Advantages of Creating Your Own ESL/ EFL Materials

I have been highlighting in my previous posts the importance of going to class prepared. To establish an effective learning environment, teachers must choose materials which well fit the students. While, us, teachers may be busy, we should not succumb to leniency and compromise lesson quality in the process.

Holding on to textbooks is one good way to keep the class up without too much effort. There are a lot of good textbooks available for a fee or for free. As teachers, it is imperative that we become tech savvy. The internet offers many tools for us to use so we have to make use of them.

I use textbooks and ready materials for most of my classes. However, creating tailor-fit lessons never escaped my thoughts. It may sound very traditional but coming up with unique and personalised lessons for each student is still the best.

Here are some of the reasons why-

Contextualised Approach to Teaching

Most ESL and EFL instructional materials feature lessons which are too general for most students. Students may be required to  perform exercises which are not realistic or those which they hardly encounter in their lives. Instead of encouraging students to study more, these materials make them unenthusiastic. As a result, students lose their motivation.

Teaching materials should be well in context. What is contextualisation then? It is making an act or linguistic element appropriate for study considering factors such as nationality, age, sex,  proficiency level,  and others.

In teaching business English to Japanese students for example, teachers must consider the cultural background and other biases. Japanese professionals may observe certain business customs unique to others.

Confidence and Mastery

You aren’t just using any other’s material but your own. As teachers, we take pride of what we do. We also know the ins and outs of the lessons that we are giving. If you have done previous lesson materials in the past, you must have known them very well by heart. This cuts down the preparation time. You may forget about a specific material but when your eyes are laid on it, there is an automatic recollection. Why? Because you made it yourself. Something that comes from the very depths of you whether related to linguistic or not wouldn’t easily be erased from memory.

When I was in law school, I noticed that I would mark higher in examinations when I used my personally- created my review notes.

More Effective Curriculum Building

Whether we are dealing with beginners or advanced students, we should have a good and effective EFL curriculum at hand. This serves as a guide for the class sets goals for the students.

Many large schools have good curriculums while others leave their teachers to decide what to teach. While the latter sound a little bit more carefree, problems may arise when the class is handled by an inexperienced teacher. Aside from getting lost where to start, this teacher would also have difficulty how to continue and expand the class.

This is where curriculum development comes into play. If a teacher has a good set of EFL materials, it will be a lot easier to come up with a curriculum. You just have to pick from among the existing materials you have and put them together depending on the problem areas of the student. A teaching curriculum is usually composed of English conversation topics which may be used with or without a textbook. The basic conversation may also come as a supplement to the main lesson lesson.

Easy Progress Tracking

Upon conception of a lesson idea, you also need to consider the goals which it wants to achieve at the end of the class. The lesson material development process can’t be completed without this.

Since you know what your material is all about, you can easily assess the students’ progress without going into details. This is especially true if your lesson materials are designed on a proficiency- level basis. Thus a student who has been using your beginner’s material may find himself ready for the next level if he doesn’t struggle with the previous texts anymore. Students could get used to the kind of materials that you make. This makes the learning process easier and less stressful to the students which they already “feel at home”.

For experienced teachers though, they can easily asses the student’s level with or without the use of formal parameters.





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