New types of corpora for new educational challenges: Collecting, annotating and exploiting a corpus of textbook material

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The present paper addresses the relationship between corpora and one commonly used type of pedagogical material in instructed English as a Foreign Language (EFL) settings, namely the textbook. Major English Language Teaching (ELT) publishers increasingly use native and learner corpora as input material on which to build, at least in part, new series of reference and pedagogical material such as dictionaries, grammar or vocabulary books. Surprisingly, however, English for General Purposes (EGP) textbooks are exceptions to the rule and still shy away from corpora. After a first section on the corpus tradition in ELT, we provide a survey of textbook research in Section 2. The third section presents a new type of pedagogically annotated textbook corpus: the TeMa corpus (corpus of Textbook Material). From a methodological viewpoint, we will show that the collection and annotation of pedagogical corpora allow for new automated search options which are not available in the manual ‘page by page’ approach often adopted in traditional textbook analyses. Concrete examples of search options and their preliminary results will be presented in Section 4, together with suggestions on how pedagogically annotated corpora can help learners, teachers, and material designers meet new educational challenges.


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