLL language skills should be assessed and how the assessment of YLLs takes place.
For Turkey context, the 2013 English Language Teaching Program (ELTP) is regarded as a curriculum reform in Turkish education context and it highlights communication and communicative aspects of English are again emphasized in the new system (MoNE, 2013). Also, with the 2013 ELTP, Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) was taken into core of English language education and some terms such as learner autonomy, self-assessment and student tasks are heavily emphasized (Kirkgoz, 2016). With this educational reform, primary school students start learning English at 2nd grade, which also means that the age to start learning English was lowered to 6- 6.5 years of age (MoNE, 2013).
This new program focuses on communication rather than traditional, grammar-based language teaching. As a result, the 2nd and 3rd grade ELTPs focus mainly on listening and speaking skills and developing listening and speaking skills plays an important role in the language learning process and these skills are heavily emphasized in the program content.
Although on the early stages of the program, specifically the 2nd and the 3rd grades, young learners of English are not tested by any summative testing procedures (McKay, 2006), formative testing mechanisms work in cooperation with regular in and outside-the-class tasks to create positive attitudes, beliefs and motives toward learning English.
Therefore, textbooks gain much more importance on these grades since they serve formative testing process as assessment materials for teachers to assess the students. Teachers are supposed to use textbooks and follow the ELTP program outcomes, tasks and assignments.
Hence, this study aims to evaluate the textbooks used on 2nd and 3rd grades whether they serve the outcomes of each unit and have enough tasks and activities to assess the learners. It also specifically intends to find the strengths and weaknesses of the textbooks by comparing each unit with ELTP such as learning outcomes, suggested contexts, tasks, and assignments.
Data were compiled from EFL Teaching Programme prepared by MoNE in Turkey retrieved from the official website of the ministry. Data will be analyzed through document analysis method, which is a systematic procedure for reviewing or evaluating documents—both printed and electronic (computer-based and Internet-transmitted) material to produce rich descriptions of an event or program (Bowen, 2009). Document analysis is often used in combination with other qualitative research methods as a means of triangulation—‘the combination of methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon’ (Denzin, 1970, p. 291). The qualitative researcher is expected to draw upon multiple (at least two) sources of evidence; that is, to seek convergence and validation through the use of different data sources and methods. Apart from documents, such sources include interviews, participant or non-participant observation, and physical artifacts (Yin,1994). Two textbooks will be evaluated and in each book there are ten units. 20 units in total will be evaluated according to 85 intended learning outcomes mentioned in EFL Teaching Programme. Also the activities and tasks in the textbooks will be evaluated according to suggested contexts, tasks and assignments and they will be analysed to reveal whether they are designed to improve students’ communicative competence in EF and to meet the intended learning outcomes. Moreover, a semi-structured interview will be done with 5 English teachers. The interview schedules consist of demographical and open-ended questions related to whether activities and tasks are sufficient to assess the students’ speaking and listening skills. All the interviews will be transcribed verbatim. The data will be analyzed through content analysis by searching for patterns and synthesizing them. In addition to the interviews, textbook evaluation related to EFL Teaching Programme will also be analyzed and inferences will be made with reference to existing literature and the results of this study.
Although it is too early to make conclusions, the results of this study may be very useful to see whether the textbooks serve the purpose of the programme and meet the assessment criteria and have enough activities and tasks to assess the students’ speaking and listening skills. Also, we expect that the study may have implications for improving the textbooks mainly by addressing several factors (e.g., different types of activities, in or out of classroom assignments ) which have an effect on improving formative assessment.
Alderson, J. C., & Banerjee, J. (2001). Language testing and assessment (Part I). Language Teaching, 34(4), 213-236. Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative research journal, 9(2), 27-40. Crooks, T. J. 1988. The impact of classroom evaluation practices on students. Review of Educational Research, 58/4: 438-481. Denzin, N. (1970). Strategies of multiple triangulation. The research act in sociology: A theoretical introduction to sociological method, 297, 313. Dochy, F. (2001). A new assessment era: different needs, new challenges. Learning and Instruction, 10, 11-20. Dorr-Bremme, D. 1983. Assessing students: Teachers‟ routine practices and reasoning. Evaluation Comment, 6/4: 1-12. Glenn A. Bowen, (2009) "Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 9 Issue:2, pp.27-40, https://doi.org/10.3316/QRJ0902027 Kırkgöz, Y. (2017). Development and Assessment of a Foreign Language Curriculum for Primary Education in Turkey. Handbook of Research on Program Development and Assessment Methodologies in K-20 Education, 321. Kozhageldyeva, L. 2005. Importance of Testing and Evaluation in Foreign Language Teaching: A Suggested Syllable for a Testing Course in EFL Departments in Kazakhstan Universities. MA Thesis, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. McKay, P. (2006). Assessing young learners. Assessing Young Learners. Cambridge: CUP. Newfields, T. 2006. Teacher development and assessment literacy. Authentic Communication: Proceedings of the 5th Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference. May 13-14, 2006. Shizuoka, Japan: Tokai University College of Marine Science, pp. 48-73. Stiggins, R. J. 1999. Evaluating classroom assessment training in teacher education programs. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, Spring 1999: 23-27. Yang, T. L. (2008). EFL teachers’ multiple classroom assessment practices of young language learners. Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 9, 139-176. Yin, R. K. (1994). Discovering the future of the case study. Method in evaluation research. Evaluation practice, 15(3), 283-290.
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