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Comparison of Selected Chapters from Textbooks Maturita Solutions and Maturita in Mind

Table of Contents
Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................ 2 Abstract ....................................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 4 The New Maturita Exam ............................................................................................................. 5 Teaching Speaking Theory....................................................................................................... 7 Textbook Evaluation Criteria .................................................................................................... 13 Evaluation and Comparison of Maturita Solutions and Maturita in Mind ............................... 15 1 Context (Miekley) ................................................................................................ 15 2 Content (Miekley)................................................................................................... 17 3 Subject and Content (Litz)....................................................................................... 18 4 Exercises and Activities (Miekley)........................................................................... 19 5 Skills (Litz)............................................................................................................. 20 6 Additional materials ................................................................................................ 20 7 Attractiveness of the Text and Physical Make-up (Miekley) ..................................... 22 Conclusion................................................................................................................................. 23 Rsum ...................................................................................................................................... 24 Bibliography.............................................................................................................................. 26

This essay compares sections on speaking in two English textbooks Maturita Solutions (by Falla and Davies, Oxford University Press) and Maturita in Mind (by Puchta and Stranks, Cambridge University Press). As the books are used in preparing students for the new Czech Maturita Exam in English, the first chapter shortly describes this exam namely its oral part. The next chapter deals with the theory of teaching speaking and is followed by specifying the evaluation criteria for the practical part of the essay. The practical part includes evaluation and comparison of the books and states its results and recommendations.

The choice of a quality textbook and materials is very important for running a good language course. Even though teachers should teach English and not a textbook, a book provides a good framework for the content of a course. There are several aspects that should be considered during choosing the right textbook. First it is the type and aim of the course. It can be a mandatory course at school or work, a course where students come in their free time, a course in general English or English for specific purposes, a preparation course for an exam or just a leisure conversational course for people who do not want to forget the language they learnt. The students themselves are important too, namely their age, level of proficiency, preferences, attitudes, financial situation and learning style. It is also good to consider what components a text-book course consists of and what support it provides for both teachers and students. All these points are taken into consideration in this essay so that the best choice can be made between books Maturita Solutions and Maturita in Mind for a secondary school course preparing students for the new Maturita Exam.

The New Maturita Exam

The coming of the new Maturita Exam has worried secondary students and their teachers since the middle 1990s, but its first version was launched as late as in 2011. However, not all its aspects should be viewed as changes for the worse. Especially the language exams are more objective now as they do not test memorized stretches of text any more, but focus on all language skills. Oral Maturita Exam in languages focuses on communication and interaction much more than the original one. This will cause a lot of problems to students who might have passed the old language Maturita Exam without any major problems. There used to be a lot of students who learnt by heart what they wanted to talk about at the exam. If they were not interrupted by the examiners questions, they could pass with very high marks, but in fact they were not able to communicate in the foreign language at all. Therefore the oral part of the language Maturita Exam can be seen as the most important one, but at the same time it might be very problematic for students. Especially for those who see English as rather challenging. For this reason, this essay focuses on the oral language Maturita or more precisely, on preparation for the exam in textbooks Maturita Soltions (further referred to as MS) and Maturita in Mind (further referred to as MM). The new oral language Maturita is supposed to take 15 minutes and shares several features with the Speaking test of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. It consists of activities included in Table 1 on page 61. At the beginning of the exam the student chooses one from 25 work sheets (by chance) and has some time for preparation according to the instructions on the sheet. Beside these, the examiner asks additional questions to test the students ability to improvise and interact. Students are allowed to use dictionaries, pictures, maps or their own notes on works of literature they had read. The last feature is similar to the original form of the Maturita Exam and so is Part 3 (see Table 1) speaking about a topic specified by the school. It can be expected that many schools will take the advantage of using original oral exam topics such as the history and geography of English speaking countries for this part of the exam. Although these tasks test knowledge and not speaking skills, the author of this essay does not see them as a big problem.

Oficiln strnky nov maturity (2010) , my own translation

Firstly, Part 3 takes up only one third of the whole exam and secondly, it is good to have at least basic knowledge of a language background. However, there is the danger of memorizing pieces of text again so the real knowledge of the facts might be again questionable. The examiners are supposed to use their own work sheets with additional questions and specific assessment criteria. Courses for teachers have been organized to ensure that the exams results are as objective as possible. However, there is still a long way to go before the new Maturita can match internationally recognized exams.

