TOPIC 23. PRODUCTION OF ENGLISHLANGUAGE CURRICULAR MATERIALS.CRITERIA FOR THE SELECTION ANDUSE OF TEXTBOOKS. AUTHENTIC ANDADAPTED MATERIALS: LIMITATIONS OFUSAGE. STUDENT COLLABORATION INDESIGNING MATERIAL.
INTRODUCTIONRoyal Decree 1513/ 2006 states an openand flexible curriculum, so we, as teachers, canand must adapt the contents and materials toour students. The materials are quite importantin the learning process since they help teachersto develop the contents and, of course,consequently to achieve the objectives. Ourclassroom materials are essential to createlearning scenarios and experiences. Theyincrease students’ interest and motivation.Nowadays, there are a great variety of materialsavailable for teaching English, teachers shouldtake into account a careful selection and designin order to attend different learning styles withinthe same classroom.
MATERIALS FOR ENGLISH LESSONSThe teacher is the most important learning resource aclass can have because has to decide what kind ofmaterials are better for their students. We know thateach group is not different and learn in different ways,even within the classroom there is diversity. We can findvisual students who learn with pictures, flashcards,posters, etc; auditory students require a lot of listeningactivities, and kinaesthetic learners who learn throughmovement and manipulation of physical materials.Careful selection of materials for teaching Englishplays a fundamental role. The way they are designed,their colours, their distribution, and their content will giveform to the learning process and keep studentsinterested and motivated.
• To present new language.• To revise known language.• As a controlled practice of new language andknown language.• For creating free communicative scenarios.MATERIALS FOR ENGLISH LESSONSAs we have seen materials are quite important in the learningprocess and facilitate our job. They can serve for a wide range ofpurpose:The teacher should use a great variety of materials in order to reachevery student and provide a rich learning environment in the classroom.
MaterialsThere are a lot of types of materials available for teaching English:• Printed materials: textbooks, magazines, newspapers,handouts, dictionaries and other publications.• Visual materials: posters, murals, flashcards or maps.• Audio materials are essential for the teaching of listening:songs, radio, podcats, stories, dialogues, etc.• Audiovisual materials combine visual and auditory content.E.g. videos, movies, cartoons, commercials, video clips, TVprograms, etc. These can be reinforced with English subtitles todevelop also reading skills.• Computer materials nowadays are the most interestingmaterials for our students. As ICT Schools 2.0 we can usecomputers with a wide range of both online and offlineactivities, laptops and the digitalboard in the 3rd cycle.• Realia are materials that come from the real world. Forexample if you are teaching foods bring in an apple, a banana.
TEXTBOOKSTextbook have been the most commonly resources used inEnglish classroom. Our legal framework highlights theimportance of developing communicative competences.This involves the command of the four language skillswith special consideration to the oral ones (listening andspeaking). This is the reason why nowadays the majorityof textbooks include additional materials such as CD orDVD, flashcards, videos and other support with a widerange of possibilities for our foreign language lessons.Teachers should add extra materials and skip over theexercises that they don’t consider important for thestudents. Working with TBA, the students can complete afinal task through activities the teacher proposes andthese tasks can coincide with the contents of the unitsproposed in the textbook. For example, if the topic isabout clothes, the final task could be a “fashion show”.
The selection of textbooks• They should be attractive for the students.• They should fulfil the objectives proposed in thecurriculum.• They should provide content appropriate to the students’level and interests.• They should use a variety of activities.• They should be based on an active methodology.• They should provide diverse supplementary materials.• They should have a strong multicultural focus.• They should illustrate cultural elements of Englishspeaking countries.• They should work the basic competences.
• Textbooks are designed for a general group ofstudents of a level without taking into accounttheir sociocultural differences, their previousknowledge, interests, etc.• Textbook contents can be idealistic, giving theimpression of a world were everything is safe,clean, harmonious and undisturbed.• Many students find textbooks boring.• Textbooks give the impression of preparingstudents to pass exams.• Textbooks are quite fixed and general, itsstructure is quite repetitive.Disadvantages of using textbooks
Advantages of using textbooks• The students feel secure.• The pupils can feel a sense of progress andachievement.• They always have the book as a tool for review andstudy.• The textbooks meet the requirements set by thegovernment.• The show the material in an organised and coherentway.• They often have activity books to reinforce learning andsupplementary material like CD with songs, videos andcomputer games.
Adapting the textbook1. To select the unit we want to adapt.2. To think the reasons why we want to adapt the unit (theobjectives for the adaptation), taking into account thespecific context and the students’ characteristics.3. To evaluate what and how we are going to change theunit.4. To adapt the unit and teach your class with it.5. To evaluate (during and post) for checking the successof the adaptation, and if the objectives were achieved.It’s necessary to create strategies to adapt the materials to thespecific contexts and students. Materials adaptation involves changingsome features from the original materials that we don’t considersuitable for our specific students and purposes. We should take intoaccount the context and students’ age, level, learning styles, needs,attitudes and interests among others. Procedure to adapt materials(Masuhara, 2004):
Authentic materialsAuthentic materials have not been edited or designed forclassroom use. They are those produced primarily forthe use of native speakers of the target language. Theyenable students to study the country through the eyes ofthe people living there and to gain a perspective on theway they use their language. Authentic materials includefor example: radio or TV programs, pop songs,commercials, books in their original form, audio books,newspaper, travel guides, handouts, web pages, chats,emails, blogs, etc. As they can be difficult to understandfor our students we can adapt them by:• Converting them into workshop activities.• Adjusting the length and difficult to our students.• Simplifying or explaining key language elements.• Changing authentic materials into a variety of exercisetypes, etc.
Adapted materialsAdapted materials are designed andcreated for language purposes and arecarefully graded. Students love readingand listening to adapted materials sincethey can understand them perfectly andthis fact motivates them to learn. Forexample, adapted versions of classicstories usually have activities at the end toreview vocabulary in context, checkreading comprehension, etc.
STUDENTS’ COLLABORATIONIN THE MATERIAL DESIGNWe must encourage students to participate in the selection,design and even creation of materials. To design ourown materials allows students to feel part of the process.This motivates them and, consequently, they learn whiledoing in a fun way. The process of creating materialscan help the students to:• Develop strategies of communication, since they have towork in groups and share information, negotiate, etc.• Become more autonomous since they have to thinkabout how to create the material, make it attractive.• Develop the sense of responsibility necessary to finishthe work on time, to do a good job, etc.
MATERIALS TO CREATE• Create a school news magazine with pictures, etc.• Make small books in which they have to draw a pictureand write a description.• Make a picture dictionary related to the unit topic.• Create posters with the vocabulary or the grammaticalpoints dealt with in the lesson.• Create their own flashcard with pictures they havetaken, illustrations they have drawn, etc.• Record dialogues to be listened to by students of otherclassrooms.• With the teacher’s help, create a wiki or blog where theycan share classroom projects, etc.
CONCLUSIONAs we have seen in this topic, thetextbook is just a resource more within awide range of possibilities at the reach ofteachers. We should consider a carefuldesign and selection of materialsaccording to our students’ characteristics.The creation of material by thestudents is a very good option since theyare learning at the same time they aredoing, create learning experiences, buildmotivation, develop creativity, etc.