If you sometimes veer into educational blogs rather than just English as a Foreign Language, you may have noticed a new fashion: booklets. Teachers of all kinds of subjects have started putting unit materials and activities together, printing them out as handouts and have the students work on them more or less independently.
While some booklets are probably fantastic, to me this seems awfully counterproductive: why would a teacher have to write a coursebook? What about the quality? What about the workload? What about the nice glossy paper and colour illustrations that you only get in published materials? (Ok, the last one may not be as important – but why is it that there are no good official coursebooks in many school subjects?)
And this brings to mind our own ELT/EFL debate about coursebooks and how we denounce them and then find ourselves writing our own or cutting up others’ for every class… It also reminds me of ‘metodichkas‘ in Soviet universities – those thin grey-paper booklets that university teachers had to produce to support their course. Some were ingenious, others rather useless: is education coming full circle now?