Table 1
Basic Level Part Content Introduction (motivation, initiation) 1 Interview on 1 general topic 3 5 questions Individual Long Turn on 1 general topic with the use of stimuli (pictures); 3 compulsory tasks picture description, simple comparison of 2 pictures, a short speaking task (commentary connected to the topic) Speaking on 1 specific/specialised topic; 2 tasks at maximum the topic and tested sub-skill is given by the school Interactive activity with 1 general topic a dialogue TOTAL Timing (min.) 0,5 Part Higher Level Content Introduction (motivation, initiation) 1 Interview on 1 general topic 3 5 questions Individual Long Turn on 1 general topic with the use of stimuli (pictures); 2 compulsory tasks picture comparison and personal opinion supported by arguments Timing (min.) 0,5



Speaking on 1 specific/specialised topic; 2 tasks at maximum the topic and tested sub-skill is given by the school Interactive activity with 1 general topic a dialogue TOTAL

3 15

3 15

Teaching Speaking Theory

As Scrivener puts it: There is no point knowing a lot about language if you cant use it (146, 1994). This quotation can be used as a motto for the changes in the language Maturita Exam. As mentioned above, the focus is put on use of English, skills and communication (not only in the oral exam but also in the other parts of the exam, which focus on listening, writing, reading and use of language). Also Nation and Newton point out that the main goal of a well balanced language course should be fluent control of the sounds, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and discourse features of the language, so that they can be used to communicate effectively (2009, 3). Speaking is generally defined as one of the four main language skills (i.e.: listening, reading, writing and speaking), more precisely as a productive skill or in Nation and Newtons words meaning focused output (2009, 3). However, Nation and Newtons description makes it clear that speaking and communication is a complex process. To master this skill, the learners need to know a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures so that they are able to make sentences. In Harmers words the students use any and all the language at their command (1998, 87). Besides, they must be able to choose language items appropriately according to the message they are supposed to communicate and according to the situation. Also correct pronunciation and intonation and mastery of communication principles are important for oral communication. All these aspects are assessed at the new Maturita Exam as it is explained at its official website (2010). Besides the assessment criteria above, the webpage mentions the importance of cohesion and coherence of a students speaking performance and its relevance to the topic and instructions described on the particular work sheet. For speaking, a language user further needs to be able to understand spoken language, i.e. different accents of both native and non-native speakers and to understand connected speech. They should be able to react on spot, improvise and use appropriate nonlinguistic features such as eye-contact, facial expressions or gestures. So, besides being a skill on its own, speaking comprises many other items and sub-skills, which must be taken into consideration during the learning process too. These days speaking is taught through various activities which, according to Harmer, should be engaging. Further he mentions that both the performance and results of a well set and well organised speaking activity are intrinsically motivating (1998, 88). A good textbook should provide a wide range of such activities, during which the learners would

practise the language previously done in the course. The tasks must be appropriately challenging, i.e. motivate the students for the best performance possible but at the same time not ask too much from the students. Otherwise they can be either bored or confused and embarrassed that they can not do the task, which both would be demotivating. Concerning the elements of a speaking task, Scrivener mentions the following: set the task, plan the speaking, rehearse the speaking, do the task, feedback the success, add/correct/revise. After the last phase, students can redo the task and improve it according to the feedback. During the activity, it is also good if the students can listen to an example of speakers who perform the same task (2005, 168 169). Scrivener, also mentions lead-in activities, which are very important, because they help students to warm up and motivate them so that they concentrate better on the following task (2005, 146). A lead-in can take from one to 10 minutes depending on the span and character of the main activity and there are a lot of types of it. The teacher can ask a lead-in question or questions, use a picture, a joke or an object with a commentary or questions, write several words (a phrase, sentence, quotation, ) on the board and ask about their meaning or students opinion, play a short video or piece of music, give students a riddle or puzzle activity, etc. Good textbooks include lead-ins either in students books or in teachers books but it of course depends on the teacher whether she uses them in class or not. Setting the task should naturally include the instructions for the task in which it is also important to point out the background, especially for role play activities. Instructions should also make it clear what register the students are supposed to use. Another pre-speaking activity is planning the task. Either the teacher or the students can suggest useful expressions or phrases which they might use during the task. Such expressions can be also included in a textbook. Scrivener points out that students can prepare notes but that they should not write the whole speech down (2005, 169). This would ruin the purpose of the task and would not be useful for preparation for the New Maturita either. To think about useful expressions and plan the speaking is especially important for activities during which the participants are supposed to speak on their own for some time and for students on lower levels of proficiency or less skilled ones. Subsequently, students can either do the task right away or they can rehearse it first. To practise the speaking is good either for more demanding tasks, or for less experienced speakers. A rehearsal can be also carried out as communication in pairs or groups followed by one group performing in front of the class or, as Scrivener suggest, new

