Adaptation for the English Classroom

One of the hardest things is to find a textbook for your students that fits. You usually just can’t go down to the local book store and easily find what you:re looking for, nor do you have the budget to buy a pile of books which look good on-line. I have been very happy at my school with the textbook I use for teaching children, Oxford’s Let’s Go English course. But the tricky part was the upper level adult students who needed a book that catered to their maintenance level needs.


This is where the idea of adapting an existing English printed book for English lessons began. I found a hefty book produce by eHow titled How to Do Just About Everything, with 1,001 instructions on how to do a lot of different things. This book is very thick and my students have been lugging their copies around to lessons for a while.


The point was that I took many of the instructions and made a worksheet that could be placed in a binder. On the sheet were vocabulary from that chosen text, questions, a task for the students and a space for a homework assignment. Using this format I made at least 100 lessons, far out-stripping any normal textbook for English learners which would usually have no more than 20 to 50 lessons )if you were really lucky!.

After 6 years of using this method I started to run out of options. That and the books material was getting out of date. Advice on syncing a Palm device or other technology based things has come a long way since 2004 and the book is now out of print anyway. So I turned to looking for a replacement and have found the Reader’s Digest How to Do Just About Anything )!. I don:t even care if there is a conflict of copywriter here, just happy they have produced a good book. This book is out of print too, but was printed in 2012 and is much more up to date. It also has a lot of pictures and diagrams, something the other text did not and I spent many an hour searching for the things needed to make the worksheets. With a little tweaking I have already pumped out 5 lessons for my students to use.


If you are a language teacher I would recommend trying to adapt advice type books for making lessons. They offer variety in vocabulary, are real native English, and give the students a lot of practice explaining in steps which makes them more functional in a communication sense. Give ’em a try!

Keep writing.


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