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Albany, Vermont TESOL Online & Teaching English Jobs
This was a very short unit, and went over the pros and cons of course books and both professionally-made and teacher-produced materials. Just like pretty much any other topic, the use of such books and materials depends on a class’s individual situation. Course books are good because they provide structure and a syllabus that can be tweaked by the teacher to cater more toward the specific needs of his/her class. These types of books and their accompanying materials (e.g., workbooks, flashcards, audio clips, etc.) are graded for different levels of students, so they can easily be chosen for any class. They are also usually deigned to be appealing to their target audience. Another good feature offered by text books is their constant practicing of language items that have already been introduced. This does not mean that course books are not without their flaws. Following the book too much can get stale and boring: perhaps too predictable. And since course books are often produced for the broadest general audience, they cannot always simulate interest in all students. Teachers must also create some of their own materials to supplement the text book. In this way, personal interests of the students can be incorporated into the lesson, giving both learners and teachers a breath of fresh air and some fun. Teachers have to be careful when choosing when to supplement the book. If done too much the book may seem irrelevant to the class. Subject matter must also be deeply considered, since teachers will not be working on the planned syllabus. It is more work to produce such lessons, but can really benefit students in the long run since teachers can actually perceive problems areas and personalities. Realia is also something that a teacher should consider using. It is more difficult to choose appropriate materials since things from everyday life are not graded to specific levels of English learning, but can offer some much needed cultural exposure. Also, it can be used to help students confirm what they know about the language and feel good about their progress (as stated in earlier units). In the end, it is important that students get a good balance of all the skills at their own, challenging level, keep practicing language that they have already been introduced too, and get a chance to put the book down to engage in more practical and stimulating activities.
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