Using Research Tools to Analyze Textbooks for Teaching EFL Writing

In summary, a research tool such as a test, questionnaire, or software analyzer can be helpful in analyzing a chapter of a textbook on teaching English as a foreign language, but the textbook does not have a lot of running text that can be used for the analysis.
  • #1
drizzle
Gold Member
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Hey there, I thought PF can be helpful in many fields other than science. :biggrin: Here's the question:

Is there any way to use any kind of research tools (test, questionnaire, soft ware analyzer) in a research paper that aims at analyzing a chapter of a textbook for teaching English as a foreign language (interactions/2 writing)?

The problem is that I have to analyze the writing skills (particularly cohesion, clarity and unity of writing) and how they are tackled in exercises, examples or texts, but in the textbook there is not much running text ''since it is for writing of course''

I don't know where to start from and how to end, if you can help me by giving me any advice or suggestion for my assignment I'd be grateful to you.
 
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  • #2
Is this for their writing as in their "handwriting" or is it for grammar and such?
 
  • #3
No, it has nothing to do with handwriting. The assignment is in a course called “text book analysis”, she chooses the book titled as “interactions/2 writing”, and as she described she want to analyze the writing skills of one chapter of that book and how they’re related to the exercises and activities of the book, any advice would be appreciated.
 
  • #4
Well I have never really done anything of this sort at all. In my opinion the best way to analyze it would be to use it as intended, preferably with multiple people, see how well they do, and then take their impressions regarding ease of use. Would this fit into the parameters of your assignment? or are you supposed to simply analyze it on your own?

You might want to ask Chi or Moonie or maybe one of the others with teaching experience.
 
  • #5
First it isn’t my assignment it’s my sister’s :biggrin: [that’s why I’ve quoted the question :wink:], she says your idea is a good one, it only needs more time to get it done. But thanks for the help :smile:
 
  • #6
You're welcome.

You should tell your sis to sign up and ask her questions herself!

Maybe she could use the screen name "dazzle" and we can have the sisters Drizzle & Dazzle. ;-p
 
  • #7
Textbooks can be evaluated on a lot of levels, some of which can be a bit hard to quantify, and others that are a bit easier to nail down. When I was writing training manuals for industry, I had to edit my own work and I used several basic criteria:

Reading comprehension level - even though my texts were aimed at adults in industrial settings, I tried very hard to stay at around a 7th-8th grade reading level.

Limit jargon - it is easy for a subject-expert to throw words around without clarifying their meanings and usage properly. If you must use jargon, you should take time to define such words, either explicitly or by use in context. The same applies to colloquialisms and slang. Try to be precise.

Stay in the active tense - nothing makes a text duller or less informative that writing in the passive tense. The verbiage gets convoluted and cause-and-effect are harder for the reader to grasp. For example: (passive) The mud drum is blown down periodically to flush solids out of the boiler. Blow-downs are done by the blow-down valve controller. (that didn't tell you much) (active) To prevent solids build-up in the boilerwater, the operator uses the automated blow-down valve controller and specifies the frequency of the frequency and duration of automatic blowdowns to evacuate solids from the mud drum. (in this case we know that the operator uses the controller, and what his options are for control of the blow-down valve - frequency and duration) This isn't the best example I could have give, perhaps, but it will do.

Oganization - you should deliver content in "chunks" that make sense and hold together and "flow". If you have an odd piece of information or a minor clarification, it's OK to deliver that separately. Not everything has to be written in multi-sentence paragraphs. Textbooks are not prose. Writing about complex industrial systems was a breeze, because I could organize the material in terms of process-flow, and follow the path of a fuel, raw material, product, etc in a way that the operators understood intuitively.

Drizzle, I have never had to analyze a book in terms of its value as source-material for teaching English as a second language, so your sis is on her own, there. The editing guidelines that I used should be applicable to analyzing a text-book, though. Just guessing, but I imagine that clarity is going to be a really important characteristic for a book that has to be used to teach English as a second language.

Good luck to your sister.
 
  • #8
Cheers turbo, I'm going to send her an email of your post.


Actually, I insisted her to join but she never liked the idea of joining net forums [like I used to :biggrin:]. I’ve told her this is different….couldn’t convince her though . But I’ve asked her to send her question via email and I’ll post it… I think she might change her mind after this, I’ll tell you if she does [but you’ll have to guess her name TSA :biggrin:]
 

Related to Using Research Tools to Analyze Textbooks for Teaching EFL Writing

1. What are the benefits of using research tools to analyze textbooks for teaching EFL writing?

Using research tools to analyze textbooks for teaching EFL writing allows for a more systematic and objective approach to selecting appropriate materials. It also helps to identify any potential biases or gaps in the textbooks, which can then be addressed in the teaching process. Additionally, research tools can provide evidence-based insights on the effectiveness of certain materials and strategies, helping teachers to make more informed decisions for their students.

2. What types of research tools can be used to analyze textbooks for teaching EFL writing?

There are various research tools that can be used to analyze textbooks for teaching EFL writing, including content analysis, student surveys, classroom observations, and comparative studies. Each tool offers different perspectives and can be used in combination to gather a comprehensive understanding of the textbooks and their suitability for EFL writing instruction.

3. How can research tools help to improve the selection of textbooks for EFL writing instruction?

Research tools provide a scientific and data-driven approach to evaluating textbooks, allowing for a more objective and systematic selection process. By using these tools, teachers can identify the strengths and weaknesses of different textbooks, and make informed decisions based on evidence rather than personal preferences or biases.

4. Can research tools be used to analyze textbooks in any language?

Yes, research tools can be used to analyze textbooks in any language. However, there may be some differences in the specific tools or methods used depending on the language and cultural context. It is important to consider these factors when selecting and applying research tools for textbook analysis.

5. What are some potential limitations of using research tools to analyze textbooks for teaching EFL writing?

One potential limitation is the time and resources required to conduct a thorough analysis using research tools. It may also be challenging to find appropriate and reliable tools for certain languages or contexts. Additionally, research tools should not be the sole basis for textbook selection, as they may not capture all aspects of a textbook's suitability for EFL writing instruction. It is important to also consider other factors, such as teacher expertise and student needs, when making decisions about textbook selection.

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