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Fit for purpose? A new approach to evaluating the suitability of textbooks for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language in the UK

Fit for purpose? A new approach to evaluating the suitability of textbooks for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language in the UK
Chengqian Guo

2018

School of East Asian Studies, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S10 2TN, UNITED KINGDOM.

ABSTRACT

A new approach was adopted for this research, combining qualitative research methods and textbook evaluation to develop a definitive list of criteria for the evaluation of teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL) textbooks. The criteria for the textbook evaluation were derived from interviews with and surveys of teachers, administrators, learners, and textbook writers. The list of criteria developed thus includes some that have not been mentioned by previous researchers, showing that some textbook user needs have not been previously identified.

It is hoped that the comprehensive and workable list of textbook evaluation criteria developed here will be of use not only for future researchers, but also for those who seek to choose appropriate textbooks with which to teach TCFL, including administrators and teachers. More immediately, the results of individual and group evaluations conducted as part of this research show how the TCFL textbooks currently in the market could be improved. The in-depth analysis of the three pairs of textbooks carried out in this research both highlights the merits of a good textbook and supports the results of the evaluations.

Theoretically, this research has developed its own theoretical framework by proposing an approach to textbook evaluation based on the analysis of qualitative research. This framework bridges the fields of L2 learning, L2 teaching, learners’ needs, and the field of resource development and evaluation. This research also reveals much about how textbooks are designed, used and evaluated.