groups can be made and the task done again (2005, 169). However, as Harmer points out, most in-class speaking activities are in fact rehearsals for the real life situations. (1998, 87). Feedback and review is a very important part of speaking. The students or teacher should think about the performance and comment on it. Scrivener also suggests writing notes on what can be done better next time or taking down other useful expressions. Students can than redo the main task and use suggestions from the feedback (2005, 169). There are a lot of different speaking activities and a good textbook should offer a large variety of them. Harmer points out that it is important to motivate students and give them a reason to do the task (1998, 88). If students do interesting activities and enjoy doing them, they concentrate more on the task and their results are better. Scrivener describes all communicative activities as based on an information gap (2005, 152). Also in real life people mostly communicate with each other because they need or want some information. If they do not need facts, they are interested in the opinions and attitudes. In English language teaching, the expression information gap denotes one type of speaking activity, in which students are given different pieces of information which together form a whole. The goal, naturally, is to find out the missing information. Harmer mentions Describe and Draw as a popular activity, which involves everything that a good speaking task should have it is motivating, there is a point in it and it can be used to practise almost any vocabulary or grammar. The task is to describe a picture so that another student can draw it. Harmer further suggests another version in which each student in a group is given one picture from a set, which forms a story. The students are supposed to remember what is there in their pictures and when the teacher takes the pictures back, the students discuss their pictures and try to reconstruct the story (1998, 99 100). Another popular form of this activity is a picture difference task, which is mentioned by Scrivener. Students work in pairs and each of them is given a picture. They have to find certain number of differences without looking at each others picture (2005, 153). This activity can be good practice for the New Maturita because the exam involves picture description too. Scrivener further describes a group planning activity. The teacher prepares a task with a goal to plan a future event or procedure or develop a strategy. As examples, Scrivener mentions holiday planning or a lost in the wilderness activity. In both types, students are supposed to follow the instructions and agree on a plan for the future (2005, 153).

List sequencing or ranking activities are mentioned by Scrivener too. Students are given a set of items (e.g. personal qualities, names of famous people, films, etc.) and are supposed to sort them according to given criteria, e.g. from the best to the worst. More advanced students can discuss their opinions and support them with arguments (2005, 153). Also this type of activity has a lot of forms with different instructions. Scrivener further mentions board games, puzzles and problems as good subjects for speaking activities. Most textbooks and photocopiable ELT materials (not mentioning the internet) include board games designed for practising particular language items. However, Scrivener suggests that a lot of common board games, which are available in shops, can serve this purpose too (2005, 154 - 155). Of course every teacher must consider if a particular board game is an appropriate speaking practice or if its rules should be changed. Similarly puzzles or riddles must be chosen according to what language items or speaking subskill need to be practised. As Scrivener explains, puzzles can be used as good subjects for discussion. Students can spend some time considering them on their own and then discuss them in pairs, groups or during a mingle activity (2005, 155). Discussion was mentioned several times above as a part of other speaking activities but both Harmer and Scrivener treat it separately as an activity of its own. In fact, they see it as a rather demanding task for both students and the teacher. Harmer thinks that a discussion is appropriate for intermediate and upper-intermediate students (1998, 90). Both authors further describe how a discussion should be structured and warn against possible mistakes in organising one (1998, 90 91), (2005, 146 151). Scrivener points out that if the teacher prepares topics and cues which the students find interesting and for which they know enough vocabulary, it is likely to spark a lively discussion (2005, 146). Harmer stresses that the students need to be given enough time to think about the topic and decide about their answers and opinions (1998, 91). Scrivener further advises to use Wh- questions rather than yes-no questions to motivate the students to give more complex answers and to avoid the students not participating. The teacher is supposed to help the students to structure the discussion, monitor and help with language where necessary. However, she should not interrupt the natural flow of the discussion because as Scrivener tells the teachers: The more you talk, the less space there is for learners to say something (2005, 146).Scrivener further mentions a pyramid discussion in which students work on their own first and gradually make larger and larger groups. The activity finishes with the whole class trying


