An Evaluation of the English Foreign Language Textbook “Getting Through” of the Algerian Second Year Secondary School: The Case of Setif Secondary School Teachers
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العدد 24 جوان 2017 N° 24 Juin 2017

An Evaluation of the English Foreign Language Textbook “Getting Through” of the Algerian Second Year Secondary School: The Case of Setif Secondary School Teachers

Mouloud AIT AISSA
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تتعلق هذه الدراسة بتقييم كتاب اللغة الإنجليزيةللسنةالثانية من التعليم الثانوي في الجزائر. حيثتهدف إلى تفحص جودة الكتاب المدرسي منخلال عشرة معايير. اعتمدت الدراسة في جمع البيانات على استبيانوزع على60 مدرسا اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية. حيث كشفت النتائج بأن الكتاب المدرسي يفتقر إلى عدد من المعايير الهامة المتعلقة بـواجهة معلوماتية جذابة، لغة غنية، وأنشطة كافية للمهارات الإنتاجية وطرق للتدريس غنية ومتنوعة، وهيمنة أساليب التدريس الحديثة على القديمة. وعلى ضوءهذه النقائص أوردالباحث بعض التوصيات لتطوير المبادئ النظرية والاستراتيجيات العملية لمعالجة أوجه القصور في الكتاب المدرسي.

La présente étude évalue le manuel scolaire d’anglais  comme langue étrangère« Getting Through» de la deuxième année secondaire de l’école algérienne. Cette recherche vise à étudier la qualité du manuel en fonction de dix critères. Les données sont collectées par le biais d’un questionnaire distribué à 60enseignants d’anglais comme langue étrangère. Les résultats ont révélé que le manuel manquait d'un certain nombre de critères importants, comme une mise en page informative, un langage riche, des activités suffisantes pour les compétences productives, des méthodes d'enseignement riches et variées et la prédominance des méthodes d'enseignement modernes par rapport aux méthodes anciennes. Cette carence a permis de proposer quelques recommandations pour développer les principes théoriques et les stratégies pratiques qui permettent de mettre en œuvre les nouvelles idées.

The present study evaluates the English Foreign Language textbook “Getting Through” for the Algerian second year secondary school. It aims at exploring the quality of the textbook in relation to ten criteria. The data are collected through a questionnaire administered to60EFL teachers. The findings revealed that the textbook lacked a number of important criteria such as: an informative layout, rich language, sufficient activities for the productive skills, rich and varied teaching methods, and the dominance of the modern teaching approaches over traditional approaches.This deficiency made it possible to suggest some recommendations to develop the theoretical principles and practical strategies that make it possible to put the new ideas into effects.

Despite the fact that the new triggers of technology have introduced multiple means into the classroom settings and allowed teachers and learners to make use of them and reach a fruitful interaction, published textbooks are still the most commonly used source for most instructional situations. In the English Foreign Language Algerian secondary school classes, the situation is similar; just after independence many EFL textbooks are regularly published in order to meet the changing demands of the Algerian EFL learners. In addition, since English in Algeria is considered as a Foreign Language, learners have little opportunity to use it outside classroom settings. Thus, textbooks undertake a more important role for both teachers and learners to interact and see thetextbook as the only available source that help them to undertake the process of interaction. As a result, it is reasonable to argue that the good quality of the EFL education depends largely on the good quality of the textbooks. In other words, the general principle that governsthe process of EFL teaching and learning in Algeria is whether or not high quality textbooks are made available to teachers and learners.

 In this respect, it is apparently understood that whenever any failure or difficulty is observed in the EFL classroom, the quality of the textbooks is the first factor that seems to be held responsible. Consequently, it is safe to claim that the quality of the textbooks has direct implications on the overall achievements of the EFLeducation. Furthermore, the present research work is concerned with the issue that many EFL teachers complain all the time about the nature and quality of the textbooks. On the basis of that, this study adopts a critical analysis into the second level secondary school textbook“Getting Through” to find out points of weaknesses and strengths. To sum up, this study will shed light on the quality of the in-use textbook in relation to ten criteria with an idea to sort out from the teachers’ opinions the likely results and recommendations forimprovements.   

The job of introducing any textbook requires a systematic evaluation. That is why, when designing EFL textbooks, it is important to consider EFL teachers’ thoughts, observations, and perspectives about the quality of the textbooks. In other words, teachers should be given active roles in the evaluation process. These active roles are assigned due to them on the basis that they are the immediate users of the target textbooks, as well as they spend most of the time with textbooks thus; they are considered as the most knowledgeable about the quality of the textbooks. 

Questions of the study

The present study is concerned with a macro analysis of the EFL textbook “Getting Through”. The main question is about the macro way in which EFL teachers evaluate the target textbook while the sub-specific research questions are listed below:

1To what extent is the textbook effective according to the layout and appearance?

2To what extent is the textbook effective according to the clarity of illustrations?

3To what extent is the textbook effective according to the clarity of instructions?

4To what extent is the textbook effective according to the language typed used?

5To what extent is the textbook effective according to the subjects, topics and contents?

6To what extent is the textbook effective according to the four language skills?

7To what extent is the textbook effective according to the clarity of objectives?

8To what extent is the textbook effective according to the teaching methods?

9To what extentis the textbook effective according to the flexibility?

10                     To what extent is the textbook effective according to the socio-cultural contexts?

 

 

1. Literature Review

1. 1. Textbook Evaluation

The term “evaluation” is widely used in the field of applied linguistics.It isexplained that evaluation is a procedure to measure the value of the learning materials to make judgments about the effect of the materials on the people using them.(Tomlinson (2003)[i] In this study, the process of evaluation is concerned with the EFL textbook “Getting Through” from EFL teachers.

Textbook’s evaluation is basically a straightforward, analytical “matching process: matching needs to available solutions”. Hutchinson (1987)[ii] It is about making judgments about the quality of the textbook by using a particular research tool for the sake of making improvements to the quality of the textbooks. 

As far as textbooks evaluation is concerned, it can be predictive evaluation, ongoing evaluation and retrospective evaluation. Cunningsworth (1995)[iii] The predictive evaluationis often impressionistic and rather aiming at establishing the future or potential performance of newly designed textbooks. They state that it “involves making predictions about the potential value of materials for their users”. The second type is known “as in-use evaluation which involves measuring the value of the textbook either by using it or by observing it being used. It is more objective and reliable. This type is done throughout the period it is used and re-evaluated to determine suitability and teachers can benefit from its evaluation by making the textbooks more productive and their teaching more effective by identifying parts of the textbook that need adaptation. (Mukunan,2007)[iv]

Tomlinson has listed some basic points that can be taken into consideration in whilst evaluating. These are: clarity of instruction, clarity of layout, clarity of objectives, credibility of tasks, achievement of performance, practicality of the materials, flexibility of the materials, motivating power of the materials and impact of the materials. Tomlinson(2003)[v]     

The third type is known as the “post-use evaluation”. It is certainly more valuable than the previous two types but the least administered type of evaluation because it allows the actual effects of a textbook on its users showing its intrinsic value (Ibid). This type also “provides retrospective assessment of a course-book’s performance and can be useful for identifying strengths and weaknesses which emerge over a period of continuous use”. (Cunningsworth, 1995)[vi]

1.2. Description of the Criteria to be used in the Study

The following ten criteria have appeared to be among the most important ones for good textbooks. The common criteria with regard to the underlying principles for each are explained briefly in one paragraph and they are referred to in bold type:

Any textbook evaluation in terms of the General Designmust cover a wide range of aspects such as attractiveness, font size, type used, tables of contents, unit’s titles, lesson’s titles, adequate vocabulary, adequate bibliography, consistency in headings, colors, and units’ formats. In more proper words, the general layout has impacts on the teaching and learning outcomes. In this respect, a number of researchers put emphasis on the question of textbooks’ design and appearance from different perspectives as practical criteria for evaluating the quality of textbooks. It is pointed out that attention must be put on these criterions in order to ensure the question whether textbooks are successful or not. Furthermore, Sheldon (1988) argues that the textbooks must be informative and thought provoking[vii].

