At some point in our TEFL careers, we all take the plunge and decide it’s time to make our own worksheet or supplementary activity. However, creating our own TEFL material isn’t as plain sailing as it might at first seem. There are several issues that may actually prove to be quite disadvantageous when compared to using professionally published resources. In this blog, I will look at the challenges of using your own TEFL material and I will provide you with free resources to help you improve your TEFL methods!
The Challenges of Using Authentic Material:
The road to the truly effective self-made resource is full of pitfalls. For instance, while course books maintain a level of organization around particular controlling principles, a teacher’s own work may lack overall coherence, leading to poorly focused activities which lack clear direction and can frustrate your learners. What’s more, TEFL teachers have to have the organizational skills required to store and manage the great resources we’ve prepared. It’s all too easy to lose our work before we get the chance to reuse it.
In addition to the need for organization, there’s the issue of quality. Things that quickly negate the effectiveness of any self-made TEFL material include grammatical or spelling errors, poorly constructed activities, a lack of clarity in layout and print, and, just as importantly, a lack of durability in terms of long-term usefulness. A further factor could be a lack of experience and understanding on the part of the teacher resulting in important elements being left out or inadequately covered. Typically, issues include a poor choice of text, or unclear instructions for learners in terms of how to use the material.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is time. However passionately we may believe in the advantages of teacher-designed materials, the reality is that for many of us it is simply not viable to make our own materials, at least not all the time.
Despite the many things that potentially hold us back, we shouldn’t be deterred from making our own TEFL materials, especially when we remember all the advantages that doing so can offer us. Read: The Advantages of Creating Your Own Material