to agree on an opinion (2005, 146). Harmer also suggests that a discussion can be followed by taking a vote or working with the language used during the discussion (1998, 91). Another type of speaking task is a role play. Harmer considers it an appropriate activity for upper-intermediate or advanced students, but the author of this essay does not quite agree with his opinion (1998, 92 - 93). Similarly to other skill tasks, role play can be graded according to the level of the students. Elementary students can play e. g. a receptionist asking for someones personal data, or two students who meet at the beginning of a new course and introduce themselves to each other. Harmer sees the importance of role play in practising real life situations (1998, 92). This helps students to get more confident about their speaking skills so that they are less shocked if a situation arises in which they are expected to communicate in English. For this purpose, Scrivener also introduces so called real-play which reflects situations form the students own lives. The task can be either based on students experience or it can be a simulation of a hypothetical situation based on students job, hobbies or future plans. At the beginning of a role play the setting should be described and students can be given cards with information about their roles. Students are sometime told not to show their role cards to other participants or, on the contrary, to agree on a plan in advance. Scrivener suggests that the characters can be designed to have very different opinions. Students are thus given enough motivation for a lively discussion or even an argument, which, however, is not dangerous because students are only acting (2005, 156). Scrivener further points out that the teacher should make sure that students understand both the context and their roles. They should be given enough time to read the instructions, while the teacher circulates and helps with any difficulties. It is also important that the students are comfortable with their roles and know what they are expected to do (2005, 158). During the activity the teacher should monitor but not to interrupt the activity (unless it is really necessary), because it could spoil the whole play. As Scrivener says, a role play can be a speaking task on its own or it can be used as a starting point for a discussion. According to him, it is a good activity for practising specific language items or lexical fields He also mentions its other variants such as writing a missing role card or preparing role cards for other students. (2005, 156). As a more complex role play activity, Scrivener introduces simulation. It usually takes longer than a role play and has a more elaborate setting. In Scriveners words the intention is to create a much more complete, complex world (2005, 159). There is a lot of


background information in written or recorded form, which can be either given to the students only at the beginning or revealed gradually during the activity. The second option makes the task more challenging and interesting because students have to improvise and react adequately to the changing situation. There are many other speaking activities besides those described above. Harmer for example mentions surveys, which can be easy enough for elementary students (1998, 89 90). Questionnaires or quizzes requiring a better knowledge of the language can be used for more advanced students or as starting points for other speaking activities. Further there are various mingle speaking activities, competitions, games, interview, information exchange and for more advanced learners also presentations. During a textbook evaluation, it is important to consider the range of speaking activities and also whether they are well structured. They should also be appropriate for the particular level and adequately challenging. Thanks to advances in information technology, there are also new possibilities which can make speaking activities more interesting and more effective (e.g. interactive board programmes, audio and video records, presentations, voice recording, etc.). A good textbook should provide teachers and students with good support of this kind too.


Textbook Evaluation Criteria

Every language is developing continually and so are teaching approaches. For this reason assessment criteria for textbooks must change too. The criteria used in this essay are based on Litzs (2005, 44 45) and Miekleys (2005, 4 5) evaluation checklists. Only criteria relevant to the topic of this essay have been chosen and some others have been added, especially concerning IT support, because this is the most quickly changing sphere.

List of Evaluation Criteria:

Context (Miekley) Is the textbook appropriate for the curriculum? Does the text coincide with the course goals? Is the text free of material that might be offensive? Are the examples and explanations understandable? Will the content meet students felt needs for learning English or can it be adapted for this purpose?

Content (Miekley) Is the subject matter presented either topically or functionally in a logical, organized manner? Does the content serve as a window into learning about the target language culture (American, British, etc.)?

Subject and Content (Litz) The subject and content of the textbook is interesting, challenging and motivating. The language used in the textbook is authentic - i.e. like real-life English. The language used is at the right level for my (students) current English ability. The language represents a diverse range of registers and accents.


Exercises and Activities (Miekley) Are there interactive and task-based activities that require students to use new vocabulary to communicate? Is there a wide range of activities, which are appropriate for the goal of the book? Skills (Litz) The textbook pays attention to sub-skills i.e. listening for gist, note-taking, skimming for information, etc. The practice of individual skills is integrated into the practice of other skills.

Additional materials What components does the course consist of? What audio-visual support is used for teaching speaking? Is it user friendly and effective? Is there on-line support? Is it user friendly and effective?

Attractiveness of the Text and Physical Make-up (Miekley) Is the visual imagery of high aesthetic quality? Are the illustrations simple enough and close enough to the text that they add to its meaning rather than detracting from it?


Evaluation and Comparison of Maturita Solutions and Maturita in Mind

Maturita Solutions (by Falla and Davies, Oxford University Press) is a fivelevel English course from elementary to advanced. It was first published in 2008 and each level of the course consists of a Students Book with a MultiROM, a Workbook, Class CDs, a Teachers Book and a Test Bank MultiROM. Unfortunately, there is no interactive white board software, but the second edition, which should have been published by now offers much better support. However, it is not available in the Czech Republic yet and therefore it is not analysed in this essay. Maturita in Mind (by Puchta and Stranks, Cambridge University Press) was published in 2010 and it is based on a five-level course English in Mind. English in Mind covers from elementary to advanced level but Maturita in Mind is available only for elementary and pre-intermediate levels. The course components are as follows: a Student's Book with a DVD-ROM, a Workbook, a Teacher's Resource Book, Audio CDs, a DVD (PAL), a DVD (NTSC), a Classware DVD-ROM, a Testmaker Audio CD and CD-ROM. Even though the components are originally for English in Mind, the DVDs and software can be used for MM too, because there are no major differences between the content of the textbooks.

