Textbook Evaluation : A Framework for Evaluating the Fitness of the Hong Kong New Secondary School (NSS) Curriculum

| November 21, 2011
Textbook Evaluation : A Framework for Evaluating the Fitness of the Hong Kong New Secondary School (NSS) Curriculum

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Wong Pak Wing Lawrence
Department of English City University of Hong Kong

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It has been widely accepted that a textbook is an essential component of the EFL classroom. Evaluation of textbooks, therefore, is of utmost importance so that its pedagogical contribution to the teaching and learning process can be assured. In the context of ELT in Hong Kong, textbook evaluation is even more of an important issue given the recent implementation of the New Senior Secondary Curriculum (NSS). Can the newly written NSS textbooks help teachers deliver the new curriculum objectives?

It seems that in the relevant literature, there is a lack of empirical studies showing how curriculum fitness can be evaluated. In addition, despite repeated emphasis on the benefits of a post-use textbook evaluation by a number of researchers (eg. Ellis 1997&1998, Tomlinson 2003, Tomlinson & Masuhara 2004), relevant empirical studies, however, seem lacking as much of the available literature is biased towards pre-use evaluations (Mukundan & Ahour 2010).

This empirical study, therefore, attempts to respond to the two research gaps mentioned above by first proposing a framework on how curriculum fitness of textbooks can be evaluated. The theoretical framework is then empirically tested by engaging in a post-use textbook evaluation with local teachers within the Hong Kong ELT environment. Results have shown that the teachers do find the proposed evaluation framework an effective tool in determining fitness with the new curriculum. However the teachers have also suggested that using the framework to engage in post-use evaluation of textbooks is a pedagogically unsound concept, which is self-contradictory in essence. Despite their criticism of the IIpedagogical value of post-use evaluations, the teachers suggested that the framework is still a valuable invention, and should be used in other areas of the ELT context.


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