Monday, 24 September 2012

Defining a Good Science Textbook

Recently, I had finished co-writing a Science textbook for a use in 2013. It was a textbook project endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia through a vigorous tendering process.  The project took more than 9 months to complete (plus over 5 stages of external professional review process). Finally, the textbook is being printed as we speak....phew!!

Then, I was asked by some science teachers to share my opinion on what a good science textbook should look like. I wasn't given a lot of time to think and write my points down on a piece of paper. Therefore, these are what I had to say to them:

1.  Contents:
     - Complete, contemporary and pedagogically sound
     - Present accurate definitions, formulas, theorem and facts
     - Cover the intended syllabus and learning objectives (basic competencies)
     - Apply contextual learning and other thinking tools

2.  Language:
     - Use appropriate scientific language
     - Written in styles that suit the literacy level of the target audience
     - Inclusive language is used throughout
     - Succinct and direct to the point
     
3.  Supporting materials:
     - Illustrations must be clear, functional, appropriately sized and related to the concept presented
     - 2D drawings must be appropriately labelled and accurately drawn
     - Photos should be sharp and clear, preferably taken by professional photographers

4.   Activities:
      - Various types and forms (hands-on, minds-on)
      - Can be formative or summative 
      - Arranged in Bloom's taxonomy order

Of course, there are other elements that defines a good science textbook. So if you can think of any, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment field below :-)

Thanks,
CK Ng

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