Where does a buxiban curriculum go after the standard 6 grammar/student books

I’m redesigning the curriculum at my buxiban (elementary children). There are 20-30 (probably more) different 6 book curriculum (beginner to intermediate) at Caves and most of them cover similar material (up to present perfect tense). Some of them differ in levels of how awful they are but that’s not really important. I have picked a set of 6 books and I like them but I’m not sure where to go from there or where to go with students that are finishing the current 6 book series.

Twice this school has put the students into the Azar Grammar books (the black book). cavesbooks.com.tw/mainpage/m … sify_sn=97 This has some great grammar exercises but I don’t think it’s suitable as a course book.
Another class used some self created (not by me) handouts to teach the 12 verb tenses and it was sorely lacking.

Previously I taught a curriculum at a different school that used American Shine then American Headway and then Interchange. I didn’t really like these books those. The grammar content was appropriate but boring (esp Shine and Headway).

My goal is to start keeping some students as they move into Jr High School. Previously the school just closed these classes in favor of younger students. I did find a series of advanced readers that I want to use but I would still like a grammar book (preferably a series). cavesbooks.com.tw/mainpage/m … sify_sn=95 They are kind of science based and interesting.

I agree with you that books for younger intermediate students are lacking… I also browse Caves and found the same books you mentioned… and they suck. Then I found, at Caves a newer book I hadn’t seen before ( although I must confess, I hadn’t browsed Caves for a while ) and it has a series of 5 levels. It’s called World Link. I started using the beginner book and found it was fairly interesting… and the students liked it. I hope this helps.

Pre-made language books suck in all kinds of directions. I just pick one with lots of pictures, things with lots of stuff to provide visual referents with matching sentences. Of course, I can do exactly the same thing, to greater and more interesting effect, with a projector and access to imgur, or with things called dialogue-free comics, so I’ve given up on finding appealing textbooks ever.

I’m going to consider this one of the worst posts ever. Yes, pre-made language books (especially the standard 6 books) have all kinds of issues but your method is completely awful. I pick books based on how appropriate the grammar topics are, how appropriate the sight words are and how well the writing activities are within the book. So far I have found a simple easy to teach and learn from 6 book series to start with. I have also found a nice 3 book series with book 3 providing a good review (of the original 6 books) of the 5 major verb tenses that were learned within the first 6 books. The question is where does a curriculum go from there? And this is for advanced grammar and students that have been studying for more than 4+ years. At this point the grammar learning is definitely a secondary objective but it’s still a necessary objective. I’m definitely not coming up with several years of advanced curriculum by myself and dismissing the work of people that have been doing that for decades with decades of higher study. I’m just looking for a series of books that are appropriate for late elementary/jr high school students in Taiwan rather than HS school/university students in a much different country.

That description allegedly would apply to American Headway, which you mention above.

I wouldn’t dismiss them out of hand either.

I’d hunt them down, and torture them, then I’d shoot them out of hand, pour encourager les autres

If you’ve used that shit (as I have, as the psychic scars show), pretty much anything else (eg American English File, Top Notch/Summit, World Link/World Pass), is going to be a honeysuckle scented zephyr by comparison, though they still suck somewhat.

I’m going to consider this one of the worst posts ever. Yes, pre-made language books (especially the standard 6 books) have all kinds of issues but your method is completely awful. I pick books based on how appropriate the grammar topics are, how appropriate the sight words are and how well the writing activities are within the book. So far I have found a simple easy to teach and learn from 6 book series to start with. I have also found a nice 3 book series with book 3 providing a good review (of the original 6 books) of the 5 major verb tenses that were learned within the first 6 books. The question is where does a curriculum go from there? And this is for advanced grammar and students that have been studying for more than 4+ years. At this point the grammar learning is definitely a secondary objective but it’s still a necessary objective. I’m definitely not coming up with several years of advanced curriculum by myself and dismissing the work of people that have been doing that for decades with decades of higher study. I’m just looking for a series of books that are appropriate for late elementary/jr high school students in Taiwan rather than HS school/university students in a much different country.[/quote]

If it took you six books to teach people to understand five verb tenses, parents should demand their money back.

Edit: That wasn’t fair. Maybe these books are only ten pages in length. Then I would be very impressed.

The point you’re missing, ehopi, is that the OP wants a curriculum, not a set of materials, not a direction to go when teaching, not something to grab before heading into the classroom. He wants a set plan that will encompass certain grammatical points (I don’t personally agree that organizing curriculum around grammar points is the best way to go, but clearly this program is doing that and has been for the past six years, and given the standardized testing in Taiwan and their parents/market, that’s their choice). So the 'tude should be checked at the door unless you’re going to offer something helpful about existing curricula for this age group.

Thank you. It’s not so much that I’m designing around a grammar book but I would like a grammar book as part of the course. There are certainly better ways to teach. Absolutely no debate regarding that but I certainly am not qualified to build multiples years of a curriculum from the ground up. I have taught what somebody created like this and it was sorely lacking. Perhaps I could do better but I know that I’m not an expert when it comes to intermediate to advanced materials. It would also be incredibly time consuming to do this at a level that anyone could come in and teach.

Right now I’m planning on making reading a large part of the curriculum with conversation and writing also as featured parts. I think this is what I didn’t like about using American Headway before. The school had decent writing assignments and I was impressed with the writing ability but 75+% of class time was spent going through the textbook. I brought in a lot of supplementary materials as conversation starters and the students responded well but at the end of the day American Headway didn’t relate at all to the students.

American (Air)-Headway is the Pits of Hell. Whatever you do, don’t use it again.

My courses are mostly either First Year Reading (and writing) or Second Year Language Development (all skills).

I’ve been looking for an all-skills book with an emphasis on reading (which is apparently what you want) so I can perhaps sneak it on to the approved list as a reading book, since I don’t know how to teach reading.

Havn’t found one. Most of the “pure” reading books spend a lot of time and effort asking students to identify the main idea and/or supporting details, a question that very often doesn’t have a clear answer, and learning an apparently fairly arbitary selection of vocabulary.

The best of a bad lot has been, IMO North Star, but beyond the intermediate level it melts down into terminal vagueness. That’s been taken off the approved list (“too old”) and replaced with Q Skills Reading and Writing . The articles therin are boring, predictable and frequently stupid. (exactly as you’d expect articles specially written for an American English textbook to be, in fact) but there is some grammar and writing development. I’m using that and Read This 3 (Simple, basic material for less advanced classes) this year.

I can also remember using Well Read 3 (Interesting articles, repetitive and limited questions), Reading Explorer 3 (glossy cover, poor and inconsistent content), Interactions (glossy contents, excessively verbose and vague) Mozaic (similar but a bit better) Guided Reading 2 (Simple, basic material locally produced by Caves for less advanced classes) and Cause and Effect 3 (basic reading and vocab development. Not too bad).

Didn’t like any of them much. I’d say Interactions was the worst

I think you might be better able to achieve your objective by going for an all-skills book series and then supplementing it with “extra” reading material. In theory the students here do assigned “external reading” (a graded reader or an ESL magazine), but before that I used to supplement with material from the Reading For The Real World series

I’m currently using American English File as an all-skills book, because, though not very thematic, it provides a minimal skeleton that can be supplemented if required. Its been on the list for a couple of years now so they’ll probably want to take it off again.

Confrontations in committee coming up.

You could look at the Cambridge Objective series. It is designed along the lines of the Main Suite exams and the KET, PET and FCE exams have a for school version which is also accompanied by a for schools book. Look at both before you make a decision though. That will take you up to Upper-Intermediate with a four skills approach rich in variety.

First, I rarely follow some neophytes idea of teaching English , especially when their English sucks anyway.
I’ll use their book but with vast modifications.
THEN
I turn to:
A Conversation Book 1; English in Everyday life, 3rd edition
ISBN 0-13-792433-X
There is also a book 2 that I haven’t used because I switch to TOELF iBT 1st edition by Compass publishing, now difficult to find but Amazon has most of the set.
Then after the first hour I switch to "English in Motion, Book 3 by Alling and Magee
ISBN:
978-986-82098-8-6

Keep in mind that these are good for intermediate beginners. I tried to change one time and almost had a rebellion.

Humorous Note:
I asked the bushiban to use my materials but there were words and pictures like jockey shorts, briefs, panties and bra. They had a fit that parents would object. Now at the 1st class of every new private gig, I go through the book with pics and vocabulary. Every parent, I’ve talked to, have said “yes”, they need this vocabulary. I also make it clear with Jr. high student parents that my classes DO NOT in any way hint at sex education. I’ll leave that to the schools because, obviously, mom and dad won’t broach the topic so neither will I. Unfortunately schools seem to concentrate on how to put a condom on a MONSTER carrot with scared looks on girl’s faces. But I am smarter than to go there.

A few years ago Hemispheres all-skills was on the approved list and I used it at 2 levels for one year. Lost my copies now but IIRC it was relatively OK.

The reason I mention it is that it had “canned” soft-copy test material that included unit tests with a substantial reading comprehension element.

Canned test materials are usually an order of magnitude lousier than the books they support, and I resist using them unless I’m feeling especially lazy/stressed/clueless, which unfortunately is quite a lot of the time. Reading comprehension tests are also usually hugely space-inefficient for test purposes.

These ones were, however, IIRC, relatively OK, and could perhaps be exploited if you wanted to expand the reading element of an all-skills course. Just a thought.

It appears that American Headway was completely overhauled recently. The core grammar content is probably the same but I didn’t recognize one story in the book but it has been 2.5 yrs since I taught it. I scanned several books of each but for the most part AH, World Link, Harmer’s Just Right, Smart Choice and the other similar series seemed about the same and inappropriate for Jr High students. The story content is aimed university students or young adults and it will be trudgery for the most part for younger students.

I am very impressed with the Build and Grow reading comprehension series. There are eleven 3 book series that go from beginner (Reading Sketch) to advanced (Read On) and most of the stories are interesting. I checked out North Star and one of the other series mentioned but I found them to be preachy like you are teaching material suitable for Afternoon Specials. The Build and Grow books picked various science, geography, history and life topics that could interest students. Anyways I’m very impressed and I definitely want to find a way to work these in at most levels. I have a 1st/2nd grade class that would devour the beginner books. ibuildandgrow.com/inc/layout … lchart.pdf I picked the Reading Skills Basic Way #3 for the class in question (less developed reading skills than they should) and I’m actually planning to pair it with the Grammar in Focus #3 book from the same publisher as a general grammar review. So far that is the final book in their lineup but I have awhile before another book is needed. There is one additional further advanced class that needs something though.

I also want to find a way to start working the Oxford Bookworms/Dominos series into my classes. I’m thinking of giving them a choice of 4 books and having them read them silently for the last 15 minutes of several classes and finish the book at home. At the end of the book they could do a low pressure oral or written book report. Just enough pressure to make sure they read the book but not so much that they don’t enjoy it.

I will have to look at some of the other books mentioned. That shouldn’t be a problem because I spend a lot of time at Cave’s and some at Bookman.

For FVR (free voluntary reading) you might want to consider just having an adult sign that the reading was done, not making it yet another assignment. Or have the student tell the story of the reading in Chinese to an adult. But what I mean is – keep free reading FREE if possible. Accountability and competion, yes, but if you can avoid making it another paper to write, it will help.

yeah, I have to be careful otherwise it will be a task. I’m kind of thinking of it just being like the book reports that you gave in elementary school.

The thing is, in elementary school you were just talking about something in your native language. This would be an oral report. Or a written one.

These students are in their 6th year of learning so I think they can briefly describe a book especially if I lob some easy questions at them if they get stuck.

[quote=“Abacus”] The story content is aimed university students or young adults and it will be trudgery for the most part for younger students…

… I checked out North Star and one of the other series mentioned but I found them to be preachy like you are teaching material suitable for Afternoon Specials… [/quote]

Its trudgery for older students (and old teachers) too. None of this stuff, if encountered in a dentists waiting room, would be much preferable to staring at the (Mandarin) gum disease posters.

Not being American, I had to Google Afternoon Special and found “Afterschool Special” which I assume is the same thing. Didn’t sound too bad, though I don’t particularly recall NS being especially preachy.

I should, however, have made it clearer that I have no experience with your target audience.

I was given some sample copies of [i]Be a Better Reader /i as a science-based reader, but havn’t used it. Looks a bit heavy, even in this company.

I used to use the ‘Cambridge English for Schools’ series for junior high and high school students and quite liked it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than anything else I saw on the market for that age group.

Yeah, it’s not super-fun, but it’s pretty much the only thing out there for EFL kids.