This week, I’ve outsourced the discussion question from my Materials Development course. I asked my teacher friends and colleagues:
Which ONE piece of advice would you give to a teacher who wanted to create their own classroom materials?
My top tip is: First plan the aims you want to achieve with the materials, and use them to guide everything you create!
Here’s what the others said…
Daniela (post-doc researcher & university tutor): Don’t bother unless you’re 200% sure that it’s going to be better than what’s out there already – so that your time is really worth it!
Carol (EAP tutor): Make the content relevant to your students and their learning needs.
Dan (FE Teacher Trainer): Ensure that the learner will think about the content, and not the materials.
Jessica (secondary-school MFL teacher): Make sure anything you create allows you to play to your strengths and show off the learners’ ability.
James (graduate student, ESL teacher): Pay attention to the level of language you’re using, as well as teaching, so that students can understand the materials completely.
Chris (English teacher): Be consistent with formatting: page numbers, topic title, date, class, etc. and staple together so it’s not lots of loose sheets.
Jenny (university EFL teacher): Base the materials on topics that the students can relate to, whether this topic has been encountered inside or outside the learning environment, first-hand or through the media.
Joanna (online Business English teacher): Start with needs analysis – learn about your learner.
Marc (ESOL teacher): Leave plenty of white space for writing notes and annotations.
Karen (freelance editor & project manager): Make sure you write clear teaching notes and keys so others can use the materials too.
Sandy (ELT manager & CELTA tutor): Just start doing it and testing them out! Then reflect on what did and didn’t work.
Jasmine (ESL teacher): My advice would be to be a student. Take a class or try out your own lessons using another language register in English. You will be able to critique your own stuff more objectively.