Material Development

· @tasali · ELAN453, Week 3-1

The Context of Evaluation examines how the process of choosing materials, and grading the learners works and how a teacher could do it.

Understanding who your learners are and what drives to learn while knowing what you can or cannot do could be important for effective teaching.

This entry will study the following topics;

  • Evaluating teaching materials is important for EFL teachers

  • Why teachers need to evaluate materials

  • What are the criteria in the process of material evaluation

  • External evaluations of materials

  • Internal evaluation of materials

  • How materials that the author claims will match up the aims of a giving teaching program

What Are the Evaluation Materials?

  • Tomlinson’s (2003c) definition: Materials evaluation is a procedure that involves measuring the value (or potential value) of a set of learning materials.

  • Choosing materials by a teacher

  • Relevant and appropriate materials

  • Satisfy the expectations of students

The Nature of Evaluation Process

  • To select open-market materials

  • Materials that are given by the Ministry of Education

To Choose Open-market Materials

  • Teachers may have quite a large amount of choice in the materials they select

  • Being able to liaise freely with colleagues

  • To select the best coursebook among hundreds of materials is challenging.

Materials Given by Ministry of Education

  • Limiting materials

  • Try to use them effectively for students

  • Keep up with the materials with new developments

  • There are teachers who do no have a choice at all.

  • Today there is a wealth of EFL material available

  • Lots of materials means more effort for evaluation

  • ELT Journal

  • A Book I’ve Used in Modern English Teacher

  • English Teaching Professional

  • TESOL Journal

  • Choosing coursebooks is a professional and financial pressure

  • Textbooks for years to come

  • Visible representation of what happens in the classroom

  • Thornbury advocates teacher independence from coursebooks

  • Masuhara (2006) uses an example of an adaptation process that involves the use of self-developed evaluation criteria. She demonstrates how teachers can deepen their critical and creative awareness required for developing principled materials through adaptation.

A model for teachers;

  • To choose materials

  • Keep up them to date with current developments.

Two Stages of Criteria

  • External Evaluation
    • cover
    • introduction
    • table of contents
  • Internal Evaluation
    • more detailed

The External Evaluation

A comprehensive, external overview of how the materials have been organized.

  • the blurb, or the claims made on the cover of the teacher’s or student’s book

  • the introduction and table of contents

“It asks questions about what the materials contain, what they aim to achieve and what they ask learners to do.” (Tomlinson, 1999: 10)

“… an integrated skills series which is designed to offer flexibility with different teaching and learning styles. Fun for learners to use and easy for teachers to adapt…” (Jeremy Hammer, 2007)

  • Fully integrated grammar, skills and lexical syllabuses provide a balanced learning experience.

  • Engaging topics motivate students and offer greater personalization.

  • A wide range of approaches exploit different learning styles.

  • Clearly structured grammar presentations are reinforced with extensive practice.

  • A variety of listening and speaking activities develop learning fluency.

  • Learner training throughout the Student’s book and Workbook.

  • Tasks and activities are designed to have a real communicative purpose rather than simply being an excuse to practice specific features.

  • We have placed a special emphasis on representing an accurate multicultural view of English as it is spoken today. Many courses still represent the English-speaking world as being largely UK and US-based. Considering the fact that there are now more non-native English speakers than native, we have also included a variety of accents from a wide range of countries and cultures.

  • Throughout the Student’s Book, learner autonomy is promoted via clear cross-referencing to features in the Workbook and elsewhere. Here students can find all the help and extra practice they need.

Section 2 of the External Evaluation begins here presented by Ms. Özsayıner.

Information That Can Be Obtained from External Evaluation

  1. The intended audience
  2. The proficiency level
  3. The context in which the materials are to be used
  4. How the language has been presented and organized into teachable units or lessons

Teachable unit issue is important. For the final the project we will prepare, the things should be in parts suitable for the age group we are targeting. (Mr. Tunaz)

  1. The author’s views on language & methodology

Overview of Some Typical Blurbs

  1. Globalized world, using information-rich topics and texts, English as international language.
  2. Comprehensive interactive digital components, extra listening video material and online practice.
  3. Natural, real-world grammar and vocabulary, social, professional and academic settings.
  4. Goals-based course for adults, use English independently for global communication.

