New world language books on horizon

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By: Maria Lamagna <[email protected]>

This fall, the world language textbook evaluation committee continues to do its job, evaluating and analyzing the current textbooks students and teachers use here.

This year, the committee is especially important. Its members have the task of selecting a new set of textbooks to use next year.

Junior Yiting Zheng can speak Japanese fluently and also takes Japanese IV. She said she thinks the switch is a good idea.

Since she said she is very familiar with the language, Zheng said she notices that some aspects of the textbook she uses are outdated, such as lessons about Japanese culture and even some grammar rules.

“Japanese changes a lot, so (the textbooks are) not completely up to date,” she said. “Sometimes in real life you wouldn’t actually say that.”

Carolyn Mohr, member of the world language textbook evaluation committee and Spanish teacher, said she understands the reason for the change also.

According to Mohr, it is an Indiana standard that schools adopt new textbooks every six years in every subject. Here, the process is staggered so that not every subject here adopts new textbooks at the same exact time.

Next year, the foreign language and English departments will make the exchange of books.

Mohr said that the World Language Textbook Evaluation Committee will be busy this year because of this. According to her, the committee has several tasks.

“First we evaluate the current curriculum in the fall to decide if any changes need to be made.

Then we analyze the textbooks that are available, which will happen in the winter. In the spring, we will submit to the school board our choices (of books) for their approval,” Mohr said.

All things considered, Zheng said that her Japanese textbook has been “pretty good compared to other books I’ve seen. It’s pretty clear explaining most things.”

Mohr said that she has been happy with the last cycle of textbooks she has used. However, both Mohr and Zheng said that it is extremely important to keep foreign language materials contemporary.

Mohr said that they must be updated “because language and culture change so much. Society and culture change constantly, so we need to keep up with that, even vocabulary changes.”