In order for the EFL textbook authors to communicate effectively the different essence of the concepts and emotions and make them clearer to the target populations, they need to integrate the use of pictures, diagrams, posters, flash cards, graphs, and all other visuals. Regarding this issue, Illustrationscan be considered as the most important aspects of good textbooks. Sheldon (1987) also states that one picture may be worth a thousand words and they should serve a particular pedagogical function[viii]. They are considered as an integral part of any EFL textbook in the sense that they should appeal to the learners; be so simple that they can be easily comprehensible and should be related to the subject matter at hand.

 Another germane criterion for evaluating EFL textbooks is checking the extent of Presence of the Instructions. EFL textbooks should have clear instructional, that is, both teachers and learners should be able to understand what is expected in each activity, lesson, and unit. They argue that clear instructions can facilitate learning and teaching processes if they really meet learners’ and teachers’ readiness to interact in a wide range of linguistic and real-life contexts. (Tomlinson, 2003)[ix] In relation to this, another researcher points out that textbooks should inform about the order in which various activities should be done and how they are to be done, and what medium they should be done, and finally how much time they might take. (Dickinson, 1991)[x] They also point out that most of the pedagogical outcomes are efficient when instructions are well written and vice versa. Therefore, EFL textbooks are expected to incorporate direct, easy, simple, sufficient, and clear instructions. (Tomlinson,1998)[xi]      

TheLanguage Typeused in textbooks should consider a number of matters such as whether the input is authentic or not, whether it meets learners’ levels or not, whether it covers widely the language skills or not, and whether it is realistic or not. In fact, any EFL textbooks should have correct, recent, authentic and standard English. The language input in textbooks must be comprehensive and it should meet the learners’ abilities. They states that textbooks can be enriched through the use of authentic, clear, direct, simple, and realistic inputs (Cunningsworth, 1995)[xii] Another one elaborates the advantages of authentic, clear language input in EFL textbooks as follows;

·  They have positive effect on the learners motivation;

·  They provide exposure to real language situations;

·  They support a more creative approach to language teaching. (Richards,201)[xiii]   

 Another criterion is the appropriateness of the Subjects, Topics and Contentsto the interests of the target populations. They think that EFL teachers and learners attend classroom context with myriad attributes such as knowledge, attitudes, skills, cognitive ability, and experience. (Cunningsworth,1995)[xiv] Consequently, textbooks can expand learners’ interest by including subject matters and topics which are relevant, informative, challenging, interesting, varied, and appealing. Therefore, the contents selection should avoid potentially embarrassing topics. Furthermore, he contends that the good selection of the subjects, topics and contents can appeal learners to think for themselves around the topics (Ibid). So, textbooks of this type can provide much of the stimulation which finally develops in them the spirit of being more independent and be critical thinkers. This criterion without doubt contributes effectively to make all the objectives of the EFL teaching and learning easy to reach.             

As far as EFL textbooks are concerned, the Language four Skills should be introduced in an integrated way since many situations require the use of many different skills at the same time. For many scholars, evaluating these skills is essential to decide about the quality of the textbooks. For this reason, it is believed that among the most important point in textbook’s quality is a kind of enough and balance materials between skills. Language is a combination of integrated skills where each language skill depends on another one. (Tomlinson, 1988)[xv] Others suggest some effective language lessons that help to develop the integration of language skills. Some of the lessons are; task continuity, real world tasks, problem solving, role play, etc. it is important for EFL textbook to incorporate these lessons for the integration of both productive and receptive language skills. (Nunan (1989)[xvi] and McDonagh, 1993)[xvii]

Objectivesare important features in any textbook so it is imperative to check their presence and evaluate their quality in textbooks. A researcher identifies the urgent need for thorough coverage of course objectives in the textbook. She states that when learners know why and what they are learning it makes their job more purposeful and meaningful. (Ur,1996)[xviii] In the same respect, another one emphasizes that any content must be decided on the basis of the assigned objectives in the sense of providing both teachers and learners with a clear path of where they are going and what they can expect to achieve at the end (Cunningsworth, (1995)[xix] For this, it seems that it is essential for both teachers and learners to be clear aware about all the types of objectives of the unit and lesson in order to develop their responsibilities. This study considers the clarity of objectives as criterion of textbook evaluation through a set of sub-questions and attempts to evaluate them according to teachers’ opinions.      

The question of teachers’ needs in terms of Teaching Methodsand role must be considered. Teachers’ must be given an important role in the context of EFL classroom because they act as mediators between the textbooks and learners, and also they are among the users of textbooks. (Al-sowat, 2012)[xx] Due to the fact that teachers spend a lot of time with the textbooks either in front of the learners or during preparation so they can have powerful role. It is difficult to make learners like what the teachers themselves do not like in the sense that teachers select from the textbooks’ contents only what they like, understand, and believe to deliver and tend to put aside what they dislike. (McGrath, 2002)[xxi] The researcher believes that teachers’ perspectives are important since it is concerned with textbook evaluation. The current study tries to sort out teachers’ opinions about the teaching methods adopted in the textbooks. It seeks to evaluate the following points;

-          whether the teaching methods are the latest ones,

-          whether the teaching used in textbooks are learners’-centered,

-          whether the teaching methods meet learners’ expectations, learning styles and levels,

-          Whether the teaching methods used are easily manageable by teachers.              

Flexibilityis another criterion of evaluation. Textbooks’ flexibility and adaptability to the learners’ needs and levels is among the major signs of a good textbook. (Sheldon, 1988)[xxii] The textbook should be flexible and easy to modify according to the learners’ needs and to the triggers of the practical problems that may appear from time to time. They explain that good textbooks should be flexible and appeal to different styles and strategies, and should not favor one type or level of learner over others. (Richards, 2001)[xxiii] Consequently, teachers can deal successfully with any possible emerging teaching situation. In this respect, textbooks have to provide a variety of activities based on thorough understanding of learners’ needs at large. In order to ensure that textbooks consider the question of learners’ autonomy the current study integrates a number of points such as the usefulness of textbooks, different learning styles, different learning levels, and self-check progress into the evaluation process.         

