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Creating and Adapting Teaching Materials

Creating and Adapting Teaching Materials | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Nothing ever comes to be without being created first. The same can be said for any lesson, without creating the materials to be used in the lesson it would be difficult for any teacher to deliver their intended lesson to students. Then one would ask the question of why is it important to create and adapt teaching materials if some already as much as using already available materials saves time and expense, it is not always effective because the materials not be intended for that specific target group and would not deliver the intended impact if not hinder it all together. Therefore materials need adjusting or adapting them to suit the requirements of the students.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Vagizova A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Gathering materials

Before anything else, the first step is to gather the materials that will eventually make up our teaching materials. To do this we consider gathering easily available materials. These could be coursebooks, workbooks, CDs, flashcards, and CD-ROMs, etc. Once these have been gathered then we can move on to the next step of our creating process.

flatlay desk with materials and books

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Adapting materials

The second step is to adapt existing or easily available materials to suit the teaching/learning needs we may have. It saves time, energy and expense when existing materials are used, as compared to acquiring new English as foreign language materials or materials for teaching or learning another foreign language. Some of the challenges that may arise when adapting materials are:

  • An inappropriate amount of content - Whatever materials we may have or may be able to obtain may not be appropriate for the requirements of our learners. For native speakers, authentic materials are normally created. This often implies that an adjustment is necessary before the materials can be used effectively.
  • The content might difficult- If our learners are beginners, it may be necessary to simplify vocabulary or context aspects to make passages and sections of listening comprehension useful.
  • Too long or too short- Lessons and or study periods are most often controlled over time. If for a brief classroom training activity we need an activity or section, a longer piece of native language may need to be extracted or shortened to fit into the framework of our lesson. To flesh out its usefulness in the classroom environment, a shorter piece may need additional tasks or conversations.Paying attention to these challenges can help the teacher greatly when creating effective teaching materials.

idea sign

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Adapting materials for mixed student ability

Our third step is to adjust the materials to suit a class with students of different levels. To some extent, all courses are of mixed student ability. In extreme instances, it can be very difficult for the teacher when you have a class mix of near-native speakers with beginners. It is important to remember in these cases that all students are going to get something out of the class, but not necessarily the same things, and not necessarily what you want to teach them! For example, beginners may begin to gain an understanding of your language in the classroom while the stronger students may begin to use a new tense.

Adapting materials for mixed ability classes can take different forms. One way of adapting materials is to rewrite texts of reading and grade the language for distinct levels accordingly. This may be the perfect solution in an ideal world where a teacher has all the time in the world to prepare his classes. The truth, however, is that this type of adaptation is highly time-consuming and not many educators can go that long to adapt equipment for mixed-level organizations. Another issue that can occur with this kind of adaptation is that giving distinct texts to distinct learners can be uncomfortable. There is a risk that they will immediately realize that they have been labeled as a weak or powerful student, and this will undoubtedly affect their motivation in the situation of the weaker learners.

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In as much as using already available materials saves time and expense, it is not always effective because the materials not be intended for that specific target group and therefore would not deliver the intended impact if not hinder it all together. By adjusting materials teachers intend to use to enable them to engage assignments with clear learning objectives, they can provide their students with experiences that enhance opportunities for language learning.

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