DIY Materials

Thanks to Dr. Christian Jones for bouncing ideas around and Michael Griffin for the “nudge”.

Longtime readers know that I am no fan of coursebooks. However, making your own materials can be fraught with danger, usually a typo that you hadn’t caught.

Here is a short Padlet about things to consider when you do it. (Thanks Vedrana Vojkovic for Padlet help. Feel free to add to it, everyone.)

Why do it though?

Books don’t fit every learner. You know your learners, the people in publishing don’t. They know learners.

Books don’t cover half of the things you want to cover. You don’t only teach tense, aspect, modals and conditionals. Adjacency (appropriate/expected responses), backchannelling, fillers, weak forms and other aspects of connected speech are rarely covered in coursebooks. You are also unlikely to cut up pages of books (though a nice resource book is a beautiful thing). Even if you don’t want to ditch your coursebook you might need to supplement it to make sure it suits your learners.

If you have something already, it’s easier to modify than a book spread. You can edit a PowerPoint on your phone these days; getting the Tippex and scissors out first thing on a Monday is a pain.

Any glaring omissions?


4 thoughts on “DIY Materials

  1. Other reasons I make my own:
    – our teaching is blocked into terms, and you can rarely finish a whole textbook in a term, which makes student reluctant to buy it
    – if I’m using a textbook (very rarely!), I feel under pressure to get through it and use it as much as possible, so that everyone gets their money’s worth! Stress!
    – There just aren’t any books I’ve come across that have everything in that I would like to cover, or at the right level.
    – Students can forget to bring their textbooks, but if I bring along worksheets everyone has one!
    – I can just generally teach better when I’ve developed my own materials and thought through how everything can work in the classroom!

    Just my tuppence worth! 🙂


  2. Hi Marc,
    It’s great to see the Padlet link was helpful! I’ve bookmarked your Padlet and am planning to come back and add to it. It already looks like a very useful resource – I hope more people contribute ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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