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How Materials are Incorporated in Teaching English Online

How Materials are Incorporated in Teaching English Online | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Online English teachers are divided into two groups. The first group is online ESL teachers that work for an education company. The second group is online ESL teachers who freelance. I will explain the two types of teaching materials, authentic and created materials, and how materials are incorporated in teaching English online to students. The focus of this article will be young learners as that is my personal career goal.

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

Authentic Materials

The first group of teaching materials is authentic materials. Authentic materials are defined as “anything a native speaker would hear or read can be described as authentic – programs, magazines, newspapers, songs, poems, brochures, menus, film on video,” etc. (Course books and lesson materials, Unit 14, Page 2) Online teachers who teach for an institution will be more limited in the authentic materials they can use in supplementing, adapting or replacing in the lesson plan as opposed to the freelance online teacher who can use any of the authentic materials as part of their lesson plan as long as the materials are selected carefully for the language level.

An example of an authentic material being used to teach English online for young learners would be a song that would incorporate the vocabulary or general subject being taught. Another material would be a kid’s menu to identify a group of vocabulary foods. A popular material that teachers use a lot is film or videos. Young learners also like videos as they find it engaging. A teacher can use a video of animals, for instance, to engage students in what type of animals are on the video.

Also read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?

Created Materials

The second group of teaching materials is created materials. Created materials are defined as “usually designed by the teacher to replace or supplement materials from a coursebook.” (Course books and lesson materials, Unit 14, Page 3) Created materials can be tailored to the students’ grade level. Examples of created materials are crosswords, word search puzzles, role-play cards, flashcards, gap-fill activities, and picture stories.

Teachers who are employed by an education company can use created material as a supplement to the lesson plan provided or replace a lesson provided it is allowed by the company. Freelance teachers have the freedom to use created materials as they see fit into their lesson plans. An example of created material being used to teach English online for young leaners would be flashcards with the vocabulary designed with the lesson plan. Another created material would be digital worksheets in which a student can match by circling or drawing a line with their mouse a picture with the coordinating English vocabulary. Finally, another example of created material is designing picture stories which are pictures on a square and students are then asked to create a story based on the picture on the square. This created material is more for the advanced young learner as they will need to acquire basic vocabulary to create a fluent English story.

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Online resources and markets are abundantly available for ESL teachers for authentic and created materials. The materials selected will be dependent upon several factors including the teacher’s lesson plan, the level of the language student, the size of the classroom, students’ interests and needs, and whether the class is being taught as monolingual or multilingual. As young learners advance in their knowledge of the English language, a teacher will need to adapt their lesson plans. Teachers will also need to adapt the authentic and created materials to challenge the students and to present new ways of incorporating authentic and created materials in teaching English online.

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