Considerable Factors

  1. Are the materials to be used as the main course or to be supplementary?
  2. Is a teacher’s book in print and locally available?
  3. Is a vocabulary list or index included?
  4. What visual material does the book contain?
  5. Is the layout and presentation clear or cluttered?
  6. Do the materials represent minority groups and women in a negative way?

The Internal Evaluation

The next stage of our evaluation procedure by performing an in-depth investigation into the materials;

  1. To analyze the extent to which the aforementioned factors in the external evaluation stage match up with the internal consistency and organization of the materials as we saw in the previous section.

  2. In order to perform an effective internal inspection of the materials, we need to examine at least two units of a book or set of materials to investigate the following factors;

Factors for Material Investigation

Presentation of the Skills in Covered the Materials

We may want to investigate if all the language skills are, in what proportion, and if this proportion is appropriate to the context in which we are working. Are the skills treated discretely or in an integrated way? If they are integrated, is this integration natural?

The Grading and Sequencing of the Materials

This criterion is an important one and merits some investigation as it is not always patently clear what the principle is. Some materials are quite steeply graded while others claim to have no grading at all. Sometimes the grading of the materials will be within the unit, other materials will be graded across units allowing a progression of difficulty in a linear fashion. Other materials claim to be modular by grouping a set of units at approximately the same level.

We have to investigate the extent to which we think this is true, and how such a book would suit our learners!

Where Reading/Discourse Skills Are Involved, Is There Much in The Way of Appropriate Text Beyond The Sentence?

As teachers we sometimes find that materials provide too much emphasis on skills development and not enough opportunity for students to learn to use those skills on extended reading passages.

Where Listening Skills Are Involved, Are Recordings Authentic or Artificial?

We need to ascertain whether or not dialogues have been specially written, thereby missing the essential features of spontaneous speech.

Do Speaking Materials Incorporate what We Know about the Nature of Real Interaction or Are Artificial Dialogues Offered Instead?

This title may not actually be here

The Relationship of Tests and Exercises to (1) Learner Needs and (2) What Is Thought by The Course Material?

Where these are included as part of the materials, we need to see if they are appropriate in context.

Is the Material Suitable for Different Learning Styles?

Is a claim and provision made for self-study and is such a claim justified* With the growth of interest in independent learning and learner autonomy, many materials will claim that self-study modes are also possible.

Are the Materials Engaging to Motivate Both Students and Teachers Alike, or Would You Foresee Student/Teacher Mismatch?

Some materials may seem attractive for the teacher but would not be very motivating for the learners. A balance therefore has to be sought. At this stage, it is also useful to consider how the materials may guide and frame teacher-learner interaction and the teacher-learner relationship.

Rubdy (2003: 45) proposes 3 broad categories that are essential for evaluation:

  1. The learners’ needs, goals and pedagogical requirements.
  2. The teacher’s skills, abilities, theories and beliefs.
  3. The thinking underlying the materials writer’s presentation of the content and approach to teaching an learning respectively.
As a Conclusion

The treatment and presentation of the skills, the sequencing and grading of the materials, the type of reading, listening, speaking and writing materials contained in the materials, appropriateness of tests and exercises, self-study provision and teacher-learner balance in use of the materials.

The Overall Evaluation

There are 4 key features;

  1. The usability factor
  2. The generalizability factor
  3. The adaptibility factor
  4. The flexibility factor

The Usability Factor

How far the materials could be integrated into the syllabus as core or supplementary.

The Generalizability Factor

  • Some core features make materials generally useful.
  • Few materials may be not useful.

The Adaptability Factor

If some parts of the material can be added/extracted/used in other context.

The Flexibility Factor

  • Determine how flexible the sequencing and grading (arranging).
  • Activities should be with multiple options.

Once materials have been deemed appropriate for use on a particular course, we must bear in mind that their ultimate success or failure can only be determined after trying them in the classroom with real learners.

Post-use Evaluation

Post-use evaluation is the least explored but is potentially the most informative as it can provide information on not only the short-term effects but also those of durable learning.


  • 2 stages, external and internal
  • Initial selection
  • Different factors