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Adapting your coursebook

Watch teachers talking about how they adapt their course books to meet their learners’ needs.
In this video you’ll listen to teachers talking about how they adapt their course books for their learners. Is it important to your learners that you use a course book? How much freedom do you have to change the course materials? And how do you decide what to change?
My guidance is my students, always. So according to the students, I try to tailor the lessons. We have closed-book activities where teachers can introduce new content. For example, if there are grammatical rules and not enough explanation on the textbook, I might use another source or handout or even use the board. Sometimes, I skip the order of the book, according to the level of the students. I might go to unit 3 before going to unit 2 if I find that this will help my students. So I’m afraid it depends. I can’t– yeah. But the guidance is the students and their status.
OK. You know, in my country, course books are actually developed by the publishers, and they base these on the curriculum that is there. But I always say that not everything in a course book can actually work for every classroom. I mean, imagine how big South Africa is. And I always feel that it’s still– I mean, having a course book that must be used by everyone, it actually kills the creativity from the teachers. So I always say in a course book, you just look in your context, for instance. And then you know your learners. You know what they need, what actually will work and what will not work for them.
So you just go for what works for you in the classroom and then use your creativity, again, to actually adapt. You know, you adapt, you take away– just do what works well for yourself in your classroom.
I did a lot of adaptation because some parts of the course book are not suitable with my context or with my culture or religion, for example, at the time I used a course book from overseas countries or from other region as well. So yes, I need to do some adaptation. I skipped a lot and provide more handouts, yeah, instead of using those course books.

Watch teachers talking about how they adapt their coursebooks to meet their learners’ needs.

When considering whether or not to adapt a coursebook activity, you could decide to do one of the following:

Do the activity as it is if it really suits your learners

Skip an activity while considering how this affects the rest of the lesson,coursebook unit and syllabus. You might decide to replace the activity with something else.

Change the activity. This could include making it longer or shorter; easier or more challenging; adding introductory or follow up activities; changing the topic but keeping the main aim etc.

Over to you

  • How much freedom do you have in terms of selecting teaching materials?
  • How do you decide what to do as it is/skip/change?
  • How important is using the coursebook to your learners?

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