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Volume 8 Number 1, Spring 2011, Pages 1-162   

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An Analytical Evaluation of Iranian High School ELT Textbooks from 1970 to the Present

    Akbar Azizifar, Mansoor Koosha and Ahmad Reza Lotfi

Textbooks play a very crucial role in the process of language teaching and learning. The present study carries out an evaluation of two series of ELT textbooks used for teaching English language in Iranian high schools from 1970 to the present. For this purpose, Tucker's (1975) textbook evaluation model is employed. Graded English and Right Path to English series were compared and contrasted. The advantages and disadvantages of each series were evaluated for pronunciation, grammar, content, and some general criteria on the basis of Tucker's (1975) evaluation system. At the beginning of the two series, there is an introduction that attempts to clarify the intended teaching objectives, but as the results of the study show these objectives have not been realized. Based on the analysis of the two series, there are not considerable differences among Graded English and Right Path to English as far as the pronunciation criteria are concerned. Graded English and Right Path to English fall on the positive side of the continuum when it comes to the grammar criteria. This reveals, on the one hand, the fact that they are fundamentally based on the structural views of syllabus design, on the other, that Right Path to English does not completely correct the inadequacies of Graded English as far as the fundamental concepts of syllabus design are concerned. The shortcomings of Graded English and Right Path to English to accord with the communicative aspects of language teaching - or specifically syllabus design and text construction - are much more revealed in applying the content criteria and especially the criterion which focuses on the appropriateness of contexts and situations. Graded English and Right Path to English are found to have overemphasized the practice of the linguistic forms, while not many of their language learning activities actually include activities which stimulate or lead to authentic communication and language use. The researchers suggest that in the textbooks, there should be enough opportunity for the learners to communicatively practice the language they are learning.

Keywords: English language teaching & learning, text book design, text book evaluation, communication, achievement