SelectingTexts for the Adult ESL Classroom: Part 4 Looking at Support (page2 of 2)

Oliva FernandezOliva Fernandez

Marketing Director, Adult and Higher Education

Selecting Texts for the Adult ESL Classroom: Part 4 Looking at Support (page 1 of 2)

(This article is excerpted and adapted from a monograph by MaryAnn Florez, series consultant for Pearson’s Center
Stage. Florez is currently director for the Adult Education Professional Development Center for DC LEARNS,
a coalition of adult education and literacy providers in the District
of Columbia. …)

In the previous article we discussed three questions to consider during the text selection process.

This month we look at issues relating to support. Remember to
have a copy of the checklist handy as you read this month’s article.

How much support is built in?

A good textbook builds in support for both the teacher
and students who use it. Is there a balance of adequate guidance and stimulation for the teacher to help him or her flesh out the activities and flow of the lessons? Do units and activities build on each other?

Are there accompanying materials available to support the textbook and those who use it (e.g., workbook, teacher’s guide, resource book, audio options, test preparation, or companion web site)?

How well does the publisher support adoption/
retention of the program materials?

In addition to the books themselves, publishers can
provide support that can maximize the experience
with a textbook. So it is a good idea to see what the
publisher can offer you to meet your needs or even
bring unexpected dimensions to the process.

Consider the support you want and whether the
publisher you’re considering can provide it during
and after the text-selection process.

  • Is the local representative responsive to your needs and requests and knowledgeable of all the options available for
  • Does the publisher provide opportunities for sample copies of materials or more intensive piloting of the text?
  • Is training and staff development offered upon adoption of the text and does the publisher provide ongoing support as teachers use it and need follow up, or as new teachers continually come on board and need baseline training?

Positive answers to questions like these can be value-added elements to the investment you make in a textbook or series,
particularly the availability of both initial and ongoing training by the publisher.



Oliva FernandezOliva Fernandez

Marketing Director, Adult and Higher Education

Selecting Texts for the Adult ESL Classroom: Part 4 Looking at Support (page 2 of 2)

Professional development
opportunities are always at a premium for teachers
and staff in terms of time, availability, and cost. When
a publisher can provide initial and follow-up training
that focuses on the specific materials that teachers
are using in their classes, it doubles the relevance
and usefulness of the time spent. …

Teachers have an opportunity to speak from concrete questions and
examples that have emerged as they have used the text in their classes, and the trainers can then direct their training to them.

Also, with continued follow up from the publisher, new teachers have the same opportunity to create a solid foundation with the text
as their more-experienced colleagues did, giving them a grounding that may help them feel successful and comfortable in the classroom sooner and perhaps improve their retention.

How well does the teacher’s edition support instruction?

Teachers will sometimes say that they never find any
use for the teacher’s edition. This can be a valid point,
especially if teachers find no more than hackneyed,
obvious, or vague directions for activity delivery, such
as “Ask the learners to brainstorm ideas about the
picture.” But a thorough, well-developed teacher’s
edition can provide enormous support to both new
and experienced teachers in a variety of ways: lesson
pacing and flow, recycling and spiraling of material, and
dealing with the multilevel classroom. At the same
time that you are reviewing textbooks, it is important to
devote some time to looking for the following in a good
teacher’s edition:

  • A clear and articulate introduction that establishes
    the guiding philosophies and main strengths of the
  • Step-by-step lesson plans
  • Strategies for the multilevel classroom
  • Assessment tools and ideas for ongoing teacher
    assessment of the learners and learner self-assessment
  • Additional worksheets and reproducibles
  • Strategies for addressing learner persistence
  • Expansion activities that assist the teacher in helping
    learners take their learning out of the classroom and
    into the real world

Bringing it all together

Textbook selection should be a positive experience,
not a punishment. If you take the time necessary to
clarify goals; review, collect, and record data on books;
and have discussions, selecting a textbook can become
a learning and reflecting opportunity that can benefit

We hope these articles have offered some suggestions and tools to make the process clear, consistent, and accessible, and to provide opportunities for people to feel included in the process. With this
kind of purposeful, open effort, the result can be a multidimensional investment in instruction that produces benefits beyond simply a new book.

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Previous articles on this topic:

Part 1: Overview

2: Checklist of Textbook Selection

3: Questions to Consider