Textbook Evaluation and Comparison

1 CONTEXT (MIEKLEY) Is the textbook appropriate for the curriculum? According to the new Framework Education Programme, language teaching should mostly focus on communication. The expected output mainly concerns language skills among which speaking plays an important role. Students of grammar schools are supposed to reach the level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages. They should be able to effectively communicate in both ordinary and specialised situations, to discuss a wide range of issues and express their opinions on various topics (including issues connected to e.g. society, culture, politics, the environment,). The analysed textbooks are on B1 level, so they


are supposed to be used in the first two years of a grammar school. Even though the speaking tasks are easier than for B2 level students, they discuss both topics from everyday life and more complicated issues. This can be said about both analysed textbooks. They both include sections on everyday English as well as sections on culture, which, however, discuss other issues too (e.g. the environment, media,). Students are not very often asked to express their opinion, but the reason is probably that the books are on a lower level than B2. Both textbook thus follow the curriculum for secondary education and there are no significant differences between them.

Does the text coincide with the course goals? The aim of the textbooks is to prepare students for the Maturita Exam. Both of them include speaking activities, which are expected to form a part of the Maturita oral exam (i.e.: speaking about personal information, picture description and comparison, dialogue, discussion, problem solving and role-play). However, MM does not include any activities on description and comparison of pictures, which MS does. Form this aspect MS offers a better preparation for the course goals.

Is the text free of material that might be offensive? Both textbooks use politically correct language and treat sensitive topics carefully. They promote tolerant attitude but support ethical behaviour and avoid morally controversial issues. There are no major differences between the books.

Are the examples and explanations understandable? Both textbooks offer examples of spoken language in both written and recorded form. However, the examples in MM are in the form of a photo story and there are also short videos, which helps students to visualise the situations and make the examples more interesting and appealing.


Will the content meet students felt needs for learning English or can it be adapted for this purpose? The conversation topics in both books try to cover basic functional language, but the topics dealt with in MS are more directly connected to real life (e.g. giving directions, buying tickets, making invitations, arranging to meet,). On the other hand, most of the topics in MM are more abstract (e.g. talking about your town, checking information, making comparisons,)


Is the subject matter presented either topically or functionally in a logical, organized manner? The structure of both books is similar there are longer sections on speaking at the end of each unit (in MM it is every second unit) and there are also shorter speaking activities for practising new grammar, vocabulary or as a part of reading, listening or writing sections. However, MS also includes other chapters on speaking which focus directly on speaking sub-skills that are tested during the Maturita Exam. This makes MS a much more useful book for the preparation for the Maturita Exam. The inner structure of end-of-unit chapters on speaking is similar in both books. In MS it includes: an example dialogue (students read and listen or it is sometimes done as a listening exercise), a list of new or useful expressions, an activity for practising the new expressions, the main speaking activity students are supposed to act a similar dialogue to the example. They prepare it, rehearse and act it out to the class. Some of these chapters also include other listening exercise or exercises which are related to the topic. These help students to improve their comprehension skills and reinforce the functional language. The structure of speaking sections in MM is as follows: an example conversation (students read and listen), comprehension questions to the conversation, a list of new phrases, a written exercise for practising the phrases, discussion questions, a role play (students are supposed to prepare and practise it and then act it out) and a video exercise. In both books these chapters are logically structured and they follow the generally accepted structure of speaking activities as it was mentioned in the chapter on teaching speaking. Moreover, in MM they are also interconnected, because they are written as episodes from the life of a group of British teenagers.


The sections on Maturita Exam skills in MS focus on one sub-skill each (namely picture-based and topic-based discussion, problem solving and role-play) and they are well structured too. All of them include useful expressions, an activity for practising them and the main speaking task. In some of them there are also example recordings of students doing this task, listening exercises, pictures and tips and strategies to succeed at the exam, which are particularly useful. Generally viewed, speaking activities in MM can be more interesting for teenage students, but MS provides a better support for preparation for the Maturita Exam. On the other hand, it is the structure of the books/tasks and not their content that is judged at this point. From this perspective, both books are of the same quality.

