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UAE English Skills: A Textbook Evaluation

Al Falasi, Hessa Ghanem
A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Hessa Ghanem Al Falasi Entitled, "UAE English Skills: A Textbook Evaluation," January 2008. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
National English textbooks are considered to be the main element of the English language curriculum at government schools in the UAE. Tens of thousands of students studying at these schools depend on national textbooks for their English language learning. Therefore it is essential to regularly review and evaluate these textbooks to determine their suitability for the country's context and their potential ability to develop students' language competence. One of the newest additions to the national English textbooks used at government schools is the UAE English Skills series of textbooks. This study sheds light on the change that happened in the English curriculum which led to the adoption of the UAE English Skills for grades 7, 8, and 10, and attempts at determining their pedagogical value and effectiveness through conducting an in-depth textbook evaluation. The study also investigates teachers' attitudes towards the adoption of the UAE English Skills textbooks and their perception of their value and suitability to the UAE's context. The main purpose of the study is to determine the overall pedagogical value and suitability of the UAE English Skills series of textbooks to the UAE's context. It seeks answers to the following questions: What is the pedagogical effectiveness of the new series of textbooks? Are they suitable for the UAE's context? In what ways can they help UAE students improve their English language? What are the reasons for the change that happened in the curriculum? What are teachers' attitudes towards the new series of textbooks and how are they adapting their teaching methods to them? To achieve the purpose of the study, both qualitative and quantitative data are gathered from multiple sources including interviews, surveys, textbook evaluation forms, and in-depth evaluation of samples from the textbooks. Results indicate that the UAE English Skills for grades 7, 8, and 10, in spite of not being preceded by any kind of needs analysis, has some remarkable features that would assist students in developing their English language skills and improving their general language competence. Results from teachers' surveys and textbook evaluation forms reveal that teachers perceive the textbooks to be appropriate for their students' needs as language learners. However, teachers pointed out that they still need to attend more training sessions and workshops to help them in making the best use of the UAE English Skills textbooks.
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