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405 Materials Adaptation and Development

FLE 405 Materials Adaptation and Development

Summer School 2005



Description: Continuation of FLE 304, enabling students to acquire skills necessary for evaluating language teaching materials in current textbooks, adapting or developing materials for language teaching.

Aims of the Course:

1.               To familiarize and enable students to focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of evaluating and adapting language teaching materials.

2.               To give students an opportunity to engage in adaptation work.

3.               To train students in and prepare them towards materials development.






Assigned reading

Lesson 1

July 5


Framework of materials and methods

McDonough & Shaw,

Ch. 1

Lesson 2

July 7

The impact of the communicative approach and Current approaches to materials design

McDonough & Shaw,

Ch. 2 and 3

Lesson 3

July 12

Course books and language learning; and the language content

Cunningsworth, Ch. 1,2,3,4,5

Lesson 4

July 14

Selection and grading of language items; and Presentation and practice of new language items

Cunningsworth, Ch.6, 7, 8,10

Ur, Modules 13 &14

Lesson 5

July 19

Developing language skills and communicative abilities; and Evaluating and adapting ELT materials

McDonough & Shaw,

Ch. 4 & 5

Lesson 6

July 21

Content-based and immersion models; Computers in language teaching; and Use of media in language teaching

Snow, Sokolik, and Brinton (course pack)

July 25- Monday

Mid-term exam


Lesson 7-10

July 26-August 4

No class

(I’ll be in England for 10 days)


Lesson 11

August 9



Lesson 12

August 11



August 12





Presentation (40 minutes for each)                      25 %


Course Book Evaluation (Pair)                            20%

Midterm     (August 12)                                                                  25 %

Final exam- Take home  (August 11- August 15)   25 %

Participation                                                           5%



Part I. With two classmates select a course book, familiarize yourself with the book, choose a unit and work on that unit. Evaluate and adapt the unit following the materials evaluation criteria. Follow the detailed steps below to do your assignment:


 Select a unit with a reading or listening text and accompanying activities and worksheets.

 Designate your audience and consider their levels, needs and characteristics. Determine what learners will need to do in relation to the texts.

Decide on the evaluation criteria you will use and narrow it down.

Evaluate the materials you’d like to use in class against the evaluation criteria. Analyze texts and activities to determine different components of the lesson, such as the language elements.

Use the lesson plan provided by your instructor and develop it into a lesson plan of the unit. Make sure your lesson includes a wide variety of activities focusing on language elements, learning skills and strategies.

Teach one segment of the lesson. Review the lesson and evaluate the materials. What modifications would you make to the materials? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the materials?

Present the whole procedure in class with your partner. You will provide a detailed explanation of your criteria, materials, lesson plan and strengths and weaknesses of the materials you used.


Part II. Report Writing

Write the whole procedure up. Make sure you include the following in your report:

 Selected materials

Evaluation criteria for the Initial evaluation of the selected materials

Adaptation procedures

Lesson plan

Modifications and material evaluation after the lesson


Due date: Presentation: August 9 / Report: August 15



Students will choose a course book (student’s book, workbook, supplementary materials, teacher’s book¦) and evaluate it according the scenario, which will be provided by the course instructor. The students will find or choose the evaluation criteria they would like to use for course book evaluation. The report of evaluation will not be more than 6 pages.


Due date: August 12, 2005



The Framework of Materials and Methods

Why a group of learners needs to learn English?

Contextual factors involved in planning methods and materials.


Learners            age            interests           level of proficiency            aptitude            mother tongue

                        Attitudes to learning            motivation        reason            personality        learning style


Setting             the role of English in the country and in school  teacher             time

            Management and administration                           resources         tests

            Physical environment                  support personnel            socio-cultural environment


3 levels of setting: In the country/ in the school/ in the classroom


Teachers are affected directly and indirectly by all these variables.

Whatever their source, it is the teacher who is in the front line.


The syllabus:

Selecting a type of syllabus, which is relevant to the learners for whom it’s needed.

The organizing principle

Arrangement of language content.

Grammatical/ Functional-Notional/ situational/ skill-based/ topic-based p.14


Grammatical                 Functional-Notional                 situational        skill-based   topic-based

Mastery of                    impact of CA.

Language structure            structurally competent but

Correctness                  Communicatively incompetent

                                    Approppriacy and correctness

                                    p.22 (claims)

                                    p.23-24 (compare)                                                                                      .

More comprehensive view of language learning and teaching/ wider range of language/ realistic and motivating/ appropriate/ L1 experience for function P. 37 (unit)

But still not clear:

What basis should we sequence and grade?/ For which proficiency level and teaching context?/ How to practice real world?