On a more practical plan, it is important to ensure that the textbook sets its materials in Social and Cultural Contextsthat are comprehensible. The textbook will directly or indirectly communicate set of social and cultural values. (Cunningsworth, 1995)[xxiv] Based on the relationship between language and culture, many scholars believe that communication might be broken down if cultural and social constraints are not taken into account. Moreover, the textbooks should be culturally and socially suitable to the learners. Therefore, it is high illuminating to look at textbooks how they represent people according to their ethnic origin, social class, culture, etc. Furthermore, they state that the home culture and the target culture should be integrated in the textbooks. In other words, learners should discover both themselves and the target cultures through the textbooks. (Al-sowat, 2012)[xxv]     

2. Research methodology

2. 1. Research Instrument “Questionnaire”

In order to answer the research questions of the study, a questionnaire was employed to collect data from the points of views of EFL teachers. The questionnaire contained ten questions in which each one is concerned with one criterion of evaluation.The questionnaire is one of the common tools which are used to gather and describe the characteristics and opinions of teachers or any other people who are important to the study[xxvi]. So it is the most appropriate tool since it can be easily administered and can gather sufficient and relevant data.  

Most of the items in the questionnaire were adapted and modified from the criteria used to evaluate EFL textbooks from a number of related studies. The researcher used checklists of Cunningsworth (1995), Tomlinson (1998), Richard (2001), Abraha (2008), and Alsowat (2012). The questionnaire is composed of two sections. The first one is about background information while the second is about the ten criteria of evaluation determined in the literature review. The questionnaire was designed according to Likertscale which is the most frequently applied scaling technique in educational research. With this scale the participants respond to a set of statements on a given topic in which they choose the response that most represents their feelings. (Siniscalco and Auriat, 2005)[xxvii]. This study aims at evaluating the opinions of EFL teachers towards the quality of EFL “Getting Through” textbook.  

2. 2. Population and Sampling


A total number of 60EFL male and female teachers sorted out of 300EFL teachers from Setif, Algeria secondary schools participated in the study. They were chosen randomly from the whole population. They also were asked to fill in the questionnaire carefully and express their opinions about the quality of the textbook they are using. It is worth to mention that all the teachers are using the same textbook for the second level secondary school as it is also the only textbook approved by the Ministry of National Education. The research used the frequencies and percentages to classify the teachers’ demographic information in the Figures and below.

The figure above showed the differences between participants in relation to the factor of academic degree. Teachers’ answers showed that there are three categories of EFL teachers. The first category is about those EFL teachers who have License degree with a total number of 30(50%) as the most dominant category. Then, it is followed by those EFL teachers who have both Master and ENS Certificate with the total of 12(20.00%) respectively. To conclude, these statistics may reflect a variety of opinions according to the distribution of the sample over the variable of academic degree.           

The figure above showed the differences between participants in relation to the factor of professional experience in years. Teachers’ answers showed that there are three categories of EFL teachers. The first category is those EFL teachers who have from 1to 10years of experience with a total number of 36(60%) as the most dominant category. Then, it is followed by those EFL teachers who have experienced the act of teaching EFL from 10to 20years and also form 20to 30years with the total number of 12(20.00%) respectively. To conclude, these statistics may reflect a variety of opinions according to the dominance category.

2. 3. Description of the Textbook

 “Getting Through” is the official EFL textbook for the second year of secondary education. It complies with the curriculum designed and issued by the Ministry of national Education in December 2005.It keeps the procedures used in the First Year Textbook with reference to the competency-based approach. It is organized in eight didactic units, turning around a specific topic suggested by the syllabus designers. The units’ titles are as follows: “Signs of the Time”, “Make Peace”, “Waste not, Want not”, “Budding Scientist”, “News and Tales”, “No Man is an Island”, “Science or Fiction”, and “Business is Business” Getting Through(2006)[i].

2. 4. Data Collection Procedures

The questionnaire of the present study is a group-administered. The EFL teachers are brought together at a common place and time, and each respondent is asked to complete the questionnaire. The respondents take the questionnaire’s sheet and they were free to enter the responses. This format is convenient for the researcher, and high response rates assured. (Bhattacherjee,2012)[ii]

This procedure is conducted with the help of an EFL inspector who takes in charge the process of explaining the questionnaire’s topic and content. The researcher has chosen this procedure because; first, it saves more time and efforts. Second, it is done instead of visiting each secondary school. Finally, it facilitates the process since the inspector has a direct contact with the sample and at the same time has a good relationship with them which, in return, makes teachers respond positively.    

2. 5. Data Analysis Procedures

The study produced both qualitative and quantitative data through teachers’ questionnaire. Frequencies and percentages were used to calculate each question and item in order to describe the macro picture of how the EFL teachers rated the textbook. The obtained data were analyzed on the basis of the following procedures:

Ø      Data organization: in this step the data are ordered in tables and figures according to the nature of questions and items. The data were organized on the basis of the similar answers. This step helps the researcher to find a way for summarizing the meaningful data and at the same time for eliminating the meaningless data.

Ø      Data description: this step involves the process of reading the data depicted in the tables and figures through frequencies and percentages. In short, it is about explaining the data using words, expressions and statements instead of numbers and symbols. This step joins the previous steps with the subsequent steps and contributes to add some meaning to the data. In addition, in order to further organize the data, the researcher combines throughout the study the scale range “strongly agree with agree” to indicate the teachers’ positive opinions and “disagree with strongly disagree” to show their negative opinions, and keeps “undecided” as it is to indicate neutrality. 

Ø      Joining the data with the research problem and questions: in this step, the data are connected with the research problem and questions by explaining the quality of the questions and question items and their relationship to the data collected. This step examines whether the nature of the data will contribute to answer the research questions or not.So, it states the appropriateness of the questions and the research problem with the obtained data.

Ø      Looking for justification to the data: after defining relations among the data, they will be connected with the main theory that gets from the theoretical framework. In this step the multiple justifications of the data and how they agree or disagree with the previous research done in the same area of research are sought. 

Ø      Writing the report: this step involves all the previous steps such as writing the raw data, putting them in the right columns, describing their frequencies and percentages, and then analyzing them until they have clarity and meaning. The latter must always be checked with the main subject.    

3. Data Classification, Description and Analyses

3. 1. Layout, Appearance and Design

To answer the first research question: “how do EFL teachers at the secondary schools of Setif evaluate “Getting Through” as a second year textbook in terms of the layout, appearance, and design? The researcher calculated the frequencies and percentages of each item and arranged them in the table below. (The abbreviation “F” stands for the idea of how many participants opted for a particular choice while the second one “T” stands for the total number of returned answers form the participants).

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The front cover of the textbook is informative and attractive.

F

09

13

05

33

00

60

%

15

21.66

08.33

55

00

100

2

The font size and type used are very appropriate.

F

25

20

00

10

05

48

%

41.66

33.33

00

16.66

08.33

100

3

The tables of contents are complete and detailed.

