SOME HINDRANCES IN USING READY-MADE TEXTBOOKS
POST GRADUATE PROGRAM
ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
AHMAD DAHLAN UNIVERSITY
There are three elements in teaching learning process; teachers, learners and material. A textbook is one of material used by teachers and learners to facilitate learning. A textbook is a manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study. Textbook takes important role in teaching learning process and gives so many advantages to the learners and teachers, but the use of ready-made textbook is not easy. Teachers and learners often find so many difficulties and hindrances in using ready-made textbooks. The hindrances in using textbooks come from the limitation of textbooks them self. Some hindrances in using textbooks will be explained in this paper.
Key words: hindrances, ready-made textbooks, limitation, bad effect
Textbooks play important role in teaching and learning process. Textbooks also give so many advantages for the learners and also for teachers. Textbooks may serve primarily to supplement the teacher’s instruction. For the learners, the textbooks may provide the major source of contact they have with the language apart from input provided by the teachers and they are perhaps the most important source of language input apart from contact with the teacher. For the teachers, they offer a framework of guidance and orientation.
Today, textbooks are not simply read to or by students; instead, they are enlivened by teachers, who help students construct their own meaning from the content. There is no ideal textbook, ideal for every teacher, ideal for every group of learner and ideal in every teaching situation. The book will be so ideal under certain circumstances. A textbook is only as good as the teacher who uses it. And it's important to remember that a textbook is just one tool, perhaps a very important tool, in teaching. Sometimes, teachers over-rely on textbooks and don't consider other aids or other materials for the classroom. Some teachers reject a textbook approach to learning because the textbook is outdated or insufficiently covers a topic or subject area. Although have advantages, textbooks also have limitation and negative effect. The limitation of textbooks resulting some hindrances for the learners and teachers in using ready-made textbooks.
1. TEXBOOKS LIMITATION
The use of commercial textbooks in teaching has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on how they are used and the contexts for their use. The limitations of textbooks are:
a. they may contain the inauthentic language
Textbooks sometimes present inauthentic language since texts, dialogs and other aspects of content tend to be specially written to incorporate teaching points and are often not representative of real language use.
b. textbooks may distort content
Textbooks often present an idealized view of the world or fail to represent real issues. In order to make textbooks acceptable in many different contexts controversial topics are avoided and instead and idealized white middle-class view of the world is portrayed as the norm.
c. they may not reflect the students need
Since textbooks are often written for global markets they often do not reflect the interests and needs of students and hence may require adaptation.
d. they can deskill the teacher
if teacher use textbooks as the primary source of their teaching leaving the textbooks and teacher’s manual to make the major instructional decisions for them the teacher’s role can become reduced to that of a technician whose primarily function is to present materials prepared by others.
e. they are expensive
Commercial textbooks may represent a financial burden for students in many parts of the world.
While many teachers find textbooks are:
a. inconsistent and often weak in their coverage of conceptual benchmarks in writing
b. weak in their instructional support for students and also teachers
c. provide little development in sophistication of writing ideas
The use of textbook needs to be considered, and if the textbooks that are being used in a program are judged to have some negative consequences, remedial action should be taken, for example by adapting or supplementing books or by providing appropriate guidance and support for teachers in how to use them appropriately.
It is also necessary to realize that no commercial textbook will ever be a perfect fit for a language program. Two factors are involved in the development of commercial textbooks: those representing the interests of the author and those representing the interests of the publisher. The author is generally concerned to produce a text that teacher will find innovative, creative, relevant to their learner’s need, and that they will enjoy teaching from. The author is generally hopeful that the book will be successful and make a financial profit since a large investment of the author’s personal time and effort is involved. The publisher is primarily motivated by financial success.
2. LEARNERS’ HINDRANCES IN USING READY-MADE TEXTBOOKS
Learners see textbook as a framework or guide that helps them to organize their learning both inside and outside the classroom during discussions in lessons, while doing activities and exercises, studying on their own, doing homework and preparing the tests. Textbook enables them to learn better, faster, clearer and easier. Students’ difficulty can be concluded from the weaknesses of textbook itself. They are:
Ways of Overcoming Problem
The textbook is designed as the sole source of information.
