Textbooks: A Teacher Passage to Teaching

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Chantarath Hongboontri

Abstract

In the current debate concerning the dominant role of textbooks in language teaching, this paper looked at the perceptions of teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) regarding their textbooks and the interplay between their perceptions and their instructional practices.  The paper first examined how 18 university EFL teachers in a Thai university perceived their textbooks.  Then, the paper looked at the issue dealing with the relationship between these participants’ perceptions of their textbooks and their actual classroom teaching performances.  An analysis of qualitative data (interviews, classroom observations, journal entries, and written documents [e.g., EFL course syllabi and textbooks used]) helped the researcher categorize the participants’ perceptions of their textbooks into four categories: (1) the applicability of the content in the textbooks, (2) the relevance or otherwise of the content, (3) the lack of systematic organization of the textbooks, and (4) the inaccuracy of the content.  Furthermore, the conclusion was drawn that there was little (or almost no) relationship between the participants’ perceptions of their textbooks and their instructional practices.  Despite their negative perceptions of the textbooks, almost all participants adhered faithfully to textbooks’ sequencing of the materials and the exercises.

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Research Article