The Importance Of Materials For Course Success

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Material selection is a hard task for teachers, which cannot be neglected. The inappropriate selection may lead to difficulties in coursebook implementation or even to course failure. This paper examines the importance of adapting materials to fit specific situations. It also explores a specific case of a fourth-grade group at a state run school in the southern area of Buenos Aires which showed diminution of interest as the end of the year approached. It is likely that the material that was selected did not match students' and teacher's expectations. Why is this likely? A possible solution to this issue would be the creation of a booklet which would contemplate students' needs and expectation, as well as the teacher's goals and objectives. In order to do so an empirical evaluation of the current material along with an analysis of student's needs will be carried out to obtain objective information.

Introduction.

Many aspects may hinder the teaching- learning situation of a second language at state run schools in Buenos Aires and among them the wrong selection of course books appears to be a reason for teachers' failure to achieve their expectations and goals, as well as students´ diminution of interest and eagerness to learn by using the material chosen. Therefore, the aim of this project is to produce a booklet to cater for students' needs and fulfill teacher's expectations and goals. I really do not think you can justify your project on your assumption that teachers in the province of Buenos Aires do not choose appropriate materials for their courses. Please re-think this.

This project was driven by the need to create a booklet to keep students initial positive attitude towards the learning of a second language and to fulfill teacher's goals, expectation and fit her teaching style. This mismatch between what was offered by the book and what was expected from it was made evident through classroom observation. Not enough evidence, I'm afraid.

It has to be highlighted that this situation was not shown during the first months. As the students were learning English for the first time, the input provided by the workbook "Get Set Go 1" by Lawday, Cathy seemed suitable, but as students were gaining knowledge the progression required by the book seemed to be slower than the one demanded by the teacher and students.

It can be hypothesized from the scenario described above that this modification in students' and teacher's attitude may be due to the central role given to the book, which had been wrongly selected. How do you know?

Selecting books is a complex task, many aspects have to be ranked according to the relevance they have in the teaching-learning situation. Unluckily in this specific situation financial viability was considered as the prominent one because of the extremely low socio-economic status of the students who attend classes at that school.

Among the array of factors that were not regarded as priorities, teacher's expectation and teaching styles could be found.Turn this sentence into the active voice. It should be noted that the relationship between the teacher and the coursebook is extremely important, consequently that could be the reason why disappointment was experienced as the end of the year approached, and supplementation or adaptation of material became almost substitution??. Despite the teacher's willingness to select the most appropriate material, lack of working experience in challenging and problematic environments made the task even more complicated.

Once the workbook was implemented, the students' attitude towards it moved from total approval to reduction of acceptance and lack of attachment.??? The appropriacy of the material used can only be evaluated while it is being used or after that period (Sheldon, 1988, p. 245). Therefore teacher's predictions about the usefulness of the workbook was refuted.

Current literature suggests that as coursebooks are designed for a general audience finding the appropriate book for a specific group is a big challenge for teacher since meeting all the requirements seems to be an almost impossible task.

Tomlinson (2002) and Cunningworth (1984 as cited in Inal, 2006, p.22) maintain that no cousebook will fully fit each particular teaching situation. The authors agree that there is no perfect book to fulfill the needs and expectations of teachers' and students'. Although Cunningworth clearly explains that teachers have to find the way of using and adapting the coursebook chosen, Tomslinson would agree that coursebooks are tools, but they only act in this way if teachers give them life, finding the best fit between students' and teacher's needs and what the coursebook has to offer.

In further support of this idea, Graves (2000) compared coursebooks to a musical instrument, in this case a piano. "The piano provides you with the means for producing music, but it cannot produce music on its own. The music is produced only when you play it. […]. Just as the piano does not play music, a textbook does not teach language" (as cited in Bülent, 2006, p.28) .The role of teacher is clearly stated since they are the ones who produce this music using coursebooks as instruments. Both have to work together.

Much literature and research has focused on the advantages of adaptation and supplementation of materials. It has also been studied the benefits of implementing coursebooks designed for specific courses. As teachers have wider knowledge of the reality in which they are going to be used, it is thought teachers' home-produced material may fit the teaching-learning situation more easily.

Since adaptation seems to be an indispensable process for successful course implementation, the aim of the project will be designing a booklet for a specific group taking into account students' socio-cultural background, interest, ages, level of proficiency and needs. Furthermore, teaching expectations, aims, and teaching styles will be also considered.

Tomlinson (2002) referred to "home produced" course book, stating the following:

If it is well-produced, stands a much greater chance of success locally simply because the authors are more aware of the needs of learners in that context, and are able to design the materials in such a way as to fit in with their own learning and teaching traditions, and with the conceptual world of learners. (p.111)

The ultimate goal of this project is to create a booklet of personal significance for the students to maximize the input they receive during the English lessons. Therefore, grading, pacing and sequencing as well as familiarization with the topic will be issues of great concern. The booklet will try to facilitate and encourage self discovery, and develop confidence without simplification.

In order to gather objective information a questionnaire taking as reference Sheldon's (1988) criteria on evaluation of ELT textbooks was designed to put the workbook "Get Set Go1" under analysis. Furthermore, in order to collect data about the students' preferred topics and types of activities, a needs analysis questionnaire will be produced. the process of designing the booklet will be based on the results and material would be profitable for that group of students to produce in that way a better environment in which students can develop their second language learning process. no. You don't know this.

Delimitations

The project is aimed at a fourth-grade group who attends classes at a state run school in the southem area of Buenos Aires. As in many state run schools this is the first year they learn English. They have two running periods once a week, but as they have breakfast at school, it leaves just 75 minutes of English lessons per week.

It is a fairly homogeneous group from a very low socio-economic background. Most of them showed this diminution of interest as the year went by, stating that the book was too childish for them.

Limitations

One of the limitations of this project may be the low socio economic status of the students who attend classes at this state run school. This may lead to restrictions in relation to the numbers of copies used in the booklet, and the fact of not using colour to get clear copies. This may lead to the challenge of producing attractive material without using colour as a resource.

Limitations may be also due to parents' lack of interest and involvement in school matters. This welfarist school provides food, school objects, trainers and even books which students use during the lessons. So some parents may feel reluctant to buy material for the English classes. Moreover, English seems not to be as important as it is, this can happen due to social beliefs and cultural values that have to be worked out. Re-write.

Finally it can be highlighted that even though "home-produced" coursebooks seem to be the best option to create the proper material for that group, lack of time is one limitation that is even more evident when teachers work at several courses with different needs. Whose lack of time?

Conclusion

It is a very challenging project because it demands a lot of time to carry out research, adapt and create material.This does not make a project challenging. Limitations can make the task harder as there are many factors that have to be taken into account so that the community accepts this project.

Despite all these drawbacks, it is the teacher's task to make the material accessible to all the students, so as to generate positive feelings towards this foreign language, and help them discover not only a different language, but also a different culture. You did not mention these last two aims before.

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