F

12

32

02

10

04

60

%

20

53.33

03.33

16.66

06.66

100

4

Every unit and lesson is given an appropriate title.

F

15

23

03

09

10

60

%

25

38.33

5

15

16.66

100

5

An adequate vocabulary list or glossary is included.

F

02

06

10

35

07

60

%

03.33

10

16.66

58.33

11.66

100

6

The bibliography used is complete.

F

10

05

08

25

12

60

%

16.66

08.33

13.33

41.66

20

100

7

There is consistency in the headings, labels, italics etc.

F

12

22

06

10

10

60

%

20

36.66

10

16.66

16.66

100

8

The use of the color in the books is attractive

F

23

21

00

11

05

60

%

38.33

35

00

18.33

08.33

100

9

Each unit is in the same format.

F

45

10

05

00

00

60

%

75

16.66

08.33

00

00

100

 

Table (1): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Layout, Appearance and Design

As depicted in Table (1) above, the participants were asked to give their opinions about the layout, appearance and design in the textbook. As the data of the first item indicated, the majority of the respondents (55%) believed that the front cover of the textbook is less informative and attractive. Regarding the second item (74.99%) of the teachers indicated that the font size and type used is appropriate. Great deal of the participants (73.33%) agreed upon the idea that the textbook contains complete and detailed tables of contents and another percentage (63.33%) showed teachers’ positive opinions toward the titles and sub-titles given to each unit and lesson. The participants continued to express their positive attitudes on Items 7, 8and 9with the total percentages of (56.66%), (73.33%) and (91.66%) respectively. On the other hand, the majority of the teachers (70%) argued that the textbook does not include an adequate vocabulary list and also (61.66%) of them expressed negatively their attitudes towards the item 6.

The findings above indicated that the teachers agreed that the textbook contains most of the items of the layout and design criterion in a good way. From the previous description, it was clear that the textbook has an appropriate font size and also a complete table of contents. It also covers every unit and lesson with a suitable title. In addition, the textbook proved to be consistent in relation with the use of the headings, labels and italics. Additionally, the contents of the material were really interesting and attractive in terms of the use of colors and following the same format throughout all the units. On the other hand, Items 1, 5and 6got the lowest percentages, and these statistics indicated that the participants were not in favor with the textbook in relation to the design of the front cover, list of vocabulary and the list of bibliography. The latter aspects of layout and design may hinder the process of teaching and learning EFL. 

In this regard, the majority of the statistics indicated that the layout, appearance and design of the material are incorporated in a way that would help both teachers and learners to conduct the process of interaction successfully to a certain extent. Six items seemed to encourage its users to take the advantage of the contents, knowledge offered through the textbook. Accordingly, these findings were in agreement with Al-Sowat’s study who concluded that the textbook “Say It in English” gained much support from the participants. In addition, this study agreed also with one Mahmoud’s study (2007) which concluded that “English for Palestine” did not contain a list of vocabulary.           

To conclude, the quality of any textbook can be determined to a large extent by the availability of all the items mentioned within the criterion of layout, appearance and design in the material. The general appearance is a crucial part of EFL teaching and learning through which the material attracts the group of teachers and learners to delve into its contents. The appropriate layout, appearance and design criterion is the first quality to be considered while designing any material. Thus textbooks are expected to provide meaningful, attractive, informative, detailed, and consistent items that would create positive teaching and learning atmosphere.         

3. 2. Clarity of Illustrations

The data of the second research question “to what extent is the textbook effective according to the clarity of illustrations?” were measured through five items in the teachers’ questionnaire and the responses are presented in Table (2) below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The textbooks contain varied and attractive illustrations.

F

22

08

04

20

06

60

%

36.66

13.33

06.66

33.33

10

100

2

The illustrations are relevant and functional.

F

23

25

00

08

04

60

%

38.33

41.66

00

13.33

06.66

100

3

The posters and flash cards are suitable.

F

10

02

20

16

12

60

%

16.66

03.33

33.33

26.66

20

100

4

The artworks and illustrations are up to date.

F

07

13

17

18

05

60

%

11.66

21.66

28.33

30

08.33

100

5

Each unit includes sufficient number of visuals.

F

21

10

06

23

00

60

%

35

16.66

10

38.33

00

100

 

Table (2): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Clarity of Illustrations

As can be observed from Table(2) above, the group of EFL teachers were asked to give their opinions about the clarity of illustrations in the “Getting Through” textbook. Considering the presentation of illustrations, mostly, the sample’s responses over the items do not show high agreement. The data of the first item showed that there was a quite equal distribution of the teachers’ responses between agreement and disagreement towards the issue whether the textbook contains varied and attractive illustrations. Regarding the relevance and function of the illustrations, (79.99%) of the participants stated that the illustrations are relevant and functional. In contrast, only (20%) of them claimed the opposite. Concerning Item 3, (46.66%) of the respondents were not in favor with the suitability of the posters, flash cards in the textbook while (33.33%) kept undecided and neutral. Another quite equal disagreement among the participants can be seen through their opinions towards item 4when (30%) of them agreed that the illustrations are up to date, (33.33%) were neutral, and (38.33%) indicated that most of the illustrations are out of date. Based on the same table, concerning the Item 5, (51.66%) of the teachers replied that each unit includes a sufficient number of visuals, (10%) did not make difference, while (38.33%) showed that the textbook is unable to provide a sufficient number of visuals for each unit.

In this respect, a close examination of the textbook and the teachers’ responses shows that most of the illustrations used in the textbook are in agreement with the teachers’ answers. Based on the fact that illustrations are imperative component of any good EFL textbook and also that one illustration may be worth a thousand of words Sheldon (1987), the participants’ disagreement over the multiple given items can be justified on the basis of this important role assigned to the illustrations. All in all, illustrations are composed of real photos, pictures, charts, drawing, figures, and spider grams. Moreover, the illustrations in the textbook communicate powerfully in parallel with the texts limitless messages related to the people, objects, cultures, actions, and so on. To further comment on the teachers’ opinions, the illustrations in the textbook “Getting Through” has been counted and compared with the participants’ answers. As a result, the presentation of illustrations is acceptable to some extent. Though the presence of the illustrations in terms of the number is quite good, some of them are not up to date and do not make use of other aspects of illustrations in a sufficient way such as posters, flash cards, and so on.

To conclude, the agreement between teachers ‘responses and the presentation of illustrations in the textbook can be justified by the fact that teachers are among the people who spend a lot of time with the textbooks either in front of the learners or during preparation and also the role of the academic degree and professional experience of the participants seemed to play a role in such a case.

3. 3. Clarity of Instructions

In order to evaluate the extent to which the clarity of instructions are satisfied in the “Getting Through” textbook, four items were used in the question. All the frequencies and percentages of teachers’ answers are depicted in the table below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The instructions are direct.

F

06

12

02

30

10

60

%

10

20

3.33

50

16.66

100

2

I understand the instructions in the textbooks easily.

F

05

11

04

25

15

60

%

8.33

18.33

6.66

41.66

25

100

3

The instructions are written in simple and clear language.

