Monthly Archives: April 2012

Original framework for materials evaluation

At the beginning of our current module on materials design we were asked to come up with a draft framework for evaluating teaching materials. We think it is important to put this original framework up on the blog, albeit rather late, in order to provide a point of reference for the changes that have taken place in our thinking during the course of the module. This is our original framework based on frameworks from Tomlinson, McGrath and Cunningsworth.

KEY ISSUES WHEN EVALUATING COURSE BOOKS

David & Alex

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Video

The enormous possibilities and implications of the use of video by language teachers has always fascinated me. It has been great sharing ideas with Alex and letting our imaginations loose.

That is the joy of using these new technologies, one seems to come up with an idea and there seems to be a technological tool to complement it. I am very interested in Schumann’s acculturation model (Schumann, 1978) and the apparent positive effects that acculturation can have on motivation and self-esteem amongst second language learners. With this in mind I have created a YouTube channel called Culture Vultures which we will use to publish videos of local culture. We will start with Brighton but ultimately the idea is for students to contribute their own videos to this channel thus building up a cultural video database that students can consult before they go to study in a particular country or location. The idea is to show a more quirky side to places in addition to the normal monuments and landmarks that can be found. The aim is to provide visual talking stimuli for students in the foreign language which is both relevant and interesting.

We also have another 2 video channels that we have created for CAE materials and outlooks on life. These video channels are aimed principally at more Advanced students of English and ,in particular, those studying for Cambridge main suite exams. With these videos we aim to give student’s interesting stimuli for practicing speaking in the main areas focused on in those exams.

Video is important in that it contextualises language and can be used as a collaborative tool both in it’s making and in it’s exploitation in a pedagogic setting. We will be adding more to the video channels in the coming weeks, here is the link to Culture Vultures.

David

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-Reflection on the Development of Ideas for Materials-

Like most ELT practitioners when watching television, reading newspapers or magazines, using the internet or listening to the radio, ideas usually for supplementary materials often ‘jump out’. In each case, I generally make a mental note, but if the idea appears to be particularly useful, I have straight away worked on the idea and material to make it ‘lesson ready’.  

During the development of an idea for materials using Voicethread centred around logos and signs, the very act of walking around and looking for suitable examples to photograph has changed my perspective as a teacher. Similar to the practice mentioned above, now whilst walking around in town or journeying from A to B, everyday objects, signs and locations now also seem to jump out as possible starting points for learning materials. At present, I’m quite hooked on signs, notices and logos, which can be used to stimulate a variety of topics in class. Below are some photos that I recently took of signs and notices in Hastings, including shots further away in each case to illustrate the context further.

All of these appear to have both negative and positive connotations, which would be interesting to explore within a lesson. Students could then go into town and find further examples themselves. In some cases, they might not understood fully what the signs, logos or notices are trying to communicate that they photograph, and once back in class these could then act as items of both language and cultural learning (acculturation), to be further unpacked and interpreted.

Alex

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