Text books- An integral part of any educational system

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The textbook is one of the important aids in the teaching learning process and has occupied a provital   sole in the education of the school students, the process of education is most of the students in india  and even in abroad can be summed up in one phrase “as is the text book so is the  teaching and learning”, As McKeachie (1994) notes, ”. . . my years of experience in attempting to assess teaching effectiveness have led me to think that the textbook, more than any other element of the course, determines student learning.”

Functions of Science Book

1. Guide: The text book serve as a guide. They become part of the syllabus white framing it. The text books play a pivotal Rolex in rural area where students relay only on text books to the maximum content.

2.  Understanding: A good  text book makes the basic concepts and principles clear by giving suitable examples.

3.  Scientific attitude: It develops scientific attitude in the students. The students looking through the    book should be fascinated to enquire or search or search  the world around them.

4.  Home study: the students can study books at their homes after getting demonstration lesson in the class.

5.  Develop Variety of skills: Science text book provide opportunity to develop a variety of skills. The learner can handle instruments in the laboratory carefully after reading precautions of the experiment.

6.  Speedy revision: Text help the pupils for systematic and speedy revision of the lesson after it has been finished.

7.  Supplement the class work: text books can be used to supplement the science curriculum. Science text books which supplement classroom work are usually recommended as reference books or encyclopedia volumes by teachers ..

8.  Economical: These are economical as texts can be used for a number of years.

9.   Accurate conclusion: Science text books help the classroom discussion to arrive at accurate  conclusion.

10.  Home work: These help the students for doing home work and the preparatory part of assignments.

Use of the Textbooks

  • It is used as a ready source of authoritative information.
  • .  A source of factual material in the preparation of assignments ..
  • To provide motivation by attractive presentation and self testing exercises.
  • A handy source of illustrations of superior teaching value which serve as visual aid for the understanding of facts and principles.
  • To supply stimulating exercises, numerical problems and other devices which would serve as a means of applying the knowledge again.
  • To help the pupils improving the subjects systematic and fixing it in memory.
  • To give the biographical and historical reading material to realize the cultural value ..
Suggestions to Students on How to Use a Textbook

  • Study assigned readings before each class. Be prepared for questions, references to those readings, and other activities building on that material.
  • Take notes in outline form as you read the text, indicate key points with a highlighter, note connections between sections, make lists of questions that come to mind or uncertainties, and pause frequently to summarize the key points of each section or chapter.
  • Compare your lists of questions and your lists of key points with those of others in the class.
  • Bring questions to class or recitation sections and ask the instructor to answer them.
  • Review the text after the class to gain additional perspective.
  • Look in supplemental texts to see how other authors present similar topics, especially if the points seem vague or unclear in the primary text. Remember that often the presentation that introduces new information, concepts, and vocabulary will seem foreign. Another presentation with a slightly different twist may help you see something differently or may confirm that you have identified key points.
  • Review the text before exams and quizzes or periodically throughout the term.
  • Study and review worked examples before attacking the homework problems. Read over questions, exercises, and problems that are not assigned and think about how to answer them. Group questions or problems by the topics they address or the methods required to solve them. Summarize by writing your own problems. Consult worked examples in other texts.

Qualities of a good science text book

1.         The author: A good text book is judged at face , by the author, his qualifications  and experience.

2.         Mechanical features of the textbook.

a)  The print and paper used and the binding of the text book should be   attractive. It should be hard and durable. The printing  should be clear, legible and appropriately spaced.

c)      The book should be well-illustrated with diagrams, sketches and pictures. The subject matter its nature and organization.

d)     The size of the point, the language and experiments discussed should suit the age of the child and standard of the child.

3.       The Subject matter

The subject matter should be developed as for as possible in Psychological sequence.  Care must be taken of the mental growth and interest of pupils.

  • Care should to see that it is related with the other subjects.
  • During treatment of subject matter, numerical examples should find place where necessary.
  • Each chapter should begin with a brief introduction and end with a summary.
  • Each chapter should contain assignments at the end.
  • Each text book should be accompanied by a laboratory manual.
  • Each text-book should contain detailed Table of Contents and an index.
  • Examples in the text book should be given from local environment and from life experience.
  • Heading and sub-headings are given in bold letters.
  • Subject matter should lead to the in calculation of scientific attitudes.
  • The English equivalents of the terms should be always given in brackets.
  • The language of the book should be simple, clear, lucid, scientific and precise.
  • The text book should give suggestions for improving scientific apparatus.
  • The text book should satisfy the objectives of science teaching
  • There should be consistency of the subject-matter

Principles of writing text books.