F

17

13

00

23

07

60

%

28.33

21.66

00

38.33

11.66

100

4

The instructions in the textbooks are sufficient.

F

25

15

02

08

10

60

%

41.66

25

3.33

13.33

16.66

100

 

Table (3): Teachers’ Opinions about the Clarity of Instructions

Table (3) above dealt with the presence and use of instructions in the “Getting Through” textbook in relation to teachers’ opinions. As far as the first item is concerned, only 30% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed upon the idea that instructions in the textbook are direct. Slightly more than 66% of the teachers somewhat disagreed or strongly disagreed with the same item. Similar opinions of agreement and disagreement were also expressed regarding the second item indicating that the instructions in the textbook were comprehensible. Concerning Item 3, the respondents were divided into two equal groups. However, 66.66% of the participants were satisfied with the quality that the instructions in the textbook in the sense that are sufficient and 30% of them indicated the opposite. These statistics might indicate that the group of participants seemed to be in agreement with the presentation of the instructions in the textbook for all the items of the criterion.

In this respect, it seems that this question won a kind of unanimity among the respondents when the majority of them thought positively on the clarity of instructions even with the presence of slight differences. I fact, this agreement can be justified by either the state of the textbook or state of the teachers. Concerning the state of the textbook, it may indicate that teachers meet the instructions clear, direct, simple and sufficient. Consequently, they do not face obstacles when they explain the activity, exercise, task in relation to the instructions. Concerning the state of the teachers, it may indicate that teachers are more aware of the importance of the use of instructions in terms that they are among aspects of language teaching and learning materials, effective with important pedagogical outcomes, and they are the first step towards reaching a fruitful interaction among both teachers-learners or learners-learners.

In fact, presence of instructions in a clear, simple, easy, and sufficient way helps to a great extent to facilitate the process of teaching and learning. So thanks to the clarity of instructions both teachers and learners spend the essence of their time on the activities and tasks themselves instead of kinking about the ways of how they should be done and solved. On the other hand, indirect, difficult, poor instructions breaks the process of interactions between teachers and learners and make them waste a lot of time which really should be devoted to the tasks themselves. So in any way or another, the question of clarity of instructions is acknowledged to be one of the most important criteria and the direct one for meaningful and fruitful interactions.           

 

 

3. 4. Language Type

The data of the fourth research sub-question “to what extent is the textbook effective according to the language type criterion?” were measured through six items in the teachers’ questionnaire and the responses are depicted in the table (2) below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The language used in the textbooks is authentic.

F

05

10

01

40

04

60

%

08.33

16.66

01.66

66.66

06.66

100

2

The language used is at the right level of the learners’.

F

02

04

00

45

09

60

%

03.33

06.66

00

75

15

100

3

The language used covers the pronunciation items.

F

25

05

10

10

10

60

%

41.66

08.33

16.66

16.66

16.66

100

4

The progression of vocabulary is appropriate.

F

30

15

05

02

08

60

%

50

25

08.33

03.33

13.33

100

5

The language used presents the grammar in a suitable way.

F

12

14

10

15

09

60

%

20

23.33

16.66

25

15

100

6

The language used in the books is realistic.

F

07

18

05

10

20

60

%

11.66

30

08.33

16.66

33.33

100

 

Table (4): Subjects’ Opinions on the Language Type

Table (8) shows that there is a complete agreement among the participants on the statement of the first item that the language used in the textbook is not authentic. Almost 73% of the participants were in favor of the statement while the others 25% agree or strongly agree. Furthermore, the data shows that the majority of the respondents 75% disagree and 15% strongly disagree that the language used is not at the right level of the learners. Regarding the issue whether the language used covers the main pronunciation aspects, the teachers’ responses indicated that there is disagreement between the participants about Item 3. Half of the respondents support the statement (41.66% strongly agree and 08.33% agree). However, one third of the participants do not support the statement (16.66% disagree and 16.66% strongly disagree) while 16.66% of the teachers were unable to decide. On whether or not the instructional materials for teaching vocabulary is included in an appropriate way, the teachers’ answers show that there a kind of consensus among them. Half of the participants strongly agree and 25% agree on the statement. As far as the suitability of grammar items is concerned, the data indicated that there is a conflict between the respondents about the presentation of grammar. Over 40% of them were in favor while 40% were not and 16.66% kept undecided. Concerning the last item, the data show that half of the respondents do not support the statement. Over 40% of them support the idea that the language used is realistic.

As indicated above, the multiple opinions seemed to be negative. According the majority of the participants, the textbook does not include all the items in the question appropriately except for the progression of vocabulary. The given answers revealed that the presentation of pronunciation and grammar language is not suitable for the learners’ levels. Among the striking findings of the teachers answers to this criteria was that the textbook encourages the progression of the vocabulary and at the same time the textbook does not correspond the learners’ level in relation the language used either for the first item of the last item.

As can be seen, the language type included in the textbook seemed to be difficult, overloaded and complex and henceforth may fail to increase the desire of teachers and especially learners to take the advantage of the textbook in use. It can be also inferred that they do not encourage participation around the activities, exercise and tasks being put into discussion. In other words, language type has a great role to play in the process of teaching and learning through the textbook since the latter is a written medium. So the language type in the textbook does not help learners to integrate the four language skills since most of the participants’ opinions are negative towards vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. This state may break down the process of students-students and students-teachers interaction and also may make learners unwilling to fulfill the activities, exercise, and tasks of the textbooks. So authentic,          

3. 5. Subjects, Topics and Contents

To answer the fifth question: how do EFL teachers at the secondary school of Setif evaluate “Getting Through” textbook in terms of the selection of the subjects, topics and contents? The researcher calculated the frequencies and percentages for each item and presented them in the table below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The subjects and the contents are relevant.

F

25

12

02

09

12

60

%

41.66

20

03.33

15

20

100

2

The contents are interesting, challenging, and motivating.

F

15

05

00

25

15

60

%

25

08.33

00

41.66

25

100

3

The topics avoid potentially embarrassing topics.

F

20

30

08

02

00

60

%

33.33

50

13.33

03.33

00

100

4

The topics allow learners to think critically.

F

12

13

10

17

08

60

%

20

21.66

16.66

28.33

13.33

100

 

Table (5): Subjects’ Opinions on the Subjects, Topics and Contents

As Table (5) indicated, more than 60% of the participants (41.66% strongly agree and 20% agree) supported the relevance of the subjects and contents in the textbook. Another percentage 35% from the total sample indicated that the respondents did not support the statement. Moreover, the teachers’ responses showed that 41.66% disagree and 25% on the statement that the contents are interesting, challenging and motivating. However, one third among the participants seemed to support the statement. As far as Item 3is concerned, the majority of the respondents’ answers showed that the subjects were in favor that the contents and topics in the textbook avoid potentially embarrassing and disturbing topics. 13.33% from the whole subject seemed to be unable to decide. Regarding the issue whether the selection of the subjects, topics and contents allow learners to think critically or not, the data showed that there is a conflict between the participants. This means that 41.66% support the idea, 41.66% do not support the idea and 16.66% kept undecided.

