To What Extent Do Popular ESL Textbooks Incorporate Oral Fluency and Pragmatic Development

  • Lori G. Diepenbroek University of Alberta
  • Tracey M. Derwing University of Alberta


We examined several popular integrated skills textbooks used in Language Instruc- tion for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and English as a second language (ESL) programs for pragmatics and oral fluency activities. Although many instructors use other resources to supplement classroom instruction, the textbook is still the backbone of many language courses. We wanted to know to what extent textbooks focus on pragmatics and oral fluency, as well as the range of activities featured in each. In light of the recent federal evaluation of LINC programs in Canada, which indicated extremely limited improvement in speaking and listening skills as a result of language instruction, it is important to know which textbooks offer the best opportunities for pragmatics and fluency development. We determined that very few textbook series are consistent in their inclusion of pragmatic content in terms of scope, quality, and quantity. As might be expected, oral fluency is not a major focus in integrated skills texts; however, those activities that are intended to enhance fluency development could easily be improved by an instructor.

Author Biographies

Lori G. Diepenbroek, University of Alberta
Lori Diepenbroek has a Master’s in TESL from the University of Alberta. she currently teaches pragmatics in a bridging program for immigrants from health professions.
Tracey M. Derwing, University of Alberta
Tracey Derwing is a professor in TESL at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include the oral language skills of immigrants as well as settlement issues.
How to Cite
Diepenbroek, L., & Derwing, T. (2014). To What Extent Do Popular ESL Textbooks Incorporate Oral Fluency and Pragmatic Development. TESL Canada Journal, 30(7), 1.