UPDATE: Whole page on TEFL reviews now here.
When I think back on the many conversations I have had in the teachers’ room about English language textbooks, photocopiable resource books etc. over the years, I can remember quite a few amusing ones (e.g. the American teacher stunned at having to teach the “stupid American tourists” listening and the “Why British food is so great” reading in Headway all in the same month), many impassioned speeches, a bit of polite disagreement and a lot of commiserating. I can hardly remember a single example of learning something new about the textbook we were talking about or having my opinion changed, however. In a similar way, the CTEFLA session I gave where we taught the trainees how to analyse a textbook in detail and then they all chose their favourite just from appearances was without a doubt the least productive input session of I have ever given. So, is it possible for a conversation or written review to be any more helpful in deciding which TEFL books are better for your classes or school than a “my favourite model is better looking than yours” blog entry or a “my team is better than yours” chat down the pub?
You can read the rest I what I have to say on this topic (my chosen specialist subject on TEFL Mastermind) here, and comment below:
This article is based on a workshop entitled “Testing and Reviewing New Materials” I gave at the Tokyo Expo/ Tokyo ELT Book Fair on 4 November 2007. Many thanks to the participants who helped me polish up and extend my ideas with their comments and questions. And for those of you who were there as a first step to getting published yourselves, more details on that coming up very shortly.