Teach English in Shaheying Zhen - Hanzhong Shi

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In as much as it may not be really challenging to create class room materials for effective learning and teaching process, the real challenge is knowing the quality of materials to create and how to link the materials you create to match your course outline. There are generally two broad types of materials needed or used in a classroom- Authentic and non-authentic materials. While authentic materials are one that have been produced for a defined or real purpose not to be used in the classroom, non-authentic materials are those carefully produced either by an educational company or individuals for the exact or specific purpose of them being a teaching aid. Examples of authentic materials include new papers, literature, video, TV, cultural quizzes, menus, songs, etc. These are a source of great benefit such as motivation to learning, authentic cultural information, real language presentation, creative teaching approach, among others. Points to consider when creating materials. 1. Teachers must ensure they know and understand relevant interest areas, motivational factors and most times specific individual needs prior to creating study materials. These can be gotten from performing basic needs analysis on students. 2. Curriculum doesn’t only defines content, skills and values to be taught. It also outlines goals and objectives for learners in the course of study. Teachers have a responsibility to ensure such objects and goals are met in the design and creation of study materials. 3. Another factor that would impact on decisions to design and create materials are resources such as radio, photocopiers, computers, camera, etc. 4. Teachers’ level of teaching experience and his or her creativity or artistic skills and overall understanding of principles of materials design and production would determine their competence and confidence in creating a very good teaching material. Advantages of Authentic Materials 1. Course books are usually generic and not aimed at any specific culture. As a result, creating your own materials can help both students and teachers by contextualizing teaching to match goals and aspirations of teaching and learning. 2. Meeting individual needs is one goal of teaching. Created materials can be responsive to diversity inherent in the classroom which will incorporate the learner’s first language and culture as well as their needs and experiences. 3. Taping the interests and considering learning styles of students to personalizing teaching materials is likely to increase motivation and engaged learning. When teachers create and develop their own materials, there is greater choice of freedom. 4. Authentic materials can be up to date and topical which students relate to more easily. Disadvantages of Authentic Materials 1. They may be costly both economically and timely speaking. 2. Teacher designed materials may lack overall coherence and clear progression which may result in students loosing focus. 3. Absence or lock of quality as a result of inexperience and understanding on the part of the teacher may result in important elements being left out or incompetently covered. 4. Time is a key factor preventing many teachers from producing quality materials. Points to consider prior to deploying created material. 1. Instead of explaining the activity, demonstrate it. 2. Always check understanding before you begin by asking students what they are supposed to do. 3. Be willing and ready to change organizational structures of activities. Ex. Pairs, small groups or entire class.