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Creating MaterialsLesson materials are both fun to create and rewarding. They benefit both the teacher and the students, and well-designed materials contribute greatly to the success of a lesson or course. Benefits to the Teacher When creating materials for a lesson, teachers are forced to ? review the topic and make sure they master it ? research the topic for additional understanding or different ways in which it can be explained ? consult a variety of sources for activities and teaching ideas ? better observe the objectives of the lesson ? keep learning! Students benefit from the use of materials because materials help make concepts more intuitive, they relate the teaching material to real life situations, add variety to lessons and stimulate interest. Effective Teaching Materials In order for teaching materials to be effective, they must be 1. suitable for the age group taught 2. relevant to the topic 3. in line with the learning objectives, and 4. user-friendly. 1. Suitability for the Age Group Materials differ according to the age group your students belong to. Pre-school and young school children will need mostly toys, shapes, cards, things that are colorful and things they can touch. Young people will relate well to videos and materials that challenge their creative side. Adult learners will respond well to a variety of materials, but some of them will prefer written exercises and PowerPoint presentations. 2. Relevance to the Topic Materials must follow the content of the topic you are teaching. For example, when teaching the Present Continuous, you may want to create fill the gap exercises, not crossword puzzles. It is a great idea to create materials to support every sequence of your lesson. In the previous example, teaching the Present Continuous, you would first teach how it is formed, so you may have a ?Complete the Chart? sheet, where the students have to insert the correct elements of the Present Continuous form of a certain verb; secondly, you would teach the usage of the tense, so you may come up with a fill the gap exercise; finally, in the activate stage you may want to have role-play scenario cards to hand out to the groups in the class. For a vocabulary lesson where names of objects are taught, picture cards are highly recommended and also word searches. 3. Alignment to the Learning Objectives When creating materials you must ask yourself if they support the learning objectives of the lesson. Some of the questions you may want to ask yourself are, ?What skill does this material support?? ?Is the material length appropriate to represent enough practice?? ?Are the conditions and performance clear?? As a negative example, a worksheet where the student has to circle the subject and the verb in a group of sentences would not support the objective of being able to write a description of your favorite vacation spot. 4. User-Friendliness In order to be effective, materials have to be clear, easy to understand, clean and attractive. Instructions have to be easy to read and concise. Compare this: ?In the underlined spaces below, choose the correct word from the list provided at the bottom of the page and write it in.? with this: ?Fill in the blanks with the correct word from the list provided.? What Materials Can You Create? I think it is fair to say that, when it comes to creating materials for teaching english, the sky is the limit. Technology and the availability of all kinds of materials (i.e. paper, craft materials, play back and recording devices, photocopy machines, scanners, computers, software, internet and books) in the countries where most of the EFL teachers come from makes it easy and interesting to create materials and customize materials for every class you teach. Here is a non-exhaustive list: ? Job aids ? Fill the gap and other paper-based exercises ? Crossword puzzles, word searches ? Cartoons ? Posters ? Jigsaw puzzles ? Laminated cards, cue cards ? Charts ? Recorded dialogues ? Video clips ? Workbooks ? Online quizzes and interactive practice modules, simulations ? Stage sets, masks and other props The more materials you integrate into your teaching, the more successful you will be in reaching your outcomes. And the good news, nay, the great news, is that you will have an enormous amount of fun.