sOne of the most important tools in teaching is the course materials. It comprises of many things such as course book, supplementary references, power points slide, worksheets, reading materials, lecture notes, visuals, games, tests, quizzes, and etc. This can be further divided into group exercises, paired exercises, project exercises, presentation materials, homework, and etc.
A teacher must be able to understand these tools for what they are, its uses and when best to practice them. Situations will arise when a teacher will have to adapt to students needs in changing the lesson plan and resorting to other course materials. Always a teacher should have more than one backup activity plan for each class. This will enable the teacher to best provide according to students requirements and be flexible. Students will gain more from this as learning becomes more dynamic.
Before starting a teacher should identify what equipments are available. This is to ensure the equipments capabilities and to utilize it effectively. If a teacher has power point slides but no computer or projector this will be pointless. Same goes for having B1 or C1 paper (bigger than A4 paper) with no board or sticky tape. It not only wastes the teacher’s time but is unproductive.
Planning not only servers as a record but also assists a teacher during the class. The lesson plan is useful for teachers to list out what materials to be brought, procedures in its phases (consistency), identifying problems, goals, solutions, and methods. Hence allowing the teacher to be well prepared, organized and to know what materials to be brought into class for example, pictures, color pencils, additional markers, puzzles, worksheets, and slides to name a few.
Course material can motivate students through a number of ways. Some students may like reading or writing exercise while others may like role playing and story building. Reading materials can be sourced from libraries, internet, newspapers and magazines. This is also the same for pictures, additional exercises and worksheets. Students should be encouraged to listen to the radio and television as a means to improve their listening and pronunciation. This can be in a form of homework. In order to cater to everyone needs these materials should be used appropriately to create an interest in students. Furthermore a teacher should be aware of what the students’ likes and dislikes and make it fun for all.
The materials used can be replaced, supplemented or adapted according to teacher’s knowledge and what he wants to impart to his students. The teacher then can use the course material effectively and efficiently.
Besides that, the course materials should be age appropriate. A teacher should not use materials that are not suitable, for example a young student will not need or be able to understand business terms, high end equipments and etc. The tools used should be more towards their requirements and matched according to their needs and interest.
Apart from that, there is a difference between beginner, intermediate and advance students. Materials used for these levels of students will vary. Beginner students will require pictures, paired exercises and games while advance students will require reading materials, presentation exercises, and writing exercises.
Furthermore, the materials used when teaching individual students and group student are different. When teaching group students they can be asked to produce a poster, brochure, and script out a dialogue for a role play which can be presented to the class (students can work in groups or in pairs). As for teaching individual students, the teacher will team up with the student for an activity, be able to use his laptop to show pictures or read articles and etc. The materials can be shared easily when teaching an individual student.
Following that, a teacher should understand the type of materials to use when teaching multilingual and monolingual students. In a multilingual class the materials used should be appropriate and not offend any students who are from diverse cultures. There are more issues and different problems faced by the multilingual students as each culture has their own difficulties in learning the english language. A teacher must be very observant to notice these problems and to deal with them. Monolingual classes are easier to tackle as the students come from the same background. Usually they all are facing the same problems. In the initial stages miming is useful to communicate with the students.
In conclusion, I feel that all teachers should take into consideration all these issues that have been mentioned to provide the best and most interesting lesson for the students. Personally, I learnt that course material serves as a vital tool for teachers. One has to understand its potentials clearly (its pros and cons) and utilize it efficiently.