The UNESCO planning mission has given some principles of writing text books.  They are as follows.

i)         It should be first of all according to the requirements of the syllabus.  It should also help in the improvement of the syllabus.

ii)        The facts, concepts etc should be modern and within the comprehension of the pupils.

iii)       The contents should contain not only the established facts but also the problems which are being researched and thereby arousing the interest in the pupils in these problems.

iv)       It should help in linking up science with life and practice.  The pupils should be equipped with ‘know – how’ utilizing the knowledge in everyday life.

Characteristics of a good  text book:

It is not only the subject matter and flow of language but the mechanical features like the paper the printing etc…also play an important role in the selection of a text book.

The following points should be kept in mind while selecting a text book for science.

1. The authors – this qualification and experience Only that person who has a certain amount of experience of teaching subject should be encourage to write a book because he can only be the better judge of teaching learning process. Certain minimum academic qualification should be prescribed for the author.

2. Mechanical features of the text book:

The quality of the paper should be fine, the printing should be appealing and the binding of the text book should be attractive. The size of the print should be according to the students. The book should contain good illustrations with sketches, diagrams, picture etc… as the Chinese saying goes “one picture is worth a thousand words”.

3. The subject matter – Its nature and organization:

The subject matter should follow the psychological sequence .it should be according to the mental age and interests of the students. Each chapter should start with a brief introduction and end with a summary.The text book should be according to the aims and objectives of science teaching. There should be harmony of the subject matter.

  • Each text book should be accompanied by a laboratory manual or hand book
  • It is better correlated with daily life situations and other subjects too
  • It should cover the whole syllabus
  • Only standard terminology is regional languages should be used
  • Quotations should be in italics
  • Text book should certain headings and sub-headings in bold type
  • The book should also mention teaching aids
  • The book should be reasonably priced
  • The language of the matter should be simple and precise
  • The text book should contain a detailed table of contents and an index
  • There must be a teacher’s guide book for each text – book for the help of the teacher
  • To facilitate learning, some good methods of learning should be suggested
  • Use of community resources should be given due emphasis

The Score- card Method of Evaluating Science text book

Various score cards and check lists have been devised to make the selection of text books as objective as possible. All the major factors considered important in evaluating text books are listed and assigned a certain number of points to establish the relative weight of each.

Vogel’s Criteria of Selection

Another kind of score card, designed to speed up the process of evaluation, is the “spot check” method illustrated by Vogel Louis F known as ‘Vogel’s Spot Check Evaluation Scale.’ Cited in Thurber and Collete (1964), on this score card, each item has been assigned a maximum value of two points. The value of each item under each head is totalled against the part score. The part scores of each head are then counted and the overall value is written against the space for partial score.





Copyright year……………………………………………………………


1.       Qualification of author

(See the title page, preface to text book and preface to  teachers manual)

1.         The author has taught  the subject about which he is writing

2.         The author holds advanced degree in related fields

3.         The author has received assistance form specialists in preparing his manuscript.

4.         The author has tried put his material in classroom situations

5.         The author’s point of view, theory, or philosophy is in harmony with that of my school.

Partial Score……………..

II.        Organization

(See table of contents, the preface, the section headings through one unit, and the end of one chapter)

1.         There is a central theme which correlates the whole textbook.                       (    )

2.         The textbook is organized into units which are based on student

interested and probability of use in everyday life.                               (   )

3.         The organization makes use of topics already taught in my school    (    )

4.         Questions at the end of chapters are graded explicitly in difficulty  (    )

5.         Problems at the end of chapters are graded properly.                          (  )                                                                                            Partial Score……………..

III.      Content

(See table of contents, index and five next pages)

1.         The text book contains all the topics necessary for my course.          (  )

2.         Material from one part of the textbook is cross-referenced

with similar material in another part of the book.                                (  )

3.         The historical development of science is given some place.               (  )

4.         Topics dealing with latest advances of science, such as

atomic energy are included                                                                       (  )

5.         The social significance of science is stressed.                                       (  )

Partial Score……………..

