When I write materials for ELT I’m very conscious of – not surprisingly – how materials interrelate with the teacher and the learner. At first I have a mental image of how the material will be used by the learners and the teacher. And then when I pilot the material or observe others using it, I can see the relationship in practice. Sometimes I give a presentation about the role of the material in the classroom. Here’s a paradigm I’ve developed to represent these relationships.
Where the three parts merge, the relationship is represented with the numbers    . These are explained below.
 Teacher + Learners + Materials
This is the meeting point in the middle where the teacher uses materials with the students. Often this takes the form of a course book but the material could also be a newspaper article the teacher (or a student) has brought it or it could be use of online materials delivered to students’ laptops. It also includes students and teachers developing their own written materials for use in the lesson.
 Learners + Materials
This meeting point is typified by self-study material such as workbooks or the more controlled types of exercises you find in computer-based learning. These types of materials should be distinct from the type of material that is used in . It could also represent when students produce their own material to share with each other.
 Teacher + Materials
These materials are used by teachers so here I’m thinking about teacher’s books or resource materials you might write for online teacher’s resource websites.
 Teacher + Learners
This part of the paradigm is perhaps the most interesting for writers because it’s where written materials take no part in the lesson. It’s the moment in the lesson where, for example, a teacher asks students about their weekend. Often is occurs before a course book is opened or for a dogme-based lesson it IS the lesson. When writing a course book, it is still part of the lesson that I take into account. Awareness of when the course book will remain closed is part of the whole writing process.
I’d be really interested to hear from materials writers (both published writers and teachers who write materials for their classes) as to whether they think this model is a fair representation. Can it be adapted?
Categories: Writing for ELT