Unit 25. Selection and use of teaching aids

The resources available in the classroom, the teaching aids are extremely useful for language teaching purposes. Each of them, however, should have an aim. We, as teachers, need to carefully select the ones that will actually foster learning.

dvd playerin-focus projectorflipchartrealia

computer software

interactive board, whiteboard

language laboratory (Self Access Centre)



and the teacher him/herself!!!

All of these aids can be used for many different purposes. Can you think of different aims for each aid?

Think about the aids you use most often. What learner characteristics make some aids more successful than others in different classes?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using technical equipment in the classroom? watch these.

Which aids are the most motivating for young learners?

UNIT 24. Selection and use of supplementary materials and activities

How do we select and use supplementary materials and activities?

Well, first, we need to think on reasons why we need to use supplementary materials and activities. Think also about advantages and disadvantages of using the following:

Graded Readers:

Skills practice books:

Teacher’s resource books:

Websites, Videoclips,

Language Practice books:

Electronic MaterialsGames.

Some of the reasons might be:

to replace unsuitable material in the coursebook

to fill gaps in the coursebook

to provide suitable material for learners’ particular needs and interests

to give learners extra language or skills practice

to add variety to our teaching

How is it that we select the materials and activities?

Well, first of all, we need to use what is available in your school/language institute. Take into account the AIMS of particular lessons, to match them with the supplementary materials. Also, analyse what SKILLS or subskills the activities are aimed at practicing.

Consider using AUTHENTIC MATERIAL, since they motivate more. After all, they are pieces of REAL English.

Some materials may need to be adapted to your groups’ needs.

Games and extra communicative activities can provide variety and make learning FUN!

Whenever you have supplementary activities, you need to ask yourself:

what level it is suitable for

what you think the aims are

what should be prepared in advance

if it focuses on particular language.

Choose two or three supplementary activities you have used recently. Make notes on the changes you would need to make to use the material at different levels.

Unit 23. Selection and Use of Coursebook Materials

In trying to select the materials that best fit the needs of the group to be taught, teachers normally make use of a coursebook package (student’s book, teacher’s book, workbook, extra activities book, DVDs, etc). Teachers then ask questions on how to make use of the materials available.

What to do if the materials do not meet the students needs?

Well, substitute the materials for other materials that focus on the same content, or adapt the materials available, as to fit the students’ needs and enrich them.

How can we adapt the materials available?

If the students need more practice, we can add more tasks/exercises to the existing ones, complement them with extra copies or with an online exercise, in case students have access to internet.

On the contrary, if there is not much time left, and it is taking too long for students to finish, the teacher may opt for skipping/omitting certain tasks. Remember the focus is for students to learn, not to teach every single aspect of a book necessarily.

If the task does not suit the students’ learning styles, you may change the form of the task by changing the interaction patterns, or doing a written exercise orally.

If you can see that the task if either too easy or too difficult for students, you might want to change the level of the task.

If you feel the sequence of the coursebook does not fit the sequence needed by the group, reorder the material to fit the groups’ needs.

If you see that your students still need further practice with a particular structure or item, make use of all the resources in the book, meaning the extra material, the photocopiable material, the progress tests, the workbook, extra listening exercises and web-site based tasks. There’s plenty to practice!

Personalize your teaching by personalizing the use of the coursebook. Teachers do not follow the coursebook exactly as it is, since it was designed at a general, international level. Modify its pace, make it Paraguayan style, tailor it based on your learners’ needs.


Select a unit from a coursebook. Answer the questions from the first paragraph of this text. In what way would you need to adapt the material?


Unit 22. Consulting reference resources to help in lesson preparation

Reference resources include reference materials. They also include people (teacher colleagues). We consult reference resources by knowing where we can find the information we need and how to find it.

How do we check the form and use of grammatical structures?

How do we check spelling, pronunciation and use of lexical items?

With bilingual or monolingual dictionaries

How do we develop our own understanding of language?

How do we anticipate learners’ difficulties?

Look for books/articles about learners’ errors, language problems or L1 interference.

How do we look for new approaches to teaching lessons and new classroom activities?

With supplementary materials (that you can use in addition to your textbook). Teachers websites.

How do we find out how to use the material in our coursebook?

 Normally, teacher’s books provide suggestions about how to use the material in the coursebook.

How do we get advice about particular lessons or teaching materials?

 Colleagues who have taught at the same level or used the same teaching materials may be able to offer useful advice.

Take a look at the following resources. Which of them are

Language reference resources?

Ideas for planning lessons?

Resources for teachers and learners producing their own materials

Materials for very young learners

What were the reference resources you used when you were studying English? Do they still help you?

More on Resources 1, 2

Unit 21. Choosing assessment activities

Assessment means collecting information about learner’s performance in order to make judgements about their learning.

What main types of assessment are there?
Read unit 17 again.
We can find two main categories though. formal and informal assessment.

What are the differences between formal and informal assessment? Think of the differences in terms of tasks, marking and purpose.

What are the features of formal assessment?

Objective tasks with single answers (multiple-choice questions, matching task, true/false questions) that are easy to mark.

Adding variety to the assessment activities will ensure reaching most students’ styles. There are a number of assessment techniques, which when combined, provided accurate assessment.

We also need to take into account age and level of learners to be assessed. Content that is too difficult or too abstract should be avoided with young learners, for example.

What are the features of informal assessment?

Do you think it is important for the students to know that we are evaluating them?

Of course it is. We need to make sure they know they are being evaluated. The amount of assessment will depend on a number of factors, such as age, level, amount of students and frequency of formal evaluation.

How can we evaluate productive skills (see lesson 4-6) in a large class? well, one way would be evaluating them by smaller groups in different lessons. Using rubrics really help assessing productive skills.

Receptive skills are usually evaluated with objective tests.

Evaluation should be fun: we can evaluate knowledge through games or other fun activities, and providing feedback afterwards.

If we want to get attitudinal evaluation, we could evaluate students’ motivation or effort by observing them or by talking to them.


Which assessment task is it suitable for your students? Do you add variety of tasks and are the these suitable for your students age, level and interests?


Further Reading:

12 & 3


  1. Look at the next three units in your coursebook. What opportunities are there for informal assessment?
  2. Check the technical terms of this lesson in the glossary.