The need for textbook research that includes input from various key stakeholders has been advocated, but not fully achieved. Also advocated is an examination of how materials are used.
My PhD research brings together views from syllabus designers, publishers, authors, teachers and learners in order to present a textbook biography from conceptualization to the classroom. Head Start is a locally written and produced textbook, published by OUP-EA. It targets secondary school learners of English in Kenya.
This biography draws from an educational publishing context that has recently experienced market liberalization following a period of domination by state publishers. It is grounded within the “House of TESEP”, as differentiated from BANA countries. Holliday (1994) uses these acronyms to contrast the instrumental teaching of English in Britain, Australasia and North America, which are characterized by private language schools, to the institutionally oriented tertiary, secondary and primary English language education in much of the rest of the world.
SCOPE OF RESEARCH
My study examines examines five processes in the life of a textbook: regulation, production, representation, identity and consumption. The details can be found here.
I spent over a year (2008/09) reviewing literature related to my study, and in particular, studies on materials development. During this time, I also designed my research and developed appropriate instruments to facilitate my investigation. I spent about four months in 2010 generating data in the field among diverse participant groups. In the process, I gained practical experience and insights into the research process, with a particular focus on qualitative investigation.
Development of Interview Guides and Interviewing
In my examination of the regulation, production and consumption moments, I engaged participants from the curriculum development body, the publishers, textbook authors and teachers in interviews using semi-structured interview guides. I subsequently transcribed and thematically analysed these interviews.
I used inductive and deductive techniques for document analysis of the syllabus and textbook. In particular, I am familiar with Littlejohn’s framework for materials analysis, which I used to analyse textbook content.
Classroom Observation in a Textbook Study
As part of my examination of textbook consumption, I developed an instrument to compare suggested textbook content and activities to actual classroom practice. This involved an initial stage of classroom observation with audio recording of lessons, and a subsequent stage involving transcription and comparison using Littlejohn’s framework for materials analysis.
Questionnaire Design and Analysis
I designed and used questionnaires at the onset of my study for preliminary work among teachers and at the end for foundational work among learners. I analysed them using descriptive statistics.