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TEFL Program - Creating and Using Great Materials

Page history last edited by Chris Moore 12 years, 5 months ago

Creating and Using Great Materials


This unit focuses on using some great materials that can be used in addition to the coursebook. It looks what you can use and suggests some possible activities you can try out in your classroom.


Think About It


1.  Do you ever use materials in addition to the coursebook?



2. If so, what?



3. Do you ever make your own materials?



4. Can additional materials help your students learn better?






Sometimes, extra materials can be very useful. Why?


1. They make lessons more fun

2. They can bring language to life

3. They can motivate students to think about their English

4. They can get students talking

5. They allow you to make the language more personal


Can you think of any more reasons here?





Think about it 


Please write down 5 types of extra materials












Now give some examples of when you might use them.














Here are some ideas we had:


1. Pictures

These can be taken from magazines, newspapers, brochures, etc. You can also use your drawing skills, or ask your students to make them.

Possible Activities

  • Describe what’s happening. You can practice lots of language here, for example
    • describing people (‘She’s tall and slim with long dark hair’), places, buildings, etc
    • introducing or practising present continuous for activities in the present (‘he’s walking down the street..’)
    • introducing or practising prepositions of place (‘Where is the tree?’ ’In front of/behind/next to the house.’)
  • Say what you think happened before the picture (past tense practice)
  • Say what you think will happen after the picture (future practice)
  • Describe the relationship between the people in the picture
  • Using a number of pictures, ask students to make a story using the pictures
  • Describe a picture or pictures to introduce a text or activity – example: students describe the main differences between a picture of a city and one of a village before reading a text about the same subject


2. Flashcards

Flashcards are pieces of paper or card with something simple on them – a picture or a word, for example. You can show flashcards to the whole class so they can respond to it. They are easy to make and can be used for useful classroom activities.


Possible Activities

  •  Pictures

-       To remind students of words

-       To test students to see if they can remember words

-       Ask students to write a sentence using the picture on the flashcard

-       To see if students can spell the word on the card

-       To ask students to make a story using the picture(s)


  •  Words

-       Ask students to make sentences using the words

-       Ask students to make dialogues using the words

-       Ask students to draw the word (to check they know its meaning)

-       Ask students to change the word by adding a prefix of suffix – eg for opposites

-       Ask students to pronounce the word correctly


3. Authentic Texts


If you have access to English language newspapers, or the internet, then authentic texts can be a great resource for higher level students.


Possible Activities:

  •  Match headlines with articles
  •  Take out some words and ask students to fill the gaps
  •  Cut the article up into paragraphs and ask students to put it back together
  •  Analyze the language (grammar, vocabulary, expressions) in a text
  •  Read and answer questions
  •  Read and discuss the theme 


4. Local information


This may be maps, cinema listings, lists of cafes, hotels, etc.


Possible Activities

  •  Ask students to create a brochure for visitors to their city/town/village
  •  Ask students to make a weekend schedule for visitors – allow a lot or a little money to see what they come up with
  •  Maps are good for working on directions: ‘How do you go from the school to the police station?’



5. Games & Problem Solving Activities


See unit XX for lots of ideas here 



6. The Black/White Board

Your board is a great resource. How you use it is vital to great teaching, and it can be used in all kinds of ways. See unit XX to get guidance and ideas.


7. You!

As a teacher, you are an incredible resource. You know the language, have lots of life experience, and understand what interests your students.

Your students will learn from their interactions with you. This is when you…

  1. Talk with them 
  2. Explain words and grammar 
  3. Demonstrate how language works 
  4. Describe people, things and situations 
  5. Draw things on the board or on paper 
  6. Set up games and activities with them  
  7. Tell them what they need to do 
  8. Correct them 
  9. Organize activities with them 


Without you, the extra materials described above are not very useful. It’s you who will bring them to life and use them motivate your students to learn.

So, it is important to choose the material carefully - it must fit the activity, guide students towards language aims, and be both interesting and useful



Next Steps


Try some of these out. Think about what your students would like to do and how it will make the course book more interesting. Think about what your students can learn.


If possible, work with another teacher. Make some resources together and try them out with your classes. Then meet and discuss what worked and what didn’t – and why and what can be done to make it more successful in the future.


Before you go to the next unit, write down 3 things that you will try out following reading this unit.








And go try them out!



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