The above statistics revealed that the participants were satisfied to some extent about the textbook in terms of the selection of subjects, topics and contents. As can be seen, around half of the participants perceived that the textbook is relevant, interesting and encourages to develop in learners the critical thinking skills. This state of satisfaction can be justified by their relevance of the topics to the learners’ culture and life when most of them are about Algerian life style, beliefs and values. Furthermore, the textbooks used also an important deal of reference to the topics related to the real-life issues that attract learners’ attention and inform them at the same time. A close examination to the textbook indicate that it encourage a positive attitudes in learners towards gender, environment, work issues. It is worth to mention also that the textbook include a number of topics about foreign contents and cultures to encourage learners to draw their own comparisons and conclusions about cross-cultural issues. To give statistical and practical example, as far as source and target cultures are concerned, the textbook include sixty eight topics about source culture and seventy one about foreign cultures Aitaissa(2016)[i]. This moderate frequency might be the justification behind teachers’ satisfaction with the selection of the contents, subjects and topics in the textbook.          

3. 6. Language Skills

The data of the research sub-question “to what extent is the textbook effective according to the four language skills criterion?” were calculated through six items in the teachers’ questionnaire and the responses were presented in Table (6) below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

There are enough materials for the four language skills.

F

19

13

06

13

10

60

%

31.66

21.66

10

21.66

16.66

100

2

Listening material is well covered.

F

10

05

00

27

18

60

%

16.66

08.33

00

45

30

100

3

There are sufficient materials for pre/while/post reading.

F

25

17

02

10

06

60

%

41.66

28.33

03.33

16.66

10

100

4

There is sufficient material for spoken English.

F

10

08

04

24

12

60

%

16.66

13.33

06.66

40

20

100

5

Writing materials are suitable.

F

15

10

05

20

10

60

%

25

16.66

08.33

33.33

16.66

100

6

Relevant language skills are catered for problem solving.

F

08

14

12

16

10

60

%

13.33

23.33

20

26.66

16.66

100

 

Table (6): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Language Skills

In relation to the presentation of the language skills in the textbook, Table (6) presented the frequencies and percentages generated through the question (6). Regarding the balance of skills, as shown in the table above through Item 1, the data show that there is a conflict between the participants. More than half of the teachers stated that the skills are presented in an equal manner and 36% of them provided the opposite. The teachers were also asked to review whether the listening skill is covered. As a result, the majority of the respondents 75% stated that the materials for listening are not well covered in the textbook while (16.66% were strongly agree and 08.33% agree) on the statement. However, there was a kind of consensus among the participants when they were asked about whether the textbook included sufficient materials for pre/while/post reading. Most of the participants support the statement (41.66% strongly agree and 28.33% agree) while 26.66% indicated the opposite and 03.33% were not able to decide. In the same table with Item4, we find near one third of the participants supported the idea. On the other hand, the majority of the teachers (60%) were not satisfied with the materials because the textbook did not provide enough activities and tasks for teaching and learning about how to speak English and only 03.33% of the participants kept undecided. The respondents continued to express their negative opinions about the writing skill materials. Half of them do not support the idea while over 40% were in favor of it. According to the same table and in relation to item 6, the participants were in a conflict about whether the language skills included were catered for problem solving or not. 43.33% of the teachers believed that the skills materials are not designed to prepare learners for real-life situations. Whereas, 36.66% of them suggested that the textbook’s materials help learners to solve problems outside classroom setting and 20% were not able to decide.

A close comparison between the teachers’ answers and the content of the textbook itself support the conflict among the participants towards the different items. In fact, a close examination of the textbook show, even it includes all the four language skills, the language skills are not presented in an equal way. For example, if we consider the textbook per se, most of the content is about reading and listening skills in the sense that the textbook is overloaded with the receptive skills. While the speaking and writing skills are excluded from the textbook to some extent in the sense that the four language skills are taught at the expense of the productive skills.

So the textbook presentation in relation to the language skills does not encourage both teachers and learners to come to a fruitful interaction since the productive language skills are the least treated in the materials. This state can be seen powerfully through the fact that only very little tasks and exercises are set up for real-life interactions by which communicative purposes can be developed. In regard to this situation, the textbook seemed to lack an important quality about the question of language skills which is about the integration of language skills.             

3. 7. Clarity of Objectives                           

In order to evaluate whether the clarity of objectives are met or not in the “Getting Through” textbook, seven items were used in the question. All the frequencies and percentages are calculated and depicted in the table below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The books fulfill the general objectives of teaching English.

F

25

15

05

10

05

60

%

41.66

25

08.33

16.66

08.33

100

2

They also fulfill the secondary school general objectives.

F

17

23

07

08

05

60

%

28.33

38.33

11.66

13.33

08.33

100

3

The terminal objectives meet the desired needs and wants.

F

27

13

15

02

03

60

%

45

21.66

25

03.33

5

100

4

The developmental objectives are specified precisely.

F

40

10

00

05

05

60

%

66.66

16.66

00

08.33

08.33

100

5

The objectives are measurable.

F

20

13

15

07

05

60

%

33.33

21.66

25

11.66

08.33

100

6

The objectives are realistic.

F

22

18

10

08

02

60

%

36.66

30

16.66

13.33

03.33

100

7

The objectives recognize the individual differences.

F

30

15

02

08

07

60

%

50

25

03.33

13.33

11.66

100

 

Table (7): Teachers’ Opinions on the Clarity of Objectives

As can be seen from Table(7), the majority of the participants agreed upon the idea that the general objectives are fulfilled in the textbook whereas (25%) of them were not in favor to the item 1. As far as the secondary school general objectives are concerned, also there was a consensus among (76.66%) participants that these objectives are met and (21.66%) of them rejected the idea. Concerning the suitability of the objectives with desired needs and wants, the majority of the respondents (45%) strongly and (21.66%) agree while (25%) kept undecided. Furthermore, the data indicated again a complete consensus on the statements that the textbook specifies precisely the developmental objectives. The rest of the participants (16.66%) disagree on the statements. Regarding whether the objectives are measurable or not, the data showed that the majority of the participants believed on the statements while 25% kept undecided and 20% did not support the idea. With regard to the question whether the objectives are realistic or not, there was also an important agreement among the participants on the statement. Over 36% strongly agree and 30% agree. On whether or not the objectives recognize the individual differences among learners, table 7showed that the majority of the teachers (75%) expressed their agreement while 25% of them stated the opposite.

As indicated in the statistics above, there is a general consensus among the participants that the textbook precisely includes all the types of the objectives mentioned in the question. Teachers’ agreement towards the major issues about objectives indicates strongly that the textbook provides explicit directions to both learners and teachers to follow. Thanks to the clarity of objectives it is easy to predict what is expected to do at the end of each lesson, task and unit. In fact, the teachers’ consensus in relation to the previous criteria may also help to understand more the quality of clarity of objectives because they implicitly need appropriate vocabulary, clarity of instructions, clarity of illustrations, suitable language type and so on. It is worth to mention that teaching and learning objectives are not explicitly mention in the textbook so it is the teachers’ task to specify and define them throughout the time of the lesson.   

