Posts Tagged new textbook

October 1, 2004 – New textbook

I was not at my best after last evening’s festivities. Thankfully, my hangover headache went away just before my group kids class started.

Today was the first day of the new NOVA textbook. The new textbooks are currently only available for low level students, but we did receive a set of good lesson plans to use with the existing outdated textbook for mid and high level students. The new plans are a big improvement over some of the teacher created lessons that are currently being used. This should greatly cut down on lesson prep time and open up a lot of old lessons for students who are stuck in level.

So far there is a mixed reaction to the new textbooks and lesson plans. Students are not used to the new method, and don’t want to pay for new teaching material. Teachers who have created some of their own good lessons are not keen to follow a script in the classroom. Nobody likes change, but I think that when people get used to the new lessons they will like them.

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September 29, 2004 – New teaching method

I got training on the new teaching method today. NOVA is switching their system as of Friday. There will be a lot less preparation time with lessons, and also a lot less flexibility. This should ensure an even quality of lessons with different instructors, and a lot less thinking for us teachers. I am not sure how I feel about the change yet, but I am optimistic.

(2014 Update) The NOVA teaching method was long overdue for a change. The old method was based on an English textbook from the 1980’s used to teach English to immigrants in America. The pictures and dialogues were hilariously outdated. One lesson in particular was based around a letter written to a hotel to make a reservation in the future. Who makes hotel reservations by letter?

There were 40 lessons per level. Teachers were supposed to find some target language in the lesson material (usually grammar or vocabulary) and invent a situation where the student would use that language. The lesson often had little to do with the textbook material. Coming up with a situation and building a lesson around it was not always easy to do. Lesson quality and difficulty could vary wildly depending on the experience and creativity of the teacher.

The newer system was based on teaching a variety of language for a particular situation. The situations are usually common like choosing a restaurant, asking a friend for a favour, or hotel complaints. The lesson would introduce some vocabulary and sentences that could be used in the situation, and provided a chance to practice the new language. At the end, students were given different parts in a role play situation and had to use the new language.

The new lesson material was created by a team of experienced teachers, and provides templates and all needed material for better lessons. Since the lessons matched the textbook material, students could review outside of the classroom. It was a huge improvement for both teachers and students.

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