Does the content serve as a window into learning about the target language culture (American, British, etc.)? Both textbooks include chapters focused on culture, but only in MS, they focus solely on culture of the English speaking countries. On the other hand MM more often deals with multicultural issues and only some of the chapters focus on the English speaking world. However, the real-life-language chapters are based on a story of a group of British teenagers, which, in a way, serves as a window on the UK. Despite this, MS chapters on the target language culture include more information about this topic.


The subject and content of the textbook is interesting, challenging and motivating. Both books deal with up-to-date topics, which are connected to the teenage world (music, celebrities, fashion, the internet, PC games, parties,).

The language used in the textbook is authentic - i.e. like real-life English. According to a native speaker, who was consulted, the language in sections on speaking is authentic, up-to date and natural for particular situations and its users. This concerns both textbooks equally.


The language used is at the right level for my (students) current English ability. According to the information included in the books, both of them cover most of B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. However, the language and activities in MS seems to be more challenging than in MM. For example a section on sport vocabulary in MM introduces eighteen expressions and collocations (20) while in MS there are eighteen names of sports, seven other expressions and twenty-one collocations (14, 125). It depends on the abilities of a particular group of students to decide whether the level is appropriate. Further the level of the Maturita Exam for which the students are preparing (either basic or higher). From this point of view, MS is more appropriate for faster learners and for those preparing for the higher level of the Maturita Exam, e.g. grammar school students.

The language represents a diverse range of registers and accents. Concerning speaking, both MM and MS mostly focus on British English, but the second edition of English in Mind, which is identical with MM, is available in American version too. However, it is not necessary to introduce students to different varieties of English for speaking exercises. On the contrary, if too many differences were highlighted, it might be misleading and confusing at this level of proficiency. 4 EXERCISES AND ACTIVITIES (MIEKLEY)

Are there interactive and task-based activities that require students to use new vocabulary to communicate? Speaking activities or activities on communication are used throughout both textbooks to use new vocabulary and practise new grammar. Furthermore, MS Teachers Book offers extra photocopiable activities on speaking and communication. This makes it easier for the teacher to prepare activities, which encourage the use of new language in class.

Is there a wide range of activities, which are appropriate for the goal of the book? The aim of the books is to prepare students for the Maturita Exam. For this reason the types of speaking exercises should be similar, if not identical, with tasks which students are going to do during the exam. Both of the books include the following activities: role play; information gap activities; ranking; discussion; questionnaire, quiz or survey; games; interview; story reconstruction and a picture commentary. Besides these, MS also includes board games, puzzles, group planning and mingle activities, competitions, games, interviews, picture


description and picture based discussion. It does not include any videoke2, which the other book does, but despite this, MS offers a wider range of speaking activities than MM and as mentioned above the tasks focus on preparation for the Maturita Exam more than in MM.


The textbook pays attention to sub-skills i.e. listening for gist, note-taking, skimming for information, etc. Both books deal with a variety of speaking sub-skills, but the approach in MS must be considered as a more effective one. Not only the textbook focuses on sub-kills that are tested during the Maturita Exam (see page 12 above), but it also includes useful tips, which give students detailed information about exam strategies. For example: Dont be afraid to say you dont understand something. Use phrases such as: Pardon? Sorry, did you say? Could you repeat that, please? (MS, 40).

The practice of individual skills is integrated into the practice of other skills. As mentioned above, both books use speaking activities also in grammar, vocabulary and other sections. This approach is applied the other way round too chapters on speaking include listening tasks, which again concerns both textbooks.


What components does the course consist of and how can they be used for teaching speaking? MS course includes a Students Book with a MultiROM, a Workbook, Class CDs, a Teachers Book and Test Bank MultiROM. MM consists of a Student's Book with a DVD-ROM, a Workbook, a Teacher's Resource Book, Audio CDs, a DVD (PAL), a DVD (NTSC), a Classware DVD-ROM, a Testmaker Audio CD and CD-ROM. Concerning the number of course components, MM definitely offers a better support for both students and teachers. It is also important to consider how effectively they can be used for teaching and studying speaking. The Students MultiROM for MS does not offer much support for speaking. Each Unit has one exercise where students are supposed to choose and fill in the correct words into

See the chapter on audio-visual and interactive support below


sentences. There are however extra photocopiable activities in the Teachers Book and a lot of them are speaking tasks. However, the components of MM offer a better support for speaking activities than MS. Similarly to MS, there are communicative activities in the Teachers Book and audio and video recordings for work in class, which are included in the software for an interactive board. The software further includes the Students book, tape scripts, word list and a table of phonetic symbols with recording of individual sounds. The Students MultiROM offers videos from the section on practical English in the books (for more information see the following section).

