12 Aug How to Write Appealing Teaching Materials (1): 9 Essential Tips for Language Teachers Who “Do it Themselves”
Author: Ilinca Stroe
In a world brimming with teaching ideas and activities, why would any teacher still want to write their own teaching materials? Well, the answers vary from “Because they feel creative and find it fun!” to “Because they’re too busy to do time-consuming research until they find exactly what they need.” The truth is, when you design your own teaching materials, you produce custom-made exercises perfectly suited to matching the learning needs of a particular student or group. Since no textbook or resource website knows what engages and pleases your students as well as you do, you’re the only person in a position to generate materials that are really appealing and useful to your students.
But teaching materials writing can be as much of a skill as teaching itself, and to be able to write good materials you need to keep in mind some guidelines. Pointing out that the focus here is mainly on controlled practice grammar and vocabulary exercises, and on worksheets rather than, say, flashcards, let us go through the most important things to consider when creating your own materials.
- Use a variety of types of exercises. The almost ubiquitous gap fill might be tempting to use all the time because it’s easy and familiar, but it can become a little stifling for learners to “fill in the blanks” time and again. There’s a whole range of other types of exercises, and it’d be a pity not to tap into that for more fun and variety.
|1. do||A. the floor|
|2. clean||B. the laundry|
|3. mop||C. the windows|
|1. come||A. behind with||a. my teacher|
|2. fall||B. up to||b. an idea|
|3. look||C. up with||c. my studies|
When I finally got home after a long day’s work, I was …… (u d e s t e x a h)
any | in | restaurants | know | the | do | area | you | ?
orange, cucumber, potato, banana, apricot, broccoli, zucchini, strawberry
My husband …… slept well lately.
Sue was so miserable / ecstatic about passing the exam that she decided to throw a party.
Correct the sentence
Martha promised that she is going to call Frank that night.
Van Gogh was in fact …… of the poorest and most unhappy artists of his time.
Finish the sentence
Mrs Simpson bought as much . . .
Extra word out
Professor Rogers asked us to do some an independent research for the final-year project.
Odd word out
I knew my mother-in-law’s sister, but I only met her children at their son’s graduation ceremony last April.
- Oh, I’m not a fan. I find it sad.
- Do you like jazz?
- Do you? I think it’s relaxing.
- I do. But my favourite is soul.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
The telephone ___________________________ .
- Use clear instructions. Understanding the instructions should never be a comprehension task itself. Instead, instructions should be as unambiguous, economical and explicit as possible. For example,
Matching: “Match a verb in the first column to a noun in the second column to get names of chores.”
Word scramble: “Put the letters in the right order to get an adjective.”
Multiple choice: “Choose the option that best fits the gap.”
Cloze sentences: “Complete the sentence with the word which best fits the gap.”
As you become more experienced in drafting instructions for your materials, you’ll reach a “formula” for each type of exercise. And formulaic instructions are all you (and your students) need.
(to be continued)
International House Bucharest runs regular CELTA, DELTA and IHCYLT courses for teachers of English at its Teacher Training Centre, as well as training events online, onsite or at partner locations. To sign up for a course or event, contact [email protected].