1. Framework

A coursebook provides a clear framework: teacher and learners know where they are going and what is coming next, so that there is a sense of structure and progress.

2. Syllabus

In many places the coursebook serves as a syllabus: if it is followed systematically, a carefully planned and balanced selection of language content will be covered.

3. Ready-made texts and tasks

The coursebook provides texts and learning tasks which are likely to be of an appropriate level for most of the class. This of course saves time for the teacher who would otherwise have to prepare his or her own.

4. Economy

A book is the cheapest way of providing learning material for each learner; alternatives, such as kits, sets of photocopied papers or computer software, are likely to be more expensive relative to the amount of material provided.

5. Convenience

A book is a convenient package. It is bound, so that its components stick together and stay in order; it is light and small enough to carry around easily; it is of a shape that is easily packed and stacked; it does not depend for its use on hardware or a supply of electricity.

6. Guidance

For teachers who are inexperienced or occasionally unsure of their knowledge of the language, the coursebook can provide useful guidance and support.

7. Autonomy

The learner can use the coursebook to learn new material, review and monitor progress with some degree of autonomy. A learner without a coursebook is more teacher-dependent.


1. Inadequacy

Every class - in fact, every learner - has their own learning needs: no one coursebook can possibly supply these satisfactorily.

2. Irrelevance, lack of interest

The topics dealt with in the coursebook may not necessarily be relevant or interesting for your class.

3. Limitation

A coursebook is confining: its set structure and sequence may inhibit a teacher's initiative and creativity, and lead to boredom and lack of motivation on the part of the learners.

4. Homogeneity

Coursebooks have their own rationale and chosen teaching/learning approach. They do not usually cater for the variety of levels of abiiity and knowledge, or of learning styles and strategies that exist in most classes.

5. Over-easiness

Teachers find it too easv to follow the coursebook uncritically instead of using their initiative; they may find themselves functioning merely as mediators of its content instead of as teachers in their own rignt.

© Cambridge University Press 1996

Last modified: Friday, 30 April 2010, 8:12 PM