We’re pleased to announce that Top Notch 3rd edition has won the 2016 Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)’s Textbook Excellence Award Winners (College). This award recognises excellence in current textbooks and learning materials. The award is judged by textbook authors and subject matter experts for merits in four areas:

  • Pedagogy
  • Content/Scholarship
  • Writing
  • Appearance & Design

As part of the awards program, Kim Pawlak,  Director of Publishing & Operations for TAA contacted several of the Textbook Excellence Award winners trying to discover what inspired them to write their textbooks, how they fit writing into their schedules, what they wished they had known when they started writing … and more. We invite you to enjoy the excerpts below from Top Notch authors Joan Saslow & Allen Ascher: 

Q: Why did you decide to write your textbook?

  • “The English language classroom needs to serve as a place students can observe, practice, and remember new language. In other words, it has to provide a mini-microcosm of the English-speaking world and concentrate exposure and practice at a language level appropriate for students. Our goal in creating Top Notch was to make English unforgettable by providing multiple opportunities to observe new language, numerous opportunities for receptive and productive practice of it, and deliberate and systematic recycling of that language long after its initial presentation.”

Q: What have you done to boost your confidence as a writer?

  • “The biggest confidence booster is traveling and working with teachers who use Top Notch. Their feedback on the book — both positive and negative — lets us know when we are on the right track and where we need to improve materials in the next edition.”

Q: Which pedagogical elements in your textbook are you most proud of?

  • “We are told by teachers that what they love about Top Notch is the naturalness and authenticity of the language used in presentations, and the emphasis we’ve put on social language and the idioms of everyday speech. English today is not an academic course, as it was years ago where students would prepare mainly to read and write it, with grammar the most important focus. Today, English is a life skill for people all over the world, who use it as a lingua franca to function in business, study, and travel.” 

Q: What advice can you share with aspiring textbook authors?

  • “Identify what is lacking in materials currently available and try to devise a way to create material that will address the need. Be able to articulate simply what is or would be unique about your contribution and why it would appeal to teachers.”


Read the full three part series published by Kim Pawlak below:

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