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CREATING YOUR OWN MATERIALS

Materials development refers to anything which is done by, teachers or learners to facilitate the learning of language and enhances the learning experience. Selecting and developing materials and activities for students helps to focus on the needs, abilities, interest, and expectations of the students and would lead to opportunities to make learning enjoyable and present information in a new and exciting way.

When learners are exposed to a set of carefully planned and well-articulated learning activities it would enhance their self-confidence as a result of learning at their own pace and in their own styles. This would also help teachers’ in the efficient development of their classes in order to satisfy the learning objectives.. For this it is important to create materials that promote motivation, interaction, and long-term learning.

According to Kathleen Graves (2000), “Materials development is the planning process by which a teacher creates units & lessons within those units to carry out the goals and objectives of the course. In a sense it is the process of making your syllabus more and more specific” Many teachers believe that materials creation involves designing something completely original and only of the highest quality. As a result, they do not consider themselves material designers.

However, teachers are constantly making decisions about their courses. Even if teachers are not deviating from the textbook, they are still making choices. For example, they decide how to sequence the lesson, or if exercises will be omitted, if an activity will be done as pair or group work, or how to introduce grammar concepts. This decision making is the basis for materials development as the teacher will need to make judicious choices during the creation process.

It is also important to note that materials development could be as simple as bringing in a visual aid to accompany a textbook exercise or activity. It could also be as complex as creating a multifaceted activity that results in a speaking or writing product used for an assessment.

” Brian Tomlinson” outlines six key principles for creating materials. In his article on principles and practices of Materials development for language learning

  1. Authentic language
  2. Affective and Cognitive Engagement
  3. Positive attitude towards target language
  4. Transfer skills
  5. Language awareness
  6. Communicative process

Materials development should take into account:

  • Students' different learning styles such as visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, analytic, experiential, global, dependent, and independent aspects.
  • Should achieve teaching-learning through novelty, variety, attractive presentation, and appealing content.
  • Focus on the importance of pre-and post-reflective questions about the materials to detect flaws and so re-examine students' needs,
  • Reselect activities aimed at meeting and challenging students' needs and learning.
  • Use of Students as materials and student produced materials for activities.

Guidelines for Materials Development 1. Using an experiential approach where learners are provided with experiences which engage them holistically to achieve explicit learning. 2. Activities designed should enable the learners to use language rather than just practising specified features of it. 3. The activities designed should help learners to develop their ability to communicate fluently, accurately, appropriately and effectively. 4The activities should be contextualised to enable the learners to respond to stimulus (e.g. a text, a need, a viewpoint, an event), 5. To make learners use mental imaging (e.g. seeing pictures in their mind), of connections with their own lives, of personal interpretations., 6. The transfer from learning activities to real life use, 7. To develop the ability to use language effectively in a variety of situations and uses 8. Collaborative activities to make discoveries for themselves. 9. Allow for a silent period at the onset of instruction until learners have gained sufficient exposure to the target language and confidence in understanding it. 10. Offer plenty of free practice. 11. Provide opportunities for outcome feedback. 12. Most importantly to develop confidence in the learners.

Materials development is a challenging endeavour, to properly identify the learners’ particular needs and learning tendencies. However the positive outcomes outweigh these concerns. Along with the advantages, the process of developing materials can also help to develop skills and knowledge and this experience can positively contribute to professional development. Ultimately Student success is the driving force for creating one’s own materials.

JANAKI KUMAR
RESEARCH RESOURCE DEPARTMENT
PALLAVI EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

JANAKI KUMAR
RESEARCH RESOURCE DEPARTMENT
PALLAVI EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

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