Students only see one perspective on a concept or issue.
Provide students with lots of information sources such as trade books, CD-ROMS, websites, encyclopedias, etc.
Textbook is old or outdated.
Information shared with students is not current or relevant.
Use textbook sparingly or supplement with other materials.
Textbook questions tend to be low level or fact-based.
Students assume that learning is simply a collection of facts and figures.
Ask higher-level questions and provide creative thinking and problem-solving activities.
Textbook doesn't take students' background knowledge into account.
Teacher does not tailor lessons to the specific attributes and interests of students.
Discover what students know about a topic prior to teaching. Design the lesson based on that knowledge.
Reading level of the textbook is too difficult.
Students cannot read or understand important concepts.
Use lots of supplemental materials such as library books, Internet, CD-ROMs, etc.
The textbook has all the answer to all the questions.
Students tend to see learning as an accumulation of correct answers.
Involve students in problem-solving activities, higher-level thinking questions, and extending activities.
The most important element in learning and teaching process is learners. When learners find hindrances and difficulties in using textbooks, the role of the teacher is needed. Therefore, teachers should have the option of assigning supplementary materials based on their own specific needs in their own specific teaching situation.
3. TEACHERS’ HINDRANCES IN USING READY-MADE TEXTBOOKS
For teachers, textbooks become necessary since textbooks fulfill teacher’s needs. Most of the entire textbooks provide confidence and security especially for inexperience teacher. It is ironical that those teachers who rely most heavily on the textbooks are the ones least qualified to interpret its intentions or evaluate its contents and method (William, 1985: 251). How necessary is a textbook depends on the teacher’s own teaching style.
Same as learners, teachers also use textbooks in teaching and learning process. Teachers can get so many advantages when they use textbooks. Sheldon (1988) identified three main reasons he believes textbooks are so heavily utilized for teachers. Firstly, developing their own classroom materials is an extremely difficult, arduous process for teachers. Secondly, teachers have limited time in which to develop new materials due to the nature of their profession. Thirdly, external pressures restrict many teachers.
Besides give so many advantages for the teachers, teachers also find so many hindrances in using ready-made textbooks. Some hindrances usually find by teacher in using ready-made textbooks are:
a. Teachers’ creativities are inhibited because a textbook is confining
b. Teacher may find themselves as mediators with no free hand and slave, in fact, to others’ judgments about what is good and what is not
c. Teachers will be so difficult in selecting appropriate textbooks for their students because every group of students has different needs, and no one textbook can be a response to all differing need
Those hindrances above can be avoided if teacher can use textbooks wisely. When thinking about teachers want to use textbooks, consider the following:
a. Use the textbook as a resource for students, but not the only resource.
b. Use a textbook as a guide, not a mandate, for instruction.
c. Be free to modify, change, eliminate, or add to the material in the textbook.
d. Supplement the textbook with lots of outside readings.
e. Supplement teacher information in the textbook with teacher resource books; attendance at local, regional, or national conferences; articles in professional periodicals; and conversations with experienced teachers.
Those considerations above will help teacher before using textbooks. Those hindrances and difficulties in using textbooks can be minimized. In using textbooks, there are some roles and tasks are needed. They are:
a. Evaluating textbooks
b. Selecting textbooks
c. Adapting textbooks
d. Developing textbooks
e. Monitoring the use of textbooks
f. Improving textbooks through professional knowledge
Textbooks play important role in language teaching and provide a useful resource for both teacher and learner. Textbooks should be regarded as one of the many sources teachers can draw upon in creating effective lesson, but teachers need training and experience in adapting and modifying textbooks as well as in using authentic materials and in creating their own teaching materials.
Textbooks give a big contribution to the learners and also to the teachers. For the learners, the textbooks may provide the major source of contact they have with the language apart from input provided by the teachers and they are perhaps the most important source of language input apart from contact with the teacher. For the teachers, they offer a framework of guidance and orientation. It is not easy in using textbooks because textbooks also have limitation, weaknesses and bad effects. Textbooks limitations and weaknesses are bringing learners and teachers to some hindrances in using textbooks. The hindrances and difficulty can be minimized if teachers and also institution do the roles wisely.
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