Advantages of Creating Your Own ESL/ EFL Materials
I have been highlighting in my previous posts the importance of going to class prepared. To establish an effective learning environment, teachers must choose materials which fit the students well. We as teachers may feel busy and tired but we should not succumb to leniency and compromise lesson quality in the process.
Holding on to textbooks is one good way to keep the class turning without too much effort. There are a lot of good textbooks available for a fee or for free. As teachers, we should become tech savvy in a way or another. The internet offers many teaching tools so we have to make use of them.
I use textbooks and ready materials for most of my classes. However, creating tailor-fit lessons never escaped my thoughts. It may sound very traditional but coming up with unique and personalised lessons for each student is still the best.
Here are some of the reasons why
Contextualised Approach to Teaching
Most ESL and EFL instructional materials feature lessons which are too general for most students. These books often require students to perform exercises which are not realistic or those which students hardly encounter in their lives. Instead of encouraging students to study more, these materials make them unenthusiastic. As a result, students lose motivation.
Teaching materials should be well in context. What is contextualization then? It is making an act or linguistic element appropriate for study considering factors such as nationality, age, sex, proficiency level, and others.
In teaching business English to Japanese students, for example, teachers must consider the cultural background and other biases. Japanese professionals may observe certain business customs unique to others.
Confidence and Mastery
You aren’t just using any other’s material but your own. As teachers, we take pride in what we do. We also know the ins and outs of the lessons that we are giving. If you have done previous lesson materials in the past, you must have known them very well by heart. This cuts down the preparation time. You may forget about a specific material but when your eyes are laid on it, there is an automatic recollection. Why? Because you made it yourself. Something that comes from the very depths of you, whether related to linguistic or not, wouldn’t easily be erased from memory.
When I was in law school, I noticed that I would mark higher in examinations every time I used my personally- created my review notes.
More Effective Curriculum Building
Whether we are dealing with beginners or advanced students, we should have a good and effective EFL curriculum at hand. This serves as a guide for setting goals for the students.
Many large schools have good curriculum while others leave their teachers to decide what to teach. While the latter sound a little bit more carefree, problems may arise when the class is handled by an inexperienced teacher. Aside from getting lost where to start, this teacher would also have difficulty how to continue and expand the class.
This is where curriculum development comes into play. If a teacher has a good set of EFL materials, it will be a lot easier to come up with a curriculum. You just have to pick from among the existing materials you have and put them together depending on the problem areas of the student. A teaching curriculum is usually composed of English conversation topics which may be used with or without a textbook. Basic English conversation may also come as a supplement to the main lesson.
Easy Progress Tracking
Upon conception of a lesson idea, you also need to consider the goals which it wants to achieve at the end of the class. The lesson material development process can’t be completed without this.
Since you know what your material is all about, you can easily assess the students’ progress without going into details. This is especially true if your lesson materials are designed on a proficiency- level basis. Thus a student who has been using your beginner’s material may find himself ready for the next level if he doesn’t struggle with the previous texts anymore. Students could get used to the kind of materials that you make. This removes the stress out of the learning process.
For experienced teachers, though, they can easily assess the student’s level with or without the use of formal parameters.