Japanese publishers of EFL textbooks and materials
Charles Jannuzi, University of Fukui, Japan
Most 'western' publishers do not actually develop and produce textbooks and materials for the EFL market in Japan. Rather, they produce a lot of generic courses and supplementary material that they label 'communicative' and for 'false beginners' and hope EFL teachers here will adopt and adapt them to their classrooms.
There are some problems with this approach to mass market publishing. First, many of the western publishers are not very reliable in providing support to the teachers who use their textbooks. For example, many of these publishers are reluctant to provide free teachers' manuals/answer keys and CDs/DVDs (such as for listening courses). Second, if their books are not in stock with the distributors that university bookstores use, it can be a very long time to get the textbooks--and the prices can be quite inflated. Third, using such materials is a bit like making delicious 'stone' soup: the publishers give you a stone, and you, the EFL teacher, have to go find a lot of delicious vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices to make the delicious soup. Fourth, many of the materials are mono-lingual English only, and this is a big issue when your students can not understand the instructions or the tasks.
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