The success of any ELT teaching practice depends greatly on the type and quality of the teaching materials. Materials should provide rich exposure and stimulate classroom engagement, should fit into the curriculum and suit the students’ learning purposes. In order to have an appropriate material which will cater for the learners’ needs, several writing principles must be applied.
In this article, we will present some emerging principles for ELT material writers.
- Audio materials should include non-native English models.
The use of authentic materials in the classroom is no longer a novelty in teaching practices. However, the concept of “authenticity” has been changed slightly. Students are likely to experience English that is spoken by non-native speakers, so teachers shouldn’t hesitate to use the recordings of speakers not with Received Pronunciation.
Despite the fact that the Internet is full of audio materials, there is a limited range of resources which provide audio materials by non-native speakers. Elllo is the first site full of listening exercises. Many interviews are between native and non-native speakers, which gives the files an authenticity. You can download most of the listenings for free. There are quizzes for vocabulary and comprehension, and transcripts of everything.
- Materials that can be created within minutes, and require minimum changes.
One of the most important things that most teachers lack is time. Therefore, a database of resources which will help them to create materials very quickly is more than welcoming.
With the help of worksheet generator teachers can instantly create matching, sorting and word scrambler worksheets.
Puzzlemaker will allow teachers to create different types of puzzles and crossroads to present or recycle target language items.
This site offers a bunch of resources which will be of great help while designing materials.
- Create materials that can be accessed in different formats.
Though in many cases materials are printed out, in some cases learners can make use of digital resources. Therefore, it is important to create materials which are accessible in various formats, tablets, smartphones, laptops.
Socrative helps teachers create exercises and games that engage students in using smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Quizlet gives an opportunity to create flashcards, tests, quizzes, and study games that are accessible online.
- Good materials should be presented in multiple formats as every student learns differently.
When it comes to learning a new language, each student receives, processes and stores information differently. Visual and spatial learner like diagrams, drawing out concepts, charts and processes. Verbal learners will want to write down notes, talk about concepts and potentially present them as well. The role of each teacher is to help the learner open up his/her potential to the maximum to benefit fully from the learning experience. Therefore, the materials should be suitable for all types of learners. Here you can read more about the main learning styles and the activities which suit them the best.
- Some other emerging principles:
Materials should include information about the real world and compromising principles.
Material should arouse and sustain learners’ curiosity and attention and stimulate intellectual, aesthetic and emotional involvement.
Materials should provide opportunities for feedback.
These are the main principles that the ELT material writers should apply while designing their materials. However, we don’t say that you must apply all of them, anyone who writes materials should have their own framework of principles to work with, bearing in mind the specific learning features and needs of their students.