IV.      Presentation of material

(See any five introduction to chapters, or problems)

1.                  The inductive approach is used wherever possible in introducing

a new topic.                                                                                                  ( )

2.                  The problem solving aspect of scientific method is stressed.              (  )

3.                  The author’s style is informal and interesting                                         (  )

4.                  Unfamiliar scientific terms are set in italics or bold face.                    (  )

5.                  Important principles are set in italics or boldface.                                (  )

Partial Score……………..

V.        Accuracy

(Select any five topics in the index and look them up in the text)

1.         All the items I looked up are on the pages indicated in the index.     (  )

2.         The items I looked up are scientifically correct                                                (  )

3.         Technological expressions are avoided                                                   (  )

4.         Personification is avoided                                                                         (  )

5.         No ambiguity is apparent.                                                                          (  )

Partial Score……………..

VI.      Readability

1.         The average number of words per sentence is below 21.                    (  )

2.         Sixty percent of the sentences are simple or compound, as

opposed to complex                                                                                               (  )

3.         There are at least four personal references per 100 words.                 (  )

4.         There is at least one application for each abstract principle               (  )

5.         There are not more than 42 affixes per 100 words.                               (  )

Partial Score……………..

VII.     Adaptability

(See table of contents and any five text pages)

1.         The textbook is satisfactory for slow, average and brilliant students.            (  )

2.         Students with rural and city backgrounds will find the text useful       (  )

3.         The textbook is arranged so that certain section can readily

be omitted.                                                                                                   (  )

4.         The authors treat controversial subjects impartially                              (  )

5.         In general the text fits my particular community needs.                       (  )

Partial Score……………..

VIII    Teaching aids

(See end of chapters, appendix, and teacher’s manual) (  )

1.         Summaries, questions and problems at the ends of chapters

are adequate                                                                                                 (   )

2.         References for teachers and students are annotated.                            (   )

3.         Appendix materials is pertinent and useful                                            (  )       4.         The teacher’s manual is more than an answer book.                                    (   )

5.         An annotated up-to-date film list is provided

Partial Score……………..

IX.      Illustration

(See any 10 illustrations)

1.         The illustrations are relatively modern                                                   (   )

2.         The photographic reproductions are large and clear.                             (   )

3.         The line cuts are well drawn and adequately labeled                           (   )

4.         The figures are tied into the textual material by direct reference.      (   )

5.         The legends under the illustrations are useful learning devices.        (   )

Partial Score……………..

X.        Appearance

(See cover and leaf through the text)

1.         The appearance of the cover is attractive.                                              (   )

2.         The size and shape of the textbook would not be a handicap

to students                                                                                                   (   )

3.         The placement of the illustrations is pleasing.                                       (   )

4.         The design of most pages is open, rather than crowded.                      (   )

5.         The size of the type makes for easy reading.                                          (   )

Partial Score……………..

Advantages of Using Textbooks

Books are a highly portable form of information and can be accessed when, where, and at whatever rate and level of detail the reader desires. Research indicates that, for many people, visual processing (i.e., reading) is faster than auditory processing (i.e., listening to lectures), making textbooks a very effective resource (McKeachie, 1994). Reading can be done slowly, accompanied by extensive note taking, or it can be done rapidly, by skimming and skipping. There are advantages to both styles, and you may find it useful to discuss their merits with your students.

One important aspect of any science class is helping the student to make sense of the mass of information and ideas in a field. This can be done by showing students how to arrange information in a meaningful hierarchy of related major and minor concepts. Well-chosen textbooks help students understand how information and ideas can be organized.

Disadvantages of Using Textbook

Textbooks have several major limitations. Although a well-written book can engage and hold student interest, it is not inherently interactive. However, if students are encouraged to ask questions while they read, seek answers within the text, and identify other sources to explore ideas not contained in the text, they will become active readers and gain the maximum benefit from their textbook. In order to meet the needs of a broad audience, texts are often so thick that they overwhelm students seeking key information. Texts are often forced to rely on historical or dated examples, and they rarely give a sense of the discovery aspects and disorganization of information facing modern researchers.


Thus the text book is an integral part of any educational system. Even in the advanced countries of any the world, where the techniques of teaching learning have advanced a lot the text book is almost the role determinant of what is taught. That text book should not be used as the only source of instructional materials. It should be used as an aid in teaching.

In the teaching-learning process, the text-book occupies an important place.  There is a saying “As is the text-book, so is the teaching learning”.  A good text-book can even replace class room teaching.  The science text book should climate aiding the pupils in the development of their personalities, in developing open mindedness, developing appreciation and under standing of natural not merely stuffing their minds with facts.





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