What audio-visual and interactive support can be used for teaching speaking? MS offers only recordings of example dialogues and these are not recorded on the students MultiROM, so students can listen to them only in class. On the other hand, the MultiROM for MM offers videos from lessons accompanied by comprehension exercises and a function called videoke where students can record their voice to dub the videos over and thus practise speaking at home. So not only has MM got more course components but they are also much more effective for teaching and studying speaking than those of MS. However, there is nothing like practising speaking face to face of course. The components of the interactive whiteboard software have been mentioned above.

Is it user friendly and effective? The MultiROMs of both MM and MS are well designed and easy to use. There are no important differences between them in this aspect. The author of this essay has no personal experience with using the English in Mind IWB software, but has seen its demonstration. This gave her the impression that the software is user friendly and effective too.

Is there on-line support? The publishers of both textbooks offer exercises on their websites, but only MS covers speaking. However, the exercises do not involve real speaking practice, but only mistake correction in sentences which are based on the language form the real English section.


Is it user friendly and effective? The online support for MS is easy to use, but the exercises mostly focus on vocabulary and the correct form of phrases.


Both books are printed on a quality paper and include an adequate number of pictures (naturally in colour). The cover picture of MM might be, however, more appealing to students because is shows teenagers, who are the main characters of the core story and who are about the same age as potential users of the book. On the other hand, the cover photo of MS is more abstract.

Is the visual imagery of high aesthetic quality? The aesthetic quality of both books seems to be on the same level. However, the design of MM can be seen as a better one, because it is plainer which helps better orientation within the book.

Are the illustrations simple enough and close enough to the text that they add to its meaning rather than detracting from it? From this point of view, the chapters on practical language in MM are better, because they include a photo story (as mentioned above). Otherwise, there are no significant differences between the textbooks.


In this essay, there are twenty-two evaluation criteria for comparing the two text-books (Maturita Solutions and Maturita in Mind). In nine of them no significant between the books differences were found. According to seven criteria MS is of a better quality and in six aspects MM was found better. It is however important to consider not only the quantity of criteria but also their importance. The evaluation showed that MS coincides better with the course goals, it focuses on sub-skills tested during the Maturita Exam, there is larger variety of speaking activities and they are designed to use new language, it serves as a window into learning about English speaking countries and it meets students needs better that MM. The advantages of MM are mostly the variety of course components, its technical support (namely IWB software, video and a better designed MultiROM than in the MS course) and its design. However, it was also published later than MS so both the content of its text and illustrations are more up-to-date, which make it more attractive for teenagers. Obviously, the content, variety of activities and their relevance to the goal of the course are more important criteria than course components, technical support and design. From a teachers point of view MS can be seen as a better text-book than MM. However, it would be probably less attractive and motivating for students, which also has to be taken into consideration. If students are bored, it is reflected in their study results and vice versa. A good course should be both challenging and motivating. Teachers can therefore choose MS and try to make it more interesting by using self-made materials (games, videos, songs,). Or they can use MM and make it more relevant to the course goals by using materials that focus on skills and sub-skills tested by the Maturita Exam. This choice is up to the teacher.


Tato zvren prce srovnv vybran kapitoly uebnic Maturita Solutions (od autor Falla a Davies, nakladatelstv Oxford University Press) a Maturita in Mind (Puchta a Stranks, nakladatelstv Cambridge University Press). Jak u jejich nzev napovd, ob uebnice jsou ureny pro studenty stednch kol a uili, jejich studium je zakoneno maturitn zkoukou. Kapitoly, kter byly pro analzu vybrny, se tkaj mluvenho projevu, tedy dovednosti ozanovan jako speaking. Mluven projev pat mezi nejnronj jazykov dovednosti, a tedy i stn maturita z jazyka je pro vtinu student nejt st tto zkouky. To je jeden z dvod, pro se prv tyto kapitoly staly pedmtem srovnn v tto zvren prci. Jejm clem je posoudit, kter ze zmnnch uebnic poskytuje lep ppravu na novou stn maturitn zkouku z anglickho jazyka. Prvn kapitola prce se strun zabv obsahem a strukturou nov maturity z jazyka, pesnji jej stn sti. Zmiuje jazykov dovednosti, kter se u maturity zkou, tedy rozhovor, popis obrzku, srovnn obrzk, diskuze, hra rol a een problmu. Dle se prce zabv vukou mluvenho projevu, kter by se mla skldat z nsledujcch fz: zadn mluvenho projevu, pprava, zkouka, vlastn mluven projev a zhodnocen. Pot se me aktivita zopakovat a vylepit o prvky, kter se zmnily ve zhodnocen. Pro vuku mluvenho projevu by se mlo pouvat velk mnostv rznch aktivit jako je vzjemn doplovn chybjcch informac, plnovn, seazovn a hodnocen, stoln hry, rbusy, hdanky, diskuze, hra rol, simulace, dotaznky, kvzy, mingle aktivity, soute, hry, rozhovory, vmna informac nebo prezentace. Nsledujc kapitola uruje kritria hodnocen a srovnn uebnic v tto prci. Jejich seznam byl vytvoen z materil od Joshuy Miekleyho a Davida Litze a skld se pedevm z otzek. V oblasti kontextu to byly nsledujc: Je uebnice vhodn pro dan kurikulum? Koresponduje jej obsah s cly kurzu? Nepsob obsah nevhodn nebo urliv? Jsou teorie a pklady uvedeny srozumiteln? Odpovd obsah jazykovm potebm mch student, lze ho poppad pizpsobit?


