Olwyn Alexander: Who needs a teacher's book?

Adam Simpson's picture

As someone involved in EAP, I was particularly looking forward to Olwyn Alexander's presenation, as she is doing some wonderful work in the development of academic English.


In her session, she looked into how the teacher’s book has been viewed in our profession, with particular emphasis on the fact that up to this point they have been less important to publishers than the course book itself.


Olwyn described the teacher’s book as the Cinderella of the publishing world: because they don’t sell many copies in relation to the student’s book, they have been a neglected part of our profession, often ‘cobbled together’ at a later date or put together in a rush by someone other than the author of the student’s book.


She introduced a new approach, the purpose of which is not to enable the teacher to dip into on an ad hoc basis, but rather as a more ‘constant companion’ that works more as a guide, helping the teacher reflect on their approach to teaching.


Key to the book in question, ‘Access EAP’, Olwyn explained how the teacher is encouraged to reflect on:


- The purpose of activity

- How it will further the students’ abilities in terms of their academic skills


An important part of Olwyn's thesis was that we as teachers don't enjoy the luxury of an apprenticeship / master process of professional development. Consequently, the teacher's book should be playing an important role in helping teachers with professional development.