I make a lot of worksheets and materials available via this blog, which I hope that many fellow ELT professionals will use and evaluate. In my opinion, though, it’s important that anyone who wants to use my materials has some insight into the principles behind my work.
I believe Materials for ELT should…
- be based on an understanding of how learning works. – i.e. of theoretical models of learning, for example from SLA or psychology, and methodologies derived from them.
- guide learners to discover and practice language items and skills. – i.e. not just ‘tell’, but ‘show’ and allow space for learners to notice by themselves, by guiding them in logical steps.
- lead to as authentic communication as possible. – i.e. they should learn to do with things in English which they are realistically likely to have to do outside of the classroom.
- gain and maintain learners’ interest. – e.g. by involving higher-level thinking skills, provoking affective responses, dealing with topics relevant to the learners.
- expose learners to ‘taboo’ topics (PARSNIPs) in a constructive manner. – i.e. to prepare them for and encourage open discussion of potential taboos and cultural difference, in order to develop inter-cultural communicative competences; especially since a key motivation to learn English is to communicate with people form other countries (and therefore cultures).
- allow for differentiated ouput. – i.e. grade the output, not necessarily the input, so the same material can be flexibly employed with various groups of learners working at different levels or focusing on different skill areas by simply adjusting the output tasks accordingly.