Criteria for selecting an ELT coursebook

Selecting the right English Language Teaching coursebook is very important for successful language learning. This article delves into the necessary criteria that teachers should consider before choosing an ELT coursebook. By examining factors such as alignment with the curriculum, content relevance, supplementary materials and learner engagement, this article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to help make the appropriate decisions when choosing an ELT coursebook.

Introduction: When it comes to teaching English, choosing the right coursebook is a significant decision that can greatly impact the language learning experience of students. With a plethora of options available in the market nowadays, teachers must carefully evaluate various criteria to ensure that the chosen coursebook aligns with the learning objectives and teaching style. An effective ELT coursebook must provide a structured and comprehensive framework for language acquisition, catering for the diverse needs and learning styles of students. This article analyses the key criteria that should be taken into account before choosing an ELT coursebook, emphasizing the importance of matching the coursebook to the specific needs and preferences of the students.

Key Criteria for choosing an ELT Coursebook

I strongly believe that the number one key factor when choosing a coursebook is its alignment with the curriculum and the learning objectives. It is vital that the coursebook should cover the necessary language skills such as speaking, reading and writing, grammatical phenomena, vocabulary and topics which are specified in the curriculum. Moreover, the ideal ELT Coursebook should capture the learner’s interest through its authentic content. To be more precise, the content should be relevant to their lives, interests and experiences which means that the learning process will be more enjoyable and meaningful (Tsiplakides, 2011).

A third factor worth mentioning is that the ELT coursebook should offer a great range of activities and exercises to cater for different learning styles and preferences. These may include pair work, group activities, role plays, games, listening tasks and writing assignments. Interactive and communicative activities can enhance student’s engagement and participation in class. Finally, the proper ELT coursebook should provide adequate support and resources for teachers, including lesson plans, answer keys, audio materials and supplementary activities. Teacher’s guides and online resources can help teachers use the coursebook in their teaching practice in an effective manner and adapt it to the needs of each student (El-Dakhs, 2011).

One can research coursebooks very easily, by checking out publishers’ websites, where they can find out sample pages of the books or even ask reps to send out a copy of the coursebooks they are interested in. Some publishing houses, can send you out samples of their books free of charge whereas some others may ask you to pay a small fee. It depends on each publishing house’s policy.

Additionally, you can visit bookstores and have a look at some coursebooks or ask fellow teachers to suggest some coursebooks they have already used in their classroom. Another practical advice would be to search online about reviews of coursebooks. It’s a good idea to read reviews, compare different opinions and consider the specific needs of your students and their teaching style.

As far as the pedagogical approach of a coursebook is concerned, it seems obvious that you should always keep in mind that choosing a coursebook that matches your teaching style is really important because it helps create a cohesive and effective learning experience for students. When the teaching style and coursebook align, it allows you to seamlessly integrate the content and activities into your lesson, making it easier for you to engage your students and meet their learning needs. It also helps to ensure consistency in the approach and methodology you use throughout the course. So, it is obvious that finding a coursebook that complements your teaching style can greatly enhance the overall learning experience (Harmer, 2015; Muhammad, 2008).

Conclusion: Choosing the appropriate ELT coursebook is an important decision that requires careful consideration of various criteria to ensure effective language learning outcomes. By evaluating factors such as teaching methodology, supplementary materials and learners’ engagement, teachers can make informed decisions when selecting an ELT coursebook that meets their specific needs and preferences. Finally, a well-chosen coursebook can enhance the process of the learning experience, inspire students and contribute to their overall language proficiency and fluency. Being a ‘victim’ myself twice in my professional career, I strongly advise you to take into consideration all these criteria and make a thorough research of coursebooks before making your final decision.


Aikaterini Armaou

Aikaterini Armaou

English teacher, MA in Special Education, BA in French Language and Literature