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Deciding what course books and lesson materials are used can be a predicament for new teachers. Some teachers like to use course books and others prefer to create their own material. Unit 14 goes into the advantages and disadvantages of commercially supplied course materials versus authentic and teacher created class materials. Why should teachers use authentic materials? (authentic materials are not originally written for language students). * they are real life materials that can be more interesting and engaging. * can be geared to the students' interests. One disadvantage is that they are not designed for language students and may contain elements that are beyond the students' language level. However if students can overcome these difficulties they can boost their confidence. Another excellent source of teaching materials comes from the teacher. By tapping their artistic and creative abilities, a vast resource of interesting and innovative course materials are available for low cost. Examples of teacher created class materials are : * Crosswords * Word search puzzles * Role-play cards * Flashcards * Gap fill activities * Picture stories Of the many teacher-created materials detailed in this unit the most interesting (in my opinion) was the picture-based class discussion or creative writing. I think this is a great way to encourage creative writing or class discussion and also does not require too much preparation time. It is also interesting to compare how different stories are created even though the pictures shown are identical. Commercially provided course materials can include the teacher textbook, student textbook, workbook, cassettes, and videos. The teacher textbook usually contain instructions on how to teach the lessons, tests answer keys, and supplementary materials. Advantages of textbooks are : * expected by the students * does not require teacher to design syllabus and materials from scratch. * the textbook has been tested * teachers book can offer many good ideas for inexperienced teachers. * can be attractive and eye appealing * continually provides review practice as new items are introduced. Disadvantages of textbooks are : * not customized to specific class needs. * textbooks vary in quality and the teacher may not be able to choose the course book. * textbooks are usually not designed specifically for learners native language. * can be predictable and boring for the students. * can prevent teacher from addressing specific problems that students may have. Best practices for using textbooks are : * do not be enslaved to the course book a. do not use textbook for the entire lesson b. do not base all lessons around the textbook. c. omit, replace, supplement and adapt textbook material as needed. In some cases a teacher may be able to chose the course book. Deciding on a textbook can be a difficult process and teachers should take the following factors into consideration. * Price : may be beyond student means. * Availability : may be unavailable in some countries and locations. * Progression : logical presentation of concepts and material. steady progression in difficulty. * Supplementary Materials : readily available and not exorbitantly priced. * Design : attractive and well thought out. * Methodology : coordinates with teaching methods and style. * Skills : mix and balance of skills (reading, writing listening and speaking). * Difficulty : is appropriate for your students language level. * Topic : choice of topics should be relevant varied and interesting. * Ancillary Materials : includes all workbooks, audio cassettes, videos, and CD ROMs.