V souvislosti s obsahem bylo nutn se ptt: Je obsah logicky uspodn podle tmat nebo funkc jazyka? Je uebnice zdrojem informac o kultue dan zem? (americk, britsk, atd.) Je uebnice zajmav, pimen nron a motivujc? Obsahuje uebnice formulace a frze, kter se v danm jazyce opravdu pouvaj? Odpovd jazykov rove uebnice rovni m a mch student? Nabz uebnice jazyk rznch registr a s rznm pzvukem? U cvien a aktivit odpovd kapitola na tyto otzky: Obsahuje uebnice interaktivn innosti, pi kterch studenti vyuvaj novou slovn zsobu v komunikaci? Nabz uebnice dostaten mnostv rznch aktivit smujcch k jejmu cli? Je vnovna pozornost specifickm dovednostem, jako je zachycen podstatnho v poslechu, psan poznmek, rychl povrchov ten, atd.? Je procviovn dovednost soust i kapitol s jinm zamenm? Ve spojitosti s doplujcmi materily se bere v vahu: Jak doplujc uebnice a materily jsou k uebnici k dispozici? Jak audio-vizuln material je k dispozici pro vuku mluvenho projevu? Je praktick a efektivn? Existuj k uebnici internetov strnky a daj se pro studium efektivn vyut? Z hlediska atraktivity formy i obsahu kapitola zvauje, jestli je uebnice kvalitn po vizuln strnce. A jestli jsou ilustrace jednoduch a tkaj se textu, take nerozptyluj pozornost, ale dopluj ho. Vechna tato hlediska jsou pi hodnocen a srovnvn danch uebnic brna v vahu a podrobn rozebrna. Z dvaceti dvou kriteri pouitch v tto prci je kvalita uebnic v devti ppadech hodnocena jako srovnateln. Maturita Solutions se projevila jako lep sedmi ppadech a v esti ppadech se to tk uebnice Maturita in Mind. Z tohoto vsledku by bylo mon soudit, e ob uebnice maj podobnou kvalitu. Je vak dleit vzt tak v vahu, v jakch oblastech ta i ona uebnice vynik. Zatmco Maturita in Mind je novj, nabz lep technick vybaven a zajmavj design, vhody uebnice Maturita Solutions se tkaj spe obsahu, mnostv rznch aktivit a jejich pmmu spojen s cly kurzu, tedy ppravou na maturitu. Ve vsledku lze ci, e uebnice Maturita in Mind je pro studenty zajmavj, ale je nutn doplnit ji o materily, kter by se vce zamovali na ppravu k maturitn zkouce. Oproti tomu Maturita Solutions poskytuje dostatenou ppravu na maturitu, ale bylo by dobr, kdyby uitel obohatil vuku s touto uebnic dalmi zajmavmi materily a aktivitami.


Primary Sources: 1. Puchta, Herbert, and Jeff Stranks. Maturita in Mind 2 Students Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

2. Falla, Tim, and Paul A Davies. Maturita Solutions Pre-Intermediate Student's Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Secondary Sources: 1. Scrivener, Jim. Learning Teaching: A Guidebook for English Language Teachers. Ismaning: Hueber, 2005. Print.

2. Harmer, Jeremy. How to Teach English: An Introduction to the Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman, 1998. Print.

3. Litz, David R.A.. "Textbook Evaluation and ELT Management:." The Asian EFL Journal. Academic Publishing House, 2012. Web. 6 Sep 2012. <http://asian-efljournal.com/Litz_thesis.pdf>.

4. Nation, I S. P, and Johathan Newton. Teaching Esl/efl Listening and Speaking. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

5. Miekley, Joshua. "ESL Textbook Evaluation Checklist." Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal. 5.2 (2005): n. page. Web. 6 Sep. 2012.