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Language Coursebooks in Private Lessons - Please share your opinion! I have recently started to learn French (from scratch) in italki and I have mixed feelings about the use of coursebooks in private lessons (e.g: Alter Ego, Écho, Saison). I think textbooks can be really artificial and strange. However, I also think that they are really good to set goals and to see your progress (you know how much time and work is going to take to reach the next level). Once most language coursebooks were written to be used in a classroom setting, I believe that there are a considerable amounts of exercises that are not the best for private lessons. After reaching advanced level in both Spanish and English, I can say that in those languages it was great for me to follow coursebooks in A1-B2. After that (C1-C2), it has been better to use real life materials and targeted grammar practice to improve my skills. In French, I am considering going from coursebooks to target grammar and real life materials even before reaching the A2 level.

What is your opinion about the use of textbooks (A1-C2) in private lessons? Do you think they are effective? Are they too artificial? Are they more suited to language classrooms (more than 1 student)? How do you like to work with your tutor / teachers?

Apr 2, 2018 4:58 PM
Comments · 4
I have often used a coursebook to provide an assessment. As each chapter focuses on different grammar, I choose  an exercise from each chapter and note in which chapters a student has problems. Then we can focus on the grammar points in those chapters.
April 23, 2018

It depends. A great and an experienced teacher teaching from an interesting textbook knows how to use it in one-to-one lesson so that any student benefits of it. As for me, I am learning French from the textbook in a classroom environment. We use a perfect textbook Totem which allows us to learn either in a class or at home on our own. But I don’t think that it is the most appropriate way to learn a real everyday language because there are topics I am not interested in at all and I can’t imagine myself discussing them or to learn more about them in a real life. On the other hand good textbooks are often very well structured with use of an effective methodology. 

I think that learning from textbooks is inevitable for those considering studying at universities or aiming to get any language certificate. Up to level B2 I was used to learning English from textbooks. I found it useful and beneficial because I had  considered taking any exam to get a certificate then. Recently I’ve started learning from C1 textbook but I find it irrelevant to my needs and interrests which makes me bored and puts me really off. 

April 23, 2018
I agree with you. Before C1 or B2 level, textbooks are useful. If you are B2 or C1, the teacher is more important. Experienced teachers will guide you in a right path. 
April 23, 2018
I find that at the very beginning levels coursebooks can be helpful, but after a certain level, it is best to study from real-life examples of videos, books, and websites.  In this way you get exposed to the real world language usage. This is one of the reasons that I usually use websites to teach from rather than a particular book, especially in English teaching.  In Hebrew and Aramaic, however a course book is very useful. 
April 23, 2018
Language Skills
English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language