Materials Development for EIL Learners

Materials Development for EIL Learners

Evaluating, Adapting and Developing Materials for Learners of English as an International Language

Brian Tomlinson, 2019


I often say that every teacher is a materials developer. Some teachers say that they are not materials developers because they have had no training and they rely on experts to develop their materials for them.

Yet those same teachers every day use their coursebook in a slightly different way from other teachers and from what the writers intended. For example, they decide on a particular focus, they spend more time on one section than another, they miss out activities, they add examples and sometimes even activities, they make changes to instructions and they even supplement the materials by bringing in photos, by telling stories, by talking about themselves, by showing clips from YouTube and by adding activities. They are materials developers.

This book is for you, the teacher who might not have had any training in materials development but who is in the best position to develop materials for your learners. You know your learners, you know what they can and cannot do, you know what they need and want and above all you know who they are. You are the expert, not somebody sitting at a desk in London, New York or Sydney.

In writing this book, I have in mind teachers whose learners do not need to speak or write English like a native speaker and will probably never live in an English speaking country.  But they might need to communicate in English with both native and non-native speakers face to face, on the phone and on social media and they might need to read books, articles, letters or e-mails written by native or non-native speakers of English.

It is a fact that most users of English in the world are non-native speakers of English and most interactions in English are between non-native speakers. We need to keep this in mind when evaluating, adapting and developing materials.

What this book aims to do is to help you to evaluate materials, to select materials, to adapt materials and to develop materials for your learners and your institution and maybe for your Ministry of Education and a publisher too.

The book consists of information, advice, examples and tasks. Many of the tasks just ask you to think for yourself but some ask you to actually evaluate, adapt and develop materials. It is best to do these tasks with colleagues so that you can discuss your views and monitor each other’s work. But the tasks can still be useful if you are reading this book by yourself. If that is the case, make sure you talk to yourself to answer the questions and that you evaluate anything you produce.

Click here to download the ebook. 

For other ebooks in the TEFLIN Series, click below.

Inspirational Stories from the English Language Classrooms

Introducing Task-Based Language Teaching

Feedback in L2 Writing Classes

Cooperative Learning in Language Education



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