Real world: authenticity (material authenticity)

Learner needs are more important than authenticity??.

P. 16 who/who/ why?           


Multi-syllabus tries to overcome the weaknesses of communicative competence.

When deciding what to teach to a particular group of learners, we need to take into consideration several different meaning categories and several different formal categories.

What a multi syllabus does is to build on a range of communicative criteria at the same time as acknowledging the need to provide systematic practice in the formal properties of language.

One of the simplest ways of surveying the types of syllabus available is to examine the content pages of published English language teaching textbooks.

p. 45- current materials: multi syllabus


Psychology of learning a language

An analysis of learners as individuals can offer a helpful view on the construction of materials and methods.

Materials appropriate for students in an English speaking environment may not be applicable in other educational settings.

Learner characteristics that have implications for the language classrooms.


Process Syllabus

Syllabuses cannot be fully worked out in advance but must evolve as learner’s problems and developing competence gradually emerge.


Course books are design principles and cannot have equal and universal applicability. Different teaching situations have different requirements and expectations.

WEEK III (Cunnigsworth: Evaluating & selecting EFL teaching materials)

I. Course books and Language Learning

Published course books are normally written by experienced and well-qualified people and the material contained in them is usually carefully tested in pilot studies in actual teaching situations before publication.

            Course books are good servants but poor masters.

The teacher should formulate objectives with the needs of the learners in mind and then seek out published material, which will achieve those objectives.

No teacher should permit the course book to set the objectives let alone allow teaching the course book to be objective.

            Teachers should consider the type of learner for whom the course book would be suitable, age, nationality, native language, interests and objectives of the possible users, class size, availability of equipment and the amount of money to spend on books.

Some courses are quite specific about the kind of learner they cater for and many course books are written for learners of a particular age and native language who live in a specific cultural context. (What the course books say about themselves) p. 2


Three main perspectives on English language teaching can be identified from these extracts:

i.                     communicative/ functional

ii.                   structural

iii.                  skills


Some principles for evaluation:

a.      Relate the teaching material to your aims and objectives

The objectives should be decided first in line with the overall aim of the teaching programme and then materials should be sought which can relate to these objectives. It is up to the individual teacher to decide whether the aims of the course book match up with his own teaching aims. No course book will be totally suited to a particular situation. The teacher will have to find his own way of using it and adapting it if necessary. So we should not be looking for the perfect course book which meets all our requirements but rather for the best possible fit between what the course book offers and what we as teachers and students need.


b.      Beware of what language is for and select teaching materials, which will help equip your students to use language effectively for their own purposes.


c.      Keep your students’ needs in mind.

Learners have intellectual and emotional needs too. Learning a language is difficult and demanding and students need to be encouraged and stimulated as they progress. Within the space of one lesson, a student may act alternately as an individual and a group member, depending on several factors including the sort of exercise he is doing, the skills that are being practiced and his own learning strategies.

Variety: The kind of English presented in coursebooks is usually either standard, middle-class, educated southern British English or standard, middle-class, educated American English. While there seem to be very good reasons for teaching one of the two dialects mentioned above; there may be special situations where a receptive knowledge of a less widely used dialect is needed. Glasgow dialect for students who will study in Glasgow or Jamaican English for businessmen who are going to make deals in Jamaica.  


d.      Consider the relationship between language, the learning process and the learner.

There is no one best way of learning and that learners adopt different learning strategies, often switching strategies from time to time.

Certain more recent approaches to language learning tend to concentrate very heavily on the individual, on the individual’s desires and feelings, but neglect rather to come to grips with some of the linguistic difficulties inherent in language learning. Learning activities, no matter how interesting will not be much help to the learner of English unless they present and practice English in a systematic and comprehensive way so that new language items can be assimilated by the learner.


No course book can offer a large number of alternative ways of teaching each item on the syllabus and even adopting an eclectic approach course book writers must of necessity make their own value judgments and opt for one kind of presentation rather than another.

No course book will be ideally suited to your particular style of teaching, it will always be necessary to supplement the material and adapt it.


III. Selection & Grading of Language Items

  1. Structural and functional syllabus
  2. Subject-centered approach and student-centered approach

Is the selection and sequence of the language to be taught based on an attempt to identify probable student need (student-centered) or the internal structure of the language (subject centered)?

Backwash effect: passing the examination becomes the overriding objective of the course: whether or not that really involves learning English as an authentic communicative system.

  1. Grading and recycling

Is the grading of the language content steep, average or shallow?

By grading we mean the speed with which the student progresses, how much new material is introduced in a given number of hours, how close together or how far apart new grammatical structures are in relation to each other, how much vocabulary is introduced in each unit and so on.

Steeply graded: One unit for each new language item with some exercises (false beginners)

Shallow grading: Each new item is thoroughly presented and then practiced in a variety of contexts before the next item is introduced. (Real beginners)


Is the progression linear or cyclical?

When deciding between a linear and a cyclical approach we should bear in mind the individual and cultural make-up of our group of learners, the length of the course, its objectives and whether the students will follow the course to its end.


Linear progression: A Linear course adapts an order of presentation for each language item, and then deals with each item exhaustively before passing on to the next item. Each new item is thoroughly learned and then forms a sure platform from which the learner can move to the next unfamiliar item.

Cyclical progression: A cyclical course moves fairly quickly from one language item to another and then progressively returns to each item, once, twice or more times, later in the course.


Is there adequate recycling of grammar and vocabulary?

To introduce a new vocabulary item once and then forget about it. A word may need to be recycled three or four times before it is learned adequately. Words are recycled best in different contexts for progressive exposure to it.


IV. Presentation & Practice of New Language Items

  1. Inductive and Deductive Language Teaching
  2.  Presentation, Practice and Production of new language items (PPP) Practice and production in isolation or as part of a teaching/learning sequence.
  3. Presentation and Practice of lexis
  4. Phonology

 V. Developing Language Skills and Communicative Abilities

  1. Free Production of spoken English
  2. Materials for reading
    • the length and complexity of stories
    • the number of characters
    • background setting
  3. Materials for listening
    • what kind of listening practice
    • what they are required to do in response to what they hear.
  4. Materials for writing
    • rules and conventions
  5. Integrated skills and communicative abilities
    • dialogue

Week 4


How necessary is a coursebook?




  • Teachers and students know where they are going and what is coming next
  • Carefully planned and balanced syllabus
  • Saves time
  • Cheapest way of providing materials
  • Convinient packages
  • Provide useful guidance for the teacher
  • A learner without a coursebook is more teacher dependent



  • No one coursebook can possibly supply all learner needs
  • The topics may not be relevant or interesting
  • Its set structure and sequence may inhibit a teacher’s initiative creativity
  • Do not cater for variety of levels of ability and knowledge or of learning styles and strategies.
  • Teachers find it too easy to follow uncritically.



Supplementary Materials


With the book

Teacher’s book



(Vocabulary List or index)

Visuals (posters, pictures)


Story book

Tests (entry, progress, achievement testing)

Outside materials        

Computer software



Video- Audio equipment

Posters, pictures, games

Puppets, wall charts





Worksheets & Workcards









Learner and the Coursebook

  1. Psychological factors ( aims, interesting, motivating, personal, interactive for students, self-commiting and real not fake)


  1. Social and Cultural Factors (geographical setting, age range and class, culture (advantages and disadvantages), the role of English in class, school and country)



What if the coursebook needs some adaptation?


Checklist of evaluation criteria



 Topic Content

 Types of non-linguistic content

·        Zero content (superficially interesting topics with no cultural or other info or engagement with real world issues.)

·        The aspects of language (morphology)

·        Another subject study (science or history)

·        Home culture (L1 culture)

·        Culture associated with the TL (L2 culture)

·        Literature of L2

·        World knowledge

·        Moral, educational, political or social problems

·        The learners themselves


Underlying Messages (hidden curriculum or subtext)

  • Sexism
  • Ageism
  • Soial orientation (Racisim/ Nationalism)
  • Values (Christian)


Should literature be included in the course?



·        enjoyable

·        different styles of writing

·        vocabulary expansion

·        reading skills

·        discussion or writing

·        motivating

·        personal development

·        target culture

·        critical and creative thinking

·        contributes to world knowledge and raises awareness


·        difficult for learners

·        simplified versions are poor representations

·        too long to teach

·        difficult to relate

·        Ss may find it boring or irrelevant for their needs.



Stages of Teaching Literature

1.      encounter and impact (pre-teach new vocabulary/ warm-up for background info/ read aloud/ ask open-ended questions)

2.      understanding and familiarization [reread/ read through looking for bits you did not understand/ look through the text for the parts you liked/quotations/ rewrite some of the text/ rewrite in a different genre/ present the text in a different visual format (graph), draw an illustration]

3.      analysis and interpretation [Not all classes go very deeply into the interpretation of a text: not all teachers feel confident to lead discussions on literary analysis.]


Week 5

Evaluating Materials

a. External Evaluation

    • The cover of the book
    • Introduction and table of contents

i.          The intended audience

ii.        The proficiency level

iii.     The context in which the materials are to be used.

iv.      How the language has been presented and organized into teachable units.

v.         The author’s view on language and methodology

    • Date of publication
    • The main core course or to be supplