For today’s chats, we were fortunate to have had one of our fellow #ELTchatters offer to write a summary of the main points from the transcripts. I suggested this as there were quite a few new followers who mentioned that it is sometimes difficult to follow the transcript – there are so many retweets, it’s true!
Principles when preparing your own teaching materials – Summary
- The learner should be central.
- Materials should be professionally presented. Play with layouts, fonts, etc.
- Materials don’t have to mean paper worksheets: they could also be online, videos, presentations, art, mindmaps, realia…
- Materials can and should generate activities.
- Never do something yourself when your SS can do it for / with you.
- They should be fun, meaningful, practical and motivate SS.
- Try to include visuals, rather than just words.
- They should suit the skill / language point of the lesson, rather than just looking interesting to the teacher.
- They should empower SS to use the language and make connections.
- Materials should be sensitive to the nationalities / cultures you teach.
- Materials should be as relevant to the SS as possible. You can ask SS which topics motivate them.
- Space should be available for learners to take notes, perhaps with the back of the sheet completely blank. Avoid the temptation to do all thinking on paper.
- Open-ended materials can fuel whole lessons.
- Materials should be applicable to a real-life context.
- Inspiration can come from anywhere.
- They should be flexible.
- You can use your own materials to escape the confines of a coursebook, while still covering the syllabus. Or approach it differently, maybe by teaching a unit backwards.
- Use your materials to remind SS that they don’t have to be doing the same thing at the same time.
- Don’t forget about interaction!
- Design materials which make SS think, not just repeat.
- Think about trying the same materials out with different students.
- How much time do you spend planning v. using materials?
- Keep your materials: organise them on your computer, blog them, share them with your students / colleagues…
- Remember the level of your students: important for the tasks and the instructions.
- Trigger laughter and / or curiosity whenever possible.
- Consider SS who may have difficulty with your materials e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia. For example, use coloured paper for those with reading difficulties.
- When using authentic materials, fit the task to the students, rather than worrying too much about fitting the text to them.
- Reflect, edit, adapt, recycle – don’t give up!
- Take a risk!
I would like to reiterate that this is my summary of the discussions which took place today. I have used the words of some of the participants directly, but in no way claim them as my own – I wanted to make it a little simpler to find out what was going on, so have avoided crediting everyone. To find out exactly who said what, and to experience the full joy of an #eltchat, read the transcripts here.