I should offer a disclaimer; I do not have the highest regard for textbooks. Not Myanmar textbooks, but in general. My own teacher training touched on them, but they were something to view with skepticism; you could find decent, useful information but in the time it took you to search, you might as well have created your own materials. It was presented as easier and less time consuming. Whilst I might now disagree with the time and ease of creating your own materials, I would still put forth the ardent opinion that textbooks zap teacher’s creativity.
Many textbooks are ill-thought through with confusing sequencing and unrelatable scenarios to the average ESL student. They tend to oscillate between contexts which are deeply culturally dependent or something which is so unrealistic that it doesn’t appeal to anyone. I have used many textbooks and I have yet to see something which does not need modifying. Of course, modification is in itself not harmful, but textbooks are generally presented as something which is ready to go and can be used as-is. It is this representation which I object to.
I have now had time to become intimately acquainted with the grade 9 English volume. To the point that I could sit the exam and pass in my sleep; we are after all preparing our students to do something similar! In terms of the layout, the units are a little stayed; each chapter presents the same set up of a reading passage with exercises based on the text to follow. However, with the resources available to the average Myanmar school listening is not possible and the exam tests reading comprehension. From a technical standpoint, I really like the exercises given. They cover grammar, and unknown words from the opening text of each unit. Whoever planned this book understands how reading comprehension works.
Overall, I like the grade 9 English textbook and have enjoyed planning around it and supplementing for it.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer