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The unmourned textbook

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The old-fashioned English textbook is creeping back into schools but it must be stopped, writes Nicholas Tucker

Hardback textbooks, once such a part of English lessons in secondary schools, have now mostly disappeared. Given to optimistic titles – Vital English, Positive English, English with Interest – they burgeoned during the 1960s when there was more money around for bulk purchases. Every volume tended to follow the same formula, whereby various different tasks were set on each page with the intention of keeping pupils reasonably occupied while hopefully learning something. They were also very useful for setting homework (‘Page 35, sections 4, 5 and 6’). But in most cases the model remained basically reactionary, going for exercises reaching back into increasingly irrelevant former orthodoxies.

Grammar exercises usually remained king, with pupils instructed and then tested on the difference between the Future Perfect Continuous in the Past and the Future in the Past Continuous...

Full article in the November issue, on sale 12th October.


This story was from November 2016 issue. Subscribe Now