Textbook Analysis

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University of Latvia
Faculty of Humanities
Department of English Studies

Textbook Analysis

3rd year, group B student
Kristaps Briedis

Riga 2013

Introduction

The “Focus on Advanced English C.A.E.” is written by Sue O’Connell and first published in Pearson Education Limited at the Edinburgh Gate, Harlow in year 1999, and the edition at hand is the thirteenth impression printed in 2006. The textbook is oriented for students preparing for the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English examination. Further, the analysis of syllabus will be based on the material given in the revised and updated edition of the “Advanced English C.A.E.” The whole text book consists of 240 pages. It includes fourteen units, which are divided according to different topics (e.g. Severe Weather, Time Eaters, Stress etc.). Each unit of the “Advanced English C.A.E.” is devoted to the development of all language skills: reading, writing, listening, speaking. Moreover, there are grammar and vocabulary tasks in each unit. One unit from the “Advanced English C.A.E.” (Unit 12 “Living Dangerously”) was chosen for the analysis of the whole book, because each unit is devoted to the development of all language skills and thus, it is enough to analyze only one of them in order to understand how the whole book “works”.

Reading

Reading can be defined as the process of constructing meaning from written texts (Online 1). Thus, learning reading skills means understanding the text what one reads. But why do we need to understand what we read? According to Harmer (2001:200), there are two types of reasons for reading. The first is instrumental reason, which means that people read because it helps him/her to achieve particular goal (e.g. people read road signs in order to know where to go). The other type is called pleasurable. That means that the reason for reading some particular text is to get pleasure (e.g. reading illustrated cartoon). Thus, it does not matter what reason the student has, it is important for him/her to practice reading skills. Unit 12 of the “Advanced English C.A.E.” offers the students two reading exercises. The first text is the magazine article called “Living Dangerously.” It contains about 400 words and is divided into 8 paragraphs. There is a pre-reading exercise, which students should do before reading the main text. The pre-reading exercises motivate the students and encourage their involvement in the topic and theme of the text (Online 2). After doing a pre-reading and a while-reading activity, students are asked to fill the gaps in the article choosing the proper paragraph (from A-G) given after the text. In order to achieve a general understanding of a text, the students do extensive reading, which includes scanning (a quick reading, focusing on locating specific information) and skimming (a quick reading to know how the passage is organized and to get an idea of the intention of the writer) (Online 3). Finally, the post-reading exercise is given to check how the students have understood the text and to develop their critical thinking. In this exercise the students are asked to find given expressions in the text and work out the meaning of them from the context (e.g. vested interest might mean a personal stake or involvement in an undertaking or situation). As the second task, a newspapers article “You are caught in a fire then what?” is given. It is about two times longer than previous article (about 800 words). Firstly, students are asked to scan the text (to read it quickly) in order to be able to answer some questions in pre-reading activity (e.g. Who devised the Survival Game and why?). Then, students should read the article more carefully in order to do the following post-reading exercise. This type of exercise is different from the first one. In the second case students have to answer multiple choice questions. There are 6 questions with 4 answers in each. Some advantages of this type of exercises...
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