 

 

 

3. 8. Teaching Methods

The data of the eighth research sub-question “to what extent is the textbook effective according to the teaching methods criterion?” were calculated through five items in the teachers’ questionnaire and the responses are depicted in Table(8) below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The teaching methods used are the latest in the field.

F

05

12

10

22

11

60

%

08.33

20

16.66

36.66

18.33

100

2

The teaching methods used are learners’-centered approach.

F

11

05

10

25

09

60

%

18.33

08.33

16.66

41.66

15

100

3

The methods used allow various class activities.

F

18

28

00

10

00

60

%

30

46.66

00

16.66

00

100

4

The methods help teachers to meet learners’ expectations.

F

09

06

11

33

00

60

%

15

10

18.33

55

00

100

5

The textbooks cater for mixed ability learners.

F

05

12

02

18

23

60

%

08.33

20

03.33

30

38.33

100

 

Table (8): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Teaching Methods

Table 8showed that a high percentage of the participants do not support the item that the textbook include the latest teaching methods, 36.66% of the participants disagree and 18.33% strongly disagree. Less than one third of them “28.33%” support the idea and 16.66% were unable to decide. On whether or not the textbook is learners’ centered approach, the same table indicated again a high percentage of disagreement. More than half of the teachers perceived that the teaching methods in the textbook are not learners’ centered, 26.66% of the participants supported the idea and 16.66% kept undecided. Regarding the issue whether the textbook allow various class activities or not, the obtained data indicated that the majority of the respondents support the statement, 30% strongly agree and 46.66% disagree. On the other hand, only 16.66% of the participants disagree with the statement. Concerning the Item 4, the data in the above table suggested that the 55% of the respondents do not think that the teaching methods help to meet learners’ expectations, 25% agreed and strongly agreed on the statement while 18.33% were unable to decide. Regarding mixed ability learners, the data indicated also that the participants do not believe that the textbook cater for mixed ability learners, 30% disagree and 38.33% strongly disagree. On the other hand, less than one third of the participants believed on the statement, 8.33% strongly agree and 20% agree.   

In general, the quantitative data analyses revealed that the teachers’ perceptions about the criteria of teaching methods were negative. The majority of the participants believed that the textbook in question is not effective in terms of the teaching methods. Furthermore, the results showed powerfully that the teachers were not satisfied with the way the textbook dealt with the issue of teaching. According to their answers, they stated that it did not provide the teachers with appropriate, practical and effective methods to follow in the classroom. In this respect, the textbook seemed not help teachers to conceptualize its content in relation to the process of preparation and presentation of the lessons and make some burden and extra time on teachers to think of the best teaching methods.

In fact, teaching methods are important aspects of the process of teaching since they play a number of crucial roles such as giving detailed guidance on way of how the activities and lesson could be exploited in the class. They also help teachers to design appropriate procedures for the steps of the lesson like planning, preparation and teaching. So teachers seemed to be more conscious of the significance of the teaching methods in the process of teachers’ and learners’ interactions. Finally, teaching methods are imperative component of any textbook evaluation because they offer, among other things, guidelines on how to take the best advantage and use of the textbook.           

3. 9. Learners’ Flexibility

The data of the research sub-question “to what extent is the textbook effective according to the textbook’s flexibility criterion?” were calculated through six items in the teachers’ questionnaire and the answers are presented in Table(9) below:

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The textbook is useful to the learners’.

F

04

06

01

35

14

60

%

06.66

10

01.66

58.33

23.33

100

2

The textbook caters for different learning levels.

F

08

02

08

30

12

60

%

13.33

03.33

13.33

50

20

100

3

The textbook provide alternative materials.

F

14

18

02

10

16

60

%

23.33

30

03.33

16.66

26.66

100

4

The contents promote learners’ involvement.

F

15

13

00

20

12

60

%

25

21.66

00

33.33

20

100

5

The textbook contain self-check progress report.

F

18

34

05

03

00

60

%

30

56.66

08.33

05

00

100

6

The textbook satisfy interest of learning English.

F

10

08

25

16

01

60

%

16.66

13.33

41.66

26.66

01.66

100

 

Table (9): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Flexibility Criteria

The table above indicated that on one hand the majority of the participants rejected the statement about the suitability of the textbook in which 58. 33% disagree and 23.33% strongly disagree. On the other hand, only 6.66% agree on the statement. Regarding the issue whether textbook caters for different learning levels; the data suggested that 70% of the participants do not support the idea. 50% disagree and 20% strongly disagree. Concerning the item whether the textbook provides alternative materials, the data revealed a conflict among the participants.  More than half of the participants believed on the statement and 43.33% do not support the statement. As far as the presentation of the self-check progress is concerned, the data indicated that most of the participants believed on the statement. Furthermore, the data showed another conflict between the participants when they expressed their opinions about whether the textbook satisfies interest in learning English. One third of the participants support the idea, 41.66% were unable to decide and less than one third do not support the statement.

It seems that the majority of the participants agreed on the idea that the “Getting Through” textbook does not suit the question of individual differences in learners in relation to the ability of all the learners to take the advantage of the textbook’s contents, learners’ levels, learners interest and learners’ involvement. The only positive aspect with the textbook can be seen through the fifth criteria when most of the participants believed of the self-check progress report.

The results imply that the participants are well aware of the fact that the textbook should reflect to every issue related to the differences among learners so that the material can respond positively to the learners’ needs, and henceforth, interact fruitfully with the textbook’s contents.              

3. 10. Social and Cultural Contexts

To answer the last research sub-question: “to what extent is the “Getting Through” textbook suitable according to the social and cultural contexts?” The researcher calculated the frequencies and percentages for each item then classified them in Table (10) below.

No

Item

1

2

3

4

5

T

1

The social and cultural contexts are comprehensible.

F

14

28

11

06

01

60

%

23.33

46.66

18.33

10

01.66

100

2

The textbooks’ are free from stereotypical images.

F

13

12

35

00

00

60

%

21.66

20

58.33

00

00

100

3

Learners can learn about their inner and others lives.

F

14

13

07

14

10

60

%

23.33

21.66

11.66

23.33

16.66

100

4

The books present people in a fair and equal way.

F

22

32

00

06

00

60

%

36.66

53.33

00

10

00

100

 

Table (10): Teachers’ Perspectives on the Social and Cultural Contexts

As can be seen fromTable (10), the majority of the participants supported the statement that the social and cultural contexts are comprehensible, (23.33% strongly agree and 46.66% agree). Conversely, 11.66% of the participants did not support the statement and 18.33% kept undecided. Regarding the issue of whether or not the textbook is free from stereotypes images, the data indicated that 41.66% of the respondents supported the statement and 58.33% were unable to decide. On whether the textbook in question includes learning about the learners’ inner and others’ lives, a large conflict among the participants can be observed. 23.33% of the participants strongly agree and 21.66% agree on the statement. On the contrary, 23.33% disagree and 16.66% strongly disagree and 11.66kept undecided. As far the last item is concerned, the table 10showed that all the participants support the statement that the textbook presents people in a fair and equal way; 36.66% strongly disagree and 53.33% agree on the statement. This can be proved again that the textbook really presents people in a fair and equal way. 

