LCTL > Developing Materials

Unit 1: Using Written Texts, Part A

The study of how second language learners approach reading has shown convincingly that when language learners read a text, if left to their own devices (without a teacher to direct them otherwise), they focus first on the meaning of the text, not its form. In other words, they try to extract information from the text concerning its content, and do not initially pay special attention to grammar or vocabulary. This is in striking contrast to what teachers often do with written texts in classrooms—beginning with a detailed study of the vocabulary and grammar of the text, and only later moving on to what it is about—that is, reading it as a text.

Before you watch:

What teaching materials are currently available in the language or languages you teach?
What kinds of learning activities are used in these materials?
What might be the advantages of creating your own materials for your classroom?

After you watch:

What are “raw materials”? Can you think of a few examples of raw materials in the language you teach, which you might think of using in your classroom?
What kinds of activities might go well with these materials?

Do you agree with Bill when he says that there is no perfect way to use materials? (This is really another way of saying that there is no perfect method for teaching a language.) If there is no perfect way, how do we know whether the materials and activities we use in the classroom are effective? What kinds of evidence tell us one way or the other? What principles guide us as teachers?

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