Teaching the Coursebook vs. Teaching Your Students


Coursebooks suck. Most teachers I know don’t like the coursebook they use. Some actively hate it, and blame it for making their lives worse. They say it’s irrelevant to their students. Linguistically it’s too easy or too difficult for 80% of the class. Culturally there’s no point of connection for students (they’re not middle class American kids).

Also, it’s just ‘plain boring’.

To put it another way; why should you put the whims of some writer you’ve never met above what you know your students need, right now?

Talk about demotivating your students.

As a teacher you have to balance teaching the coursebook (because students’ parents get upset when you don’t) with making sure your students learn something whilst staying motivated.

So how do you balance the two?

Balancing Teaching the Coursebook and Students

Teach the least amount of the coursebook that you can get away with.

Controversial, I know.

If you have a forward thinking academic manager, have that conversation with them. How many pages per chapter need to be filled in for parents not to complain? Can you set all of those for homework?

A More Ambitious Approach

Educate your customers about what makes for good teaching.

Not strict adherence to the textbook, but paying attention to what your students need to learn. Finding ways to motivate them so they use English outside the classroom. Building rapport with them in class so they want to speak English.

Can you hold a parent workshop? Can your academic manager?

This is actually a tough sell to your school management and your customers, as the coursebook is most likely used as a sales tool to entice the customer to buy.

How do you balance teaching the coursebook and responding to your students’ needs?