In general, the teachers’ responses to the items related to the actions of learning about social and cultural contexts seemed to be varied. The analyzed textbook encourages to some extent learners to undertake cross cultural interactions through a number of exercises that deal with topics related to both learners’ source culture and English speaking cultures. Among the social and cultural topics included in the textbook are about people life style between past, present and future, food patterns, eating habits, history, geography, politics. A close examination to the presentation of the nature of the social and cultural hints in the textbook indicates powerfully that they prepare learners to be able to meet foreign visitors to their country, henceforth, be able to be understood. While the question of being able to understand foreign cultures seemed to be held weak. The findings in this study were in agreement with the theories that claim for the source culture and in disagreement with the theories that claim for the target culture. Practically speaking, this study seeks to establish a kind of balance between the source culture and target culture by which learners are prepared to understand the social and cultural meaning of their interlocutors and vice versa.

To conclude, the multiple findings of the current study support to a great extent the strong connection that does exist between language and culture in the sense that language is the responsible one for cultural contents’ transmission. “A language is a part of a culture, and a culture is a part of a language; the two are intricately interwoven so that one cannot separate the two without losing the significance of either language or culture”[i].

4. Conclusions

In order to explore the quality of the textbook “Getting Through”, the teachers’ survey began with the quest to find out about the teachers’ perspectives about the quality of the textbook in relation to ten criteria of evaluation. As seen above from the teachers’ responses and data analyses procedures, teachers were grouped into different sub-groups depending on their responses. The analyses procedures have generated a number of sound objectives conclusions about the quality of the textbook. Belowis a detailed description of the concluding remarks:

The layout, appearance and design of the textbook seemed to be positive in some aspects and at the same time lacked the necessary informative and attractive hints in the cover page with the absence of adequate list of vocabulary. In practice, these matters may hinder the process of interaction and consequently both teachers and learners will not be able to delve into the content, topics, language, instructions and objectives available in the textbook.

The illustrations included in the textbook did not encourage to a large extent learners to develop their exploratory skills when dealing with what all available in the textbook. Even the number of illustration is quite good, the quality and sound illustrations are less found in the textbook. That is why, the action of brining the real life situations into the classroom context through illustrations seemed to be weal.

The clarity of instructions criterion in the textbook demonstrate to some extent the feasibility of the process of interaction. According to the findings, they help teachers and learners to save time and focus on the activity, exercise and task.

The language type used in the textbook was recognized as poor in relation to the suitability to the learners’ levels in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and authenticity. This state will certainly decrease the desire of teachers and learners to conduct meaningful interactions around the activities, exercises, tasks and whole lessons. Furthermore, the lack of appropriate language type will not help to bring together the four language skills with an idea that they both go hand in hand.

The subjects, topics and contents did not encourage to some extent learners to think critically, and henceforth, did not develop in learners the critical think skills. Even the contents and topic selection is quite good, this seemed not to encourage to the process of interaction since it lacked plenty matters in relation tot eh target culture.

Concerning the presentation of language skills, the material lacked the necessary activities and tasks devoted for the listening skill. Besides, the textbook did not include enough exercises for the speaking skill. In general, most of the activities for all the skills were not suitable; there was a lack of interactive tasks to integrate all the four skills together. So the textbook was not designed to equip learners for real-life interactions and did not cater for problem solving situations simply because it is overloaded with the receptive skills at the expense of the productive skills.

In regard to the question of clarity of objectives, there was a consensus among the participants that they are suite good. This state can be simply justified by the fact that it is the job of teachers to identify them since they are not mentioned explicitly in the textbook. That why teachers seemed to be somehow disintegrated from the textbook itself and rely instead on the teachers’ book and inferences.

The textbook seemed poor in relation to the teaching methods because there was no emphasis on the new teaching methods, learners’-centered methods, meeting learners’ expectation and catering for mixed ability learners. This state can be justified by the intervention of the traditional teaching methods in the sense that the first generation textbooks could get rid from the old teaching methods, and henceforth, the action of bringing the real-life situations under the Competency Based Approach are still ignored.

Concerning the flexibility criterion, the textbook did not demonstrate the various learning styles, different levels and learners’ involvement. This quality can be justified in the same way as the teaching methods through the dominance of the traditional approach for English teaching and learning.

The contents of the textbook in relation to the social and cultural aspects were not suitable to some extent. Findings and analyses demonstrated again the idea of dominance when the textbook was overloaded with source cultural materials than target cultural materials. This state also did not encourage real-life interactions. So the presentation of culture in the textbook informs the group of teachers, learners, and readers that the Competency Based Approach seemed to be ignored totally.

5. Recommendations

The current study addressed an important issue in the Algerian EFL classroom in relation to teachers and textbooks. This domain contains plenty of interesting topics and ideas that manipulate the different classroom practices. In order to catch these recent concerns, the researcher thinks that the following recommendations are probably needed to develop both the theoretical principles and practical strategies that make it possible to put the new ideas into effects.

First of all, the layout, appearance and design of the textbook should be informative and attractive from all aspects in order to make the target audience envy to delve into its contents. Secondly, the presentation of illustrations and instructions in the textbook should be appropriate both in number and quality in order to make the target teachers and learners take really the advantage of the material. Thirdly, the language presentation in terms of type and skills should be consistent and varied in order to increase participation and interaction and bring real-life situations into the classroom setting. In addition, the selection of contents, subjects and topics should reflect learners’ levels, knowledge, and styles and the clarity of objectives should be mentioned explicitly and at the same time recognize the individual differences and possible to cover with the time constraints.Fifthy, the textbook should present the teaching methods following the new method and approaches. it is imperative to get rid from the traditional teaching approaches.

Finally,the social and culture dimension should be included in an appropriate and equal way in relation to the source and target culture. It should help learners to understand and to be understood in intercultural communication situations.

 


[i]Brown, H. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. N. Y.: Longman.



[i]Aitaissa, M. (2016). Evaluation of Culture Based Contents of the Algerian English Foreign Language Classroom in Relation to Teachers, Learners and Textbooks: The Case of Setif Secondary School. University of Setif, Algeria. 


[i]Getting Through. (2006). Official English Foreign Language Textbook for Secondary School Second Level. The National Ministry of Education. Algeria.

[ii]Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. University of South Florida. U.S.A.

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Pour citer ce document

Mouloud AIT AISSA, «An Evaluation of the English Foreign Language Textbook “Getting Through” of the Algerian Second Year Secondary School: The Case of Setif Secondary School Teachers»

[En ligne] مجلة العلوم الاجتماعيةRevue des Sciences Sociales العدد 24 جوان 2017N° 24 Juin 2017
Papier : ,
Date Publication Sur Papier : 0000-00-00,
Date Pulication Electronique : 2017-06-21,
mis a jour le : 21/06/2017,
URL : http://revues.univ-setif2.dz/index.php?id=2136.