Priority 1 Choosing a coursebook


It is an undeniable fact that coursebooks play a vital role in foreign language education. They are the basis of the educational process and the backbone of every lesson. For these reasons, it is easy to understand that choosing a coursebook is one of the most important decisions a Foreign Language School Owner/Director or teacher has to make.

There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing a coursebook and deciding on the best one to adopt.

First of all, we should make sure that the ideas, topics, subjects and the general material included in the coursebook are appropriate for the age, mentality and maturity of the students. Also, they ought to promote collaborative learning, ethical values and empathy – traits that help pupils form their characters and personalities the best way possible. In this way, they can become not only responsible and confident but also self -reliant citizens of tomorrow.

Secondly, a coursebook should have a practical layout. Its modules, units, lessons or contents must have a clear layout, allowing the students to get to each part easily, without the help of the teacher. The accompanying books, such as Workbooks, Companions, Grammar Books, Test Booklets, must have a similar layout with corresponding units and materials, something that would make it easy for the pupil to follow.

What is more, coursebooks should be colourful, beautifully illustrated, attractive to the eye so that they make students eager to browse them, willing to know what is in store for them. Also, the font of the text should be easy to read and understand, keeping some space for potential notes. The same must happen with the accompanying books, which should also be pleasant to the reader.

Furthermore, another factor that we could always have in mind is whether the publishing house that produces the coursebook, gives free supplementary or photocopiable material for both teachers and students to use. Also, lesson planning, suggestions and ideas on how to make the lesson even more interesting should be included in the Teacher’s Guide.

The publishing houses are also responsible for the interactive and digital material of the books provided. The e-books should be attractive to look at, have beautiful graphics, make the students want to be engaged in the whole educational experience with additional material, such as videos, songs, games, stories etc. Whenever there is a problem, they must promptly assist the educator who uses their books, especially when technical issues occur.

Something else that is also an important factor when choosing a coursebook is the amount of time we have at our disposal for each lesson so that we finish all the material in time. The teachers should have the opportunity to do something of their own, supplementing or adapting the material to match their students’ needs.

Last but not least, another considerable factor is the price of the books. Usually, publishing houses provide students with special packages and offers that keep prices down. However, as inflation is making the costs higher and higher, students’ parents find it more and more difficult to afford all the expenses of foreign language education. Of course, this does not mean we should cut down on quality so that our clients can save a few euros, but we must never forget the financial difficulties several families face. 

No matter how carefully we choose a coursebook, we should always have in mind that there is the possibility that things can go wrong. There may be pupils who do not enjoy the learning process; the material included and presented to them may not be to their liking; or a new grammatical phenomenon may be difficult to understand. The diversity and variety of characters in a foreign language class make the educators’ efforts harder, and there are times when our choice of coursebooks seems to have failed.

Educators should never feel disappointed, discouraged or frustrated. We must be flexible when difficulties arise, adapt the material we have at our disposal, make it suitable and appropriate for our students. We can always use supplementary material, like board games, props or realia, and finally we will achieve our goals. At the end of the school term, we are going to look at the whole season in retrospect, evaluate what worked well and what didn’t, taking advantage of the experience we have gained during the school term. Solutions to every problem can be found after careful consideration, leading to a better and more effective lesson in the following season.

All in all, choosing the right coursebook is a complex and serious process, with many factors to be taken into account. We should always be careful and thoughtful and have the students’ best interests in mind so that the results of our efforts can be the best possible!


George Vavoulidis

George Vavoulidis

FLS Owner, Chess Champion & Instructor