For those of us who decide to take the plunge and develop our own TESOL worksheets, there are numerous factors to take into consideration. In addition to issues such as authenticity and the importance of contextualization, one factor that we must never forget is the physical appearance of our material. Given that the criteria for evaluating course books frequently include reference to the ‘look’ and the ‘feel’ of the resource, it seems that such criteria that are also pertinent to materials that we design ourselves. This post examines the most important factors in producing an appealing piece of work that your learners will love.
Making Your TESOL Material Look Impressive
As in almost every facet of life, first impressions count for a great deal in the language classroom. Basically, your self-made materials need to be fairly good to look at! The main things that are going to influence this are as follows:
- The amount of the text on the page
- Understandable instructions
- The size of fonts used
- The cohesiveness and consistency of the layout
- Adequate visual stimuli
Your learners will want to understand the point of the worksheet immediately, so don’t hide it among paragraphs of text, or in a ridiculously small font. Make your layout clear to follow and use enough pictures to aid contextualization.
Read: Developing Handouts
Make Your Material User-Friendly
Remember: a human being is going to use this TESOL material, so is it up to scratch? Consider these examples
- If you’ve created a gap-fill exercise, is there enough space for learners to actually write their answers?
- If an oral response is required during a voice recording exercise, have you given enough time to allow for both thinking and responding?
The easiest way to check for potential problems is to do the exercise yourself when you think the worksheet is ready. Better still; get a colleague to do it as if they were a learner.