The purpose of this research is that its results will contribute to the promotion and improvement of teaching practice and workbooks that will play an important role in the teaching process. Workbooks should guide the students in solving the simplest cognitive tasks as their primary aim is, if they are properly used, to create a natural period of thinking with the help of specific items, by using images to solve theoretical tasks in initial abstract thinking. Due to the importance in the development of the opinion of the students from the particular to the abstract, the workbooks in educational practice in recent years often find application in the educational process.
There are both advantages and disadvantages in using workbooks during English lessons. Firstly, workbooks usually follow the same syllabus as the course book and provide exercises that build on what the students have already done. Moreover, they reinforce the teaching that has taken place in the classroom. If used for homework, the big advantage is that they are great for self-study as they can usually be purchased with the answers in them. This means less marking for the teachers.
The course workbooks also have different types of activities. They often include grammar exercises, vocabulary, pronunciation activities, reading and sometimes listening.
One of the disadvantages of these books is that they can be expensive. They also don’t really offer much visual variety to students as they will be in the same format as the course books.
The choice of context and the preparation of the workbooks is guided by several principles: the global structure, the composition and the articulacy of the contexts presented in the workbook. These principles are taken into consideration when the students have to fulfill their task which involves connecting, finishing a drawing, coloring, circling etc. If these principles are not taken into consideration, there is a possibility for the task not to be finished.
Considering the fact that the workbooks are not used in every teaching areas and according the level of development of students in the lower grades, the subjects in the workbooks are presented in vivid and attractive colours. It is important for the colours to be adequate to the natural colours of the subjects in order to attract the students’ attention , to arouse their senses and perceptions and to assist in meeting the objectives.
The illustrations in the workbooks of the upper classes are not so colourful but simple – white drawings which present the most characteristic marks in order to serve as mean of the thinking task.
In the process of making tasks for the workbooks the following need to be taken into consideration:
- the developmental structure of intellectual and the basic abilities;
the cumulative impact of the individual tasks.
The previous observations and evaluation of the results show that the use of workbooks led to: independence of work, individual advancement, expansion and deepening of knowledge, skills and habits and acquiring new ones, application of acquired knowledge in new situations of learning, developing creativity, creative thinking etc.
The main instrument used in conducting this research was the questionnaire with combined types of questions. The questionnaire gives opportunity for a large amount of data to be collected in a short period of time.
The sample of this research consists of fifty students in 3rd and 4th grade from Number 1 Secondary School in Slatina. According to the collected data and the results obtained in the research, the following were concluded:
- The students use the workbooks as sources of knowledge during the introductory part of the class;
- The students use the workbooks for practicing what they’ve learned at home;
- The workbooks are used for determining the acquired knowledge as students use them while studying out loud;
- The students use the workbooks as source of knowledge when they study for a long period of time;
- The use of the workbooks for determining the acquired knowledge and the ways of studying are in a very strong correlative relationship;
- The students use the workbooks for mostly practicing at the beginning of the class.
The results of this research contribute to the improvement and promotion of teaching practice and confirmation of the important role of the workbooks in the teaching process.