Type: Review
Pages: 3 | Words: 755
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Brian Tomlinson in his book Materials Development in Language Teaching collected chapters written by different professionals in order to investigate and elaborate the topic that has become a big concern to the English language teachers. “A Framework for Materials Writing” by David Jolly and Rod Bolito is one of the chapters that provide the reader with some specific details concerning the process of material writing. Moreover, it offers a several-step diagram and examples of its implementation.

The authors of the chapter state that in spite of the big variety of textbooks for the English language learners, none of them can fully satisfy their expectations. Students have different needs, which they want to be met when taking language lessons. Some of them need to practice the authentic language, while others require specific vocabulary to use. Moreover, teachers and students may find that certain grammatical topics presented inappropriately in textbooks, which makes the material hard to explain and understand. The authors express the idea that it is not enough to rely only on one textbook all the time. Making some linguistic explorations is essential for those teachers who want their students to improve successfully.

The authors provide the reader with an example from Developing Strategies by Abbs and Freebrain in order to prove the notion that sometimes exercises offered in textbooks do not fulfill pedagogical realization. It happens when an exercise does not provide students with an effective practice. What is more, practice based on such tasks can become a waste of time. Providing exercises with simple and clear instructions is another essential thing for pedagogical realization. It means that students will not spend extra time on understanding how to perform a certain task. Judging from the numerous complaints from learners and teachers, they often are not satisfied with their textbooks because exercises offered there can be difficult or boring. Furthermore, the material of most books sometimes is based on topics, which do not suit cultural background of students. All this makes the process of learning complicated and routine. Therefore, the authors provide the reader with the reasons why the process of materials developing is an essential part of teacher’s work.

David Jolly and Rod Bolito further express and prove the necessity of materials writing. The researchers offer a diagram, which includes several steps to accomplish the process. They also emphasize that the diagram does not cover all aspects of the technique, especially its dynamic and self-regulating features. What is more, it fails to include the step of objective evaluation of materials created by a teacher and corrections for spontaneous decisions made during a lesson. The given diagram is based only on the things happening in the classroom between the teacher and his/her students, which stimulate him/her to materials writing. Firstly, according to the authors, the members of the teaching process should identify the need to create the new materials. After that, the teacher has to make a certain research in order to find out what exactly can fulfill the students’ expectations. The authors call the step exploration. The next step is contextual realization, during which the teacher tries to come up with proper ideas and find the texts or contexts suitable to work with on the basis of exploration. To accomplish the following stage, pedagogical realization, the teacher needs to create his/her own exercises based on the ideas and findings of the previous step. The last is physical reproduction, which implies typing and printing learning materials, which were created. In the next figure the authors add that the stages included in the diagram can be completed in a different order and that there is a need of evaluation of the process by the teacher’s colleagues. The authors also offer two cases to demonstrate the algorithm of the diagram in practice. In the first case, students have troubles with understanding the hypothetical meaning in the English language. The teacher responds by looking for the ideas of how to explain the topic in another textbook, create exercises, produce worksheets and work with them in class. After that, he gets the feedback from his students. In the second example, some stages of the diagram are missed, and the whole process differs, because in this case students’ needs are different.

David Jolly and Rod Bolito finish their research by making the conclusion that material writing is a sufficient part of the whole learning process. In order to accomplish it with the maximum result and use for students, a teacher must realize their needs and have a good educational background and training in materials writing.

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