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Why do UK schools not use textbooks?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Grantcobbs, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    They do. I found some in my classroom which I remember using in the 90s. Thought I'd use them for a change - nostalgia and all that. The difference was, I used the year 6 'extension' textbook for my lower ability year 5s! The expectation is so much higher. So while the maths is the same, who needs to learn it is not.

    This is the first school I've been at where decent maths textbooks (not the ones mentioned above!) have been available. It's so much easier than the constant internet searching for the right sheet!
    mrajlong likes this.
  2. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    I've used textbooks in maths pretty much my whole career, after quickly sussing out that the evangelical stuff fed to us on teacher training about mini whiteboards, dancing around the classroom, mini plenaries and endless cut up laminated challenge cards every single lesson was largely nonsense. My kids' results have always been more than fine.

    Good quality textbooks free teachers up to plan (not typed in four colours, just in thought) and teach.
  3. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    We gave up on issuing textbooks to students, because:

    1. They may have been 'recommended to accompany Unit X', but large parts seemed to be filled with 'padding' and didn't seem to contain much of any real substance.
    2. The majority of the students coudn't be bothered to read them. They wanted something that would provide 'instantantaneous answers', rather than having to read and comprehend for themselves.
    3. The students didn't want to have to lug them around to and from College.
    4. Given all of the above, they weren't exactly cheap to replace each time the provider decided to change the unit specifications.
  4. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    I agree with this, textbooks for KS3 should have extra padding so kids can read around a subject but TBH if i was in charge of a department of the choice available and in the current educational climate....I think i would order class sets of the CGP revision guides for KS4 and get the students to buy the workbooks (through the school) as homework books. A class set is quite cheap and then at least if students are absent or disruptive or you need then to quickly jot down the key points you always have a resource you can use.

    I tell all my tutees who are in schools with poor behaviour to take the CGP revision guides into class and read at the start, end and during any disruptive periods. That way they are maximising their learning and can check they are not missing anything crucial.
    Lara mfl 05 and elder_cat like this.
  5. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I like textbooks and have quite a selection from a very LONG time in teaching. My issue is that when the curriculum changes (seems to be every few years) some members of staff become hysterical about using "out of date" materials. I think the least any government can do when they create a statutory new curriculum is to issue new textbooks for every school affected.
    Lara mfl 05, sparkleghirl and TEA2111 like this.
  6. annachatzialexandrou

    annachatzialexandrou New commenter

    I have been teaching French and English for the last 24 years in Greece and this year I am working in UK. I am a supply teacher but the situation here is a nightmare!!! I can talk only about Foreign Languages; so many photocopies, lists of vocabulary, craftwork "cut and stick'.....and in the end, nobody learns anything! In Greece, there were so many exciting and modern textbooks, colorful, with activities book and vocabulary for each unit. All the books had interactive whiteboard material with so many extra activities, games, videos......everything at your hand......your challenge was to be a good teacher , not to cut and glue!!!! I asked students in UK if they would prefer text books so they could know what to revise, underline, give homework and they all said that it would be so much easier for them.....! And the cost is huge for photocopies!!!!!
  7. inge0201

    inge0201 New commenter

    May I know the name of that "research" paper? Thx. :)

  8. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    I agree. When I was in year 6 as a student, we worked through a maths textbook with a orange dinosaur? We worked on different sections at different paces. I always really liked it.

    I worked in the states for 3 months, and they love a textbook, and the children wrote directly into preprinted booklets (all colouful and pretty). I loved it. The teachers could teach with the book on their lap, and each lesson had 3-5 different activites for the LO (maybe a group activity, a supported activity, a kinesthetic activity etc) to choose from.

    I think the UK decided that every teacher needed to rewrite the wheel over and over. I remember as a student teacher, when we taught from the NLS and NNS, we were told we'd be marked down for teaching from a government provided lesson plan. WHAT IS THE POINT OF IT THEN?
    NotAPowerRanger and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    we can't afford them - we spend so much on the photocopier you see,
  10. tandemtinker

    tandemtinker New commenter

    An average primary school spends between £12,000 and £16,000 on its annual photocopy bill....(.that is genuine from the schools I go to as an intervention Maths' teacher!) In the 1980's, Derbyshire County Council allowed 4 Math's advisors a year's leave- of -absence to produce a primary school textbook coverage of Mathematics from level zero to Year 6 with 3 levels....they did an excellent job and at our school they were used from reception to Year 6 with great enthusiasm and success.....The Peak textbook, as they were called, enabled the teacher to concentrate on all children with minimum planning....why oh why can't we return to textbooks and save money and teachers' time??
    Lara mfl 05 and sparkleghirl like this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    What schools tell an intervention teacher the photocopying bill? :eek:
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. foroff2233

    foroff2233 New commenter

    Every time any inspectors visited our classes, they lambasted us for using course text books, claiming (stupidly) they were a straight jacket. I would normally claim that texts had been thoughtfully written with progressive material set out with all manner of resources. When asked where our SoW were, I informed the inspector that they also were in the Teacher's Book. This didn't cut any ice with them, obviously. Most of our capitation continued to be spent on course books and associated materials.
    But that's what happens when people without critical judgement play the role of inspectors by following fashionable ideas they've been trained to disseminate and probably actually believe.
  13. danielorchard

    danielorchard New commenter

  14. danielorchard

    danielorchard New commenter

    Yes, I believe that it is a nonsense. We complain about children not doing that well in reading assessments... well, of course, sometimes they come to school at 9 am and leave at 5pm without having read anything. We teach history geography, science without having texts to be read because we believe in theories (all of them were debunked) about children learning by walking around, clapping hands, acting etc...) that don't have any scientific foundation (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/12/no-evidence-to-back-idea-of-learning-styles). As a child I loved buying and reading textbooks. Most of our learning come from reading and writing. You are not going to learn much about history buy looking at fake artefacts and chatting in class, that can be a fine activity, but historians are people who excel in humanities and must be good readers. I have two friends who are historians and they spent their lives in libraries not touching artefacts. Obviously they visit museums, but if you want to do a doctorate you must be proficient in reading and writing. I don't know why, in the UK we think that children can learn without reading and writing and we talk about developing inquiring skills. Nonsense, if you're 9 years old and cannot understand a text and you have a very basic vocabulary, well, it is not buy having fun toughing fake Egyptian artefacts that you are going to learn something valuable, something that will get you into a god school or university. I am puzzled. Plus, how can it be boring or how can it be an old fashion way of teaching spending 1/5 of a lesson reading from a textbook? If a child finds reading boring, well, then that is an issue, reading is a great pleasure. If we show them that they are allowed not to enjoy reading we are just giving them the wrong message: you will achieve something academically speaking even if you don't like to read. Well, that is obviously wrong. Also, there is this idea (in the UK) that knowing facts is not that important, that we must acquire skills. Well, being ignorant is not very nice. Assessments should also test your knowledge of the subject, not just your thinking skills. Who likes smart but ignorant people?
    Lara mfl 05 and TEA2111 like this.
  15. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Any school which is berating its staff for spending too much on photocopying. I've heard these figures thrown about in several schools.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Absolutely not. By giving you the basics they free you up to be more creative re delivery and extension/support materials,

    Textbooks are written by teams of people who have FAR more time to devote to the creation of good material than any classroom teacher in the UK.
    Lara mfl 05 and BTBAM like this.
  17. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    It's a conspiracy to prevent our kids learning anything.
    Knowledge is dangerous!
    Lara mfl 05 and sparkleghirl like this.
  18. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    The last two primaries I have worked in had zero text books. One had virtually no sets of reading books either. Some school overcome this by using online schemes. Not either of these, if teachers used online resources they were either free or paid for by the individual teacher.
    The amount of waste photocopying was astronomical, especially as neither school stored any resources fro "next year"
    Schools constantly complain about being short of money but modern managers seem incapable of seeing the link between few resources and wasted printing.
    What a mess we are working within.
    Lara mfl 05 and TEA2111 like this.
  19. fionajrthomas

    fionajrthomas New commenter

    Can anyone recommend good English text books for KS2 Year 5 and year 6 please?
    TEA2111 likes this.
  20. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Not 'textbooks' exactly but we used the CGP series with a variety of 'grammar' , comprehension books and looking at old SATs papers.Thing is textbooks date as the NC specs do and books I used will cease to be as useful now. CGP does at least update the books regularly.

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