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Title: Ideal and reality of textbook selection : an interview- and questionnaire- based investigation in the Taiwanese tertiary context
Author: Huang, Shu-er
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 4148
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This mixed-methods study looks at the theory and practice of textbook selection, describing the criteria that teachers say they actually use when selecting textbooks in the Taiwanese tertiary context, exploring the reasons associated with these criteria, asking teachers to prioritize overall among these criteria, and finally comparing these with the suggestions for teachers which are put forward in the literature. To my knowledge, no studies have either systematically investigated teachers‟ actual criteria or, indeed, the reasons for these criteria and priorities among them. It is therefore not clear whether the criteria recommended in the literature are appropriate for helping teachers select a textbook for their own learners – indeed, the needs, objectives, backgrounds and preferred styles of learners will differ from context to context, and it is therefore likely that the criteria that have been suggested cannot necessarily be applied to different teaching contexts. This study employed an exploratory mixed-methods design, which first attempted to explore Taiwanese teachers‟ criteria and reasons for selecting a textbook through three-phase interviews, and second, based on the three-phase interview data, sought to assess what degree of importance teachers attach to the different evaluation criteria through an online questionnaire. The interviews were conducted with twenty-five teachers in six selected Taiwanese tertiary contexts in Phase One and nineteen from the same group in Phase Two. Also 138 questionnaires were completed and returned by a large group of teachers (15.5 per cent return rate). The main findings of this study are, first, that the use and role of the textbook described by teachers in this context match quite well with what has been previously identified in the literature. Second, the interview results show that the degree of teachers‟ involvement in evaluating and selecting textbooks varies. Their degree of involvement and procedures for selection vary from university to university and from individual to individual. Teachers do conduct pre-, in-, and post-use evaluation individually. However, they do not conduct in-use and post-use evaluation systematically and/or in a formal way. In some universities, post-use and pre-use evaluation as well as in-use and post-use evaluation even overlap. Third, I systematically investigated teachers' actual stated criteria in this context and explored reasons for their criteria in an in-depth manner. 70 criteria were identified as particularly important after being prioritised by teachers in the survey. The criteria in the categories of Authenticity, Self-instruction, and Cultural Issues attract considerable attention from teachers when they evaluate materials. The most important individual criteria were also identified. Finally, it was revealed that many teachers in this context have little or no training in evaluating materials. The significance of the study is, first, that this is the first study to systematically investigate teachers‟ own criteria for textbook selection with their associated reasons and priorities. Second, by reviewing the literature, I have provided a comparative analysis and, on this basis, an original synthesis of published materials evaluation criteria. This functioned to help me investigate the possible gaps between what teachers actually consider when evaluating materials and what it is suggested teachers should consider. The main gaps are in the category of Practical Concerns, which indicates that the set of criteria teachers employ for selecting a textbook must come from within the teaching context itself. Finally, the sequential exploratory mixed-methods design employed for this study provided a more comprehensive view than would any one method alone. This not only improved the quality of the final results in the present study, but can also serve as a model for future researchers to explore the issues of materials evaluation in their own, unique teaching contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education