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A. Introduction of Textbooks
At a time when oral instruction still prevailed as the method used to transmit
knowledge and instruction, written texts, although then the reserve of a privileged
minority of educated people, had already taken on a didactic role. Whatever their
nature, such texts had for many centuries served as teaching tools and instructional
aids, alongside their function of historical conservation or of leaving tangible and
faithful traces of societies and civilisations.
Since education for all was at first introduced in a few countries and then later
recognized as a universal right, the generalized use of textbooks has become
mandatory in ensuring the effectiveness of instruction and success at school. Yet, if
needs for books have been satisfied in quite a large number of countries, notably
the developed or industrialized ones, this is not the case for many developing
nations. Once generalisation of primary education had been defined as a priority
target by all developing countries at the beginning of the sixties, the problem arose
of the prerequisites for its attainment build schools, train teachers and educational
personnel, adapt curricula to development objectives, multiply didactic resources,
in particular school textbooks, for millions of children. For the majority of
countries faced with this problem, the financial and human resources required far
exceeded real possibilities. Choices had to be made. Teacher training has most
often been given priority due to the rapid increases in school enrolment figures
resulting from rising demographic growth rates. Substantial external assistance has
been provided for teacher training, particularly by Unesco, and the number of
teachers has increased significantly, even though a severe deficit remains in many
developing countries.

B. Definition of Textbooks

A textbook is a manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study.
They are produced according to the demand of the educational institutions.
Textbooks are usually published by one of the four major publishing companies,
although most textbooks are only published in printed format, some can now be
viewed online as the electronic books. Textbook is also a teaching tool (material)
which presents the subject matter defined by the curriculum.
According to Hudec (2005) textbook is a teaching tool (material) which presents
the subject matter defined by the curriculum. A university textbook is required to
contain the complete overview of the subject, including the theories, as well as to
be of a more permanent character.
C. The Importance of Textbooks in Teaching and Learning Process
Based on Roger Seguins book, there are some reasons why the textbook is
important for teaching and learning process, they are like:
1. Textbooks as a systematically progressive fashion
These are educational texts which propose a structure, an order and a
progression in the teaching-learning process:
a. instruction is structured, organized in chapters and in units.
b. the content of learning (information, explanations, comments, practical
exercises, summaries, evaluation) is presented in an order
c. there is systematic progression of learning towards the acquisition of new
knowledge and learning new concepts, based on known items of
These textbooks are real working tools for the teacher and the pupil. Whilst
teacher's guides do enter into this category, they are intended only for the
teacher and their structure, organization and content differs from textbooks for

2. Textbooks for references or consultation.

These are texts containing a body of information in a certain field for the
purposes of reference or consultation as and when needed. Neither their
organisation, nor structure is specifically applicable to the learning process.

Rivers (1968: 475) stated that the importance of the textbook cannot be
overestimated. It will inevitably determine the major part of the classroom
teaching and the students out-of-class learning.

Hutchinson & Torres (1994: 315) also stated that the danger with ready-made
textbooks is that they can seem to absolve teachers of responsibility. Instead of
participating in the day-to-day decisions that have to be made about what to teach
and how to teach it, it is easy to just sit back and operate the system, secure in the
belief that the wise and virtuous people who produced the textbook knew what
was good for us.

According to Torah Aura as the publisher of textbooks, the textbooks are very
important. She explained eight reasons why the textbooks are important, such as:

1. Textbooks Should Be Books of Texts

A good textbook is not merely a well designed collection of facts with exercises
that review those facts. A good textbook is filled with words that are worth
remembering. Those words need to demand interpretation and choice. In other
words, a good textbook is a series of discussions that have impact, that allow
for self-clarification and self-actualization, that build connection, friendship,
and community.
2. Textbooks Should Encourage and Develop
Students using the information they have gleaned from studying the actual text,
opinions they have formed while studying the text, lead to articulate and
original expositions of the text. It is both a process of interpretation and a
creative expression. The activity is empowered by it happening with a partner,
before a classroom performance.
3. Textbooks Have Content and Structure that Leads to Activities
Good textbooks need to lead to moments of learning. They need to turn
classrooms into memorable moments. To be clear, text study and learning have
great experiential potential, but they are not the only vehicles for effective
learning. Good textbooks provide multiple active possibilities.

4. Textbooks Provide Scope and Sequence
Jean Piaget makes it clear that things like chronology and other organizational
structures cannot be mastered until students enter the fourth development stage,
concrete-operational, sometime around puberty. That means that teaching
things like sequential history makes no sense much, but it does not mean that
learning does not need structure.
5. Textbooks Actively Honor Visual Learners
It gives students a chance to both see and hear the material at the beginning.
Then they are told to work. Students rehearse the material with each other. They
are working with both seeing and hearing as they perfect the performance of the
material. Finally, they present and the teacher has a chance to make any
6. Textbooks Allow Students to Go Ahead
Sometimes its hard for teachers to remember that students will not dedicate
100% of their attention to what the teacher is saying and doing. Textbooks
actually allow students to learn on their own (when teachers are teaching them)
by reading and flipping ahead.
7. Textbooks Improve Tutoring
Textbooks help tutors. Using textbooks gives them a structure to share with the
classroom, and doesnt force them to guess what track is appropriate. When
tutors have access to a textbook, they can work out a course that parallels and
reinforces what is being done in the classroom.
8. Textbooks are Really Important for Novice Teachers
Many education institutions explain that, A textbook is not a curriculum.
They tend to imply that real teachers write their own curricular materials. They
have created the material with the belief that great textbooks and accompanying
material can be a foundation on which schools and teachers are able to build the
curriculum. Teachers teach students and the teachable moment and need to
make lots of choices. Textbooks and guides can be the best way for novice
teachers to make such choices.
D. The Objectives of Textbooks in Teaching and Learning Process

The elaboration of textbooks and teacher training should preferably be coordinated
in a way that will ensure that teachers can, in practice, use the books available to
the pupils in the most effective way possible. The type of education for which
teachers are trained and their qualifications must, therefore, be taken into
consideration. Textbooks inspired by a pedagogy which leaves little freedom for
initiative could require the teacher to complement the textbook by means of
surveys, information seeking, practical work and the like.
Moreover, it would be unreasonable to elaborate textbooks whose level and
complexity would preclude the teacher's taking advantage of all their possibilities.
They should, therefore, be adapted to the average skills of teachers, bearing in
mind that the textbook can be one way for less qualified teachers to improve their
training, and thus, their teaching.


Aura, Torah. (1988). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. ELT Journal, 42 (4),

Hudec, Goran (2005) Reflections on the study of textbooks, History Of Education,

November, 2004, Vol. 33, No. 6.

Hutchinson, Tom & Torres, Eunice (1994). The textbook as agent of change. ELT
Journal, 48 (4), 315-327.

Richard, J.C. 2001.Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press

Rivers, Wilga M. (1968). Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: Chicago

University Press.