Teachers: A 5 Step Plan for Dealing with a New Textbook Edition

Posted by ClassBook

7/28/14 9:30 AM

texting in the classroomIn theory, the availability of a new textbook edition should be good news for teachers. After all—up-to-date information is the best kind of information, right? While that might be true, switching to the latest edition of a textbook you’ve been using for several years can often feel like just one more added frustration to the start of a school year.

When you build a curriculum around a certain textbook, you know that textbook. You know exactly where in the table of contents to direct a curious student. You can practically automatically flip to that diagram you know you’ll need to reference in your lesson.

Then, suddenly, there’s a new edition and your whole textbook mojo is thrown off. But don’t worry—a new edition doesn’t have to mean extra work and redoing lesson plans. Just take a deep breath and follow our five step plan for familiarizing yourself with a new edition.

  1. Look for what’s the same. Rather than focusing on the changes that have been made from one edition to the next, focus on what’s the same. This will help you feel more comfortable with your new edition. Chances are, more things stayed the same than changed from your previous version, and getting to know a new edition might not be as intimidating as you think.

  2. Compare the tables of contents. A great indication of the differences between the two texts can be found in the tables of contents. Look at the two editions side by side and see what was removed or added. Depending on the subject you teach, the additions might be fairly obvious. For instance, if you teach history, additional chapter might have been added to reflect current events. For math, sample problems might have been changed.

  3. Read online reviews. You probably aren’t the only teacher adjusting to using a new edition of the same textbook. Check out some online reviews to see what changes others have noticed—for better or worse. However, don’t allow yourself to be too influenced by others’ opinions; you’ll still want to take time to formulate your own.

  4. Check out your main sections. You probably have some sections of the book that are more valuable to your lesson plans than others. Go to these sections first and familiarize yourself with the changes. They might be as simple as updated photographs or new chapter headings.

  5. Focus on the positives. While change can initially be a bit daunting, you might find yourself pleased with some of the differences. New illustrations mean your students won’t be distracted by outdated design trends. Updated historical information means your students are learning history alongside recent current events. Focusing on the positives can help you make the official transition.

Textbooks are designed to make your job easier, and a new edition doesn’t have to overly complicate your plans for the upcoming school year. With the right approach, you might even find yourself excited about the changes.

Do you have tips for interacting with new textbook editions? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Transitioning From Print to Digital

Topics: Guides, The Classroom