Strategies for Curriculum Materials Development

There are three strategies to develop curriculum materials, Now we are going to talk about them: 
 
Strategy One : ADOPTING MATERIALS

Adopting materials in a rational manner is not as easy as it might at first appear.
1) First, it is necessary to decide what types of materials are desirable.
2) Second, all available materials of these types should be located just in case they might prove useful.
3) Third, some form of review/evaluation procedures must be set up to pare this list down to only those materials that should be seriously considered so that filial choices can be made.
4) Fourth, some strategy for the regular review of these adopted materials must be set up to make sure that they do not become irrelevant to the needs of the students and the changing conditions in the program.

Deciding on Types of Materials

To adopt the materials, the curriculum developer must take decisions concerning which types of materials are suitable. Materials can also be based on many different approaches and can be organized around a number of different syllabuses. Materials can also be presented on a number of media and take many physical forms on any one of those media.


The following list of possible media for materials may help with these deliberations:
books                              teachers books
Workbooks                       magazines
journals                           pictures
maps                               charts/graphs/diagrams
cassette tapes
genuine                           video / disc / computer combinations
video tapes (language, authentic, computer software

Locating Materials
Three sources of information immediately spring to s mind that can help in finding existing materials that might be suitable: publishers' catalogs, books received (sections of journals), and teachers' shelves.

Publishers' catalogs 
include addresses for some of the most famous publishers of ESL materials. Many of these publishers also produce materials for other languages, so catalogs' list should provide at least a starting point for any language teacher looking for published  materials.

To make even a short list of candidates for materials that might be adopted, hands-on examination is necessary. Most publishers are happy to send teachers desk copies of their materials. A desk copy is a textbook, manual, workbook, or other form of material sent free Of charge for consideration by teachers who might adopt the material in their courses. The teacher may usually keep a desk copy even if student copies are not subsequently ordered.

Examination copies, also called review copies, are also sent so that they can be considered for adoption in courses. However, examination copies are only free of charge if the teacher subsequently orders the material(s) for his or her students within a certain number of days (usually 60 or 90 days).

Remember that publishers' catalogs are designed to sell language teaching
materials. Hence they will best be used as a source list of available materials, not as the definitive word on the quality or those materials.

Another source of relatively up-to-date information on language materials is the "Books Received" section that is found in many of the prominent language teaching journals. These "Books Received" are usually listed near the back of a journal/Such listings are usually fairly current. However, since such lists include only the author, title, and publisher, sending for desk or review copies will still be necessary.

One last source of information about materials should not be overlooked. The teachers' shelves within the program may be full of materials that could prove interesting and useful. More to the point, teachers are more likely To have experience with materials they already own.

Evaluating Materials

Whether materials are found in publishers' catalogs, "Books Received" sections of journals, or teachers' shelves, firsthand examination will eventually be necessary to
determine the suitability of the materials for a particular program. This process might safely be called materials evaluation.

The "reviews" in professional journals and newsletters typically reflect only the views of one individual. If possible, seek out two or three reviews or a book or other materials. One review can be helpful, but a number of reviews will offer a more comprehensive picture of the book or materials under consideration. It is also a good idea to establish a file of reviews that might be of interest to program faculty and administrators.

Firsthand review of materials is clearly the' most personal and thorough method for evaluating them. Stevick  suggested that materials should be evaluated in terms of qualities, dimensions, and components as follows:
a)  Three qualities: Strength, lightness, transparency (as opposed to weakness, heaviness, opacity)
b) Three dimensions: Linguistic, social, "topical"
c)  Four components: Occasions for use, sample of language use, lexical exploration, exploration of structural relationships.

Brown suggests a checklist that contains more detail. It considers materials from five
perspectives: background, fit to curriculum. Physical characteristics, logistical characteristics, and teachability. All of these judgments can be made only with the materials physically in hand.

the checklist materials background refers to nation about the author's and the publisher's credentials. It considers also. the amounts and types of experience the author has had in teaching and administration, as well as in curriculum and materials
development.

Logistical characteristics might include such mundane (but important) issues as the price and number of auxiliary parts (that is, audiovisual aids, workbooks, software, unit tests, and so forth) that are required, as well as the availability of the materials, time that it will take to ship them, and the like.

Finally, the teachability of the materials should be appraised. This decision may hinge on whether there is a teacher's edition; an answer key, annotations to help teachers explain and plan activities, unit reviews, and so forth. It is also important to ask the teachers if they think the set of materials will work and is otherwise  acceptable to them.

Ongoing Review of Materials

Even after a set of materials is in place for each course, the materials evaluation process must continue while they are being used, as well as after each implementation period. Teachers can keep notes on their reactions to the materials as they use them. Such notes can be as simple as scribbling in the margins of the teacher's edition, or as formal as typed reviews of the materials in question.


Strategy Two : DEVELOPING MATERIALS

Developing materials requires tremendous efforts and work. Nevertheless, with
the help and ideas of a number of people within a program, especially the teachers, materials can be developed that will create the best possible match between materials and the curriculum in question.

To begin developing materials, the curriculum designer must consider the overall curriculum issues including deciding on the theoretical bases of the program in terms of approaches and organizational principles in terms of syllabuses. This step also suggests looking at the students' needs, defining the goals and objectives, and using the tests to get a fix on the students' overall levels in terms of proficiency or placement and the appropriateness of the objectives in terms of diagnosis or achievement testing.

Materials development go through three phases: creating, teaching, and evaluating. During the creating phase 

1) first step is to find teachers who are willing to work on materials. Teachers are much more likely to be willing participants in a materials development project if they see something in it for themselves, that is, if they are paid for their efforts, or get release time, or, at the very least, it they expect to have an easier job with the new materials in hand.

2) The second step is to find a group of materials developers has been identified, then make sure that all of them are provided with copies of all relevant documents. Such documents may include a program description, a copy of , found with the program objectives, consider the degree to which the materials are ordered appropriately and the degree to which they use techniques and exercises that are acceptable to the teachers in the program .

Physical characteristics may take the form of layout considerations such as the amount of free space on each page, the relative quantities and qualities or pictures
and text, the effectiveness of highlighting, and so forth. Other physical characteristics might include organizational issues like the existence and quality of a table of contents, index, answer key, and glossary, as well as the general reference potential of the book after the course is finished.

NOTE
The degree of relationship between a set of materials and a particular program can best be determined by considering the degree to which the materials fit to the curriculum. To begin with, consider the extent to which each set of materials agrees with the overall approach and syllabus (or combination of approaches and  syllabuses). Next, focus on the degree to which the materials match the language needs of the students in a general way.

Strategy Three : ADAPTING MATERIALS

The process of adapting involves all of the steps listed down for finding and evaluating materials plus several distinctive featured. These new features include analyzing, classifying, filling the gaps, and reorganizing.

The first stage in adapting materials is to find and evaluate materials that might serve at least some of the students' needs and help to meet at least some of the course
objectives. In other words, the developer must identify the usable/revisable materials.
However, as the materials are being evaluated, teachers should also analyze the degree to which each set of existing materials matches the course objectives, as well as the degree of mismatch.
In the end, a decision must be made as to which set, or sets, of materials will be adapted.

Secondly, once usable/revisable materials have been identified, the curriculum developer must list the uncovered /covered objectives. It may prove useful to think of grouping the useful elements of the materials in a way that is different from how they were grouped in the original so that the resulting adaptation will more closely match the groupings and orderings in the course objectives.



I hope this helps

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