Creating materialsCreating appropriate materials for an ESL/EAL class requires careful thought and selection but given the time they can be rewarding to make and enjoyable to complete. If cost is not an issue, it is worth considering whether or not the resource can be colour photocopied and laminated if necessary. Materials used can either be authentic or created and the resource chosen will depend on its purpose and learner.
The aim of this article is to determine the advantages of created materials and to give ideas and suggestions of how these can be made and used in a classroom setting with EAL learners.
Created materials are resources that have been made and designed for a specific purpose. They are very useful to use when targeting a certain topic area for a certain student
or group. A main advantage of creating such materials is that the resource can easily be adapted and used over again depending on the student
. Depending on the resources and technology
available, they can be made in a variety of ways and can take anything from ten minutes to 2 hours.
If access to a computer and the internet is possible, there are some very creative programs and websites that can be used to create very inventive and original resources. Naturally this will also depend on the licensing and ICT policy within the work place. A program I have experienced myself is TaskMagic. ?TaskMagic is an easy to use program for creating interactive lesson content. Teachers can type in their own texts, vocabulary etc to create a variety of interactive games and exercises, which recycle the same language content in many different ways.? www.bettshow.com
However, depending on the environment and country, this kind of technology
may not be available but there are other resources that a teacher can depend on that are just as effective, such as the use of an Over Head Projector (OHP), a cassette recorder or video/DVD player.
Other resources that can be created on the computer or by hand include crosswords, word searches, role play cards, flash cards and gap fill activities. Crosswords can be designed to evaluate a students
learning within any subject area, just as word search puzzles can be created to demonstrate selections of key words for any subject area.
Flashcards are very colourful and visual resources that can act as a strong starter when introducing new vocabulary. Then can either be recycled and used with other students
and groups or they can be used as part of a wall display.
It is important to realise that sometimes students
do not work at the same speed as their peers and sometimes don?t always understand a topic as quickly as their peers and this is therefore an opportunity for the teacher to adapt a resource and make it suitable for the level. An example of this would be to use an existing gap fill activity and perhaps add a bank of key words to simplify the task.
Finally, if time is a major factor and such resources can?t always be created, it is crucial to remember that existing materials like board games can be re-created and adapted. A scrabble game could be used in a variety of different ways; only using words that are nouns, adjectives, connectives or words that are science related.
The resources you as a teacher create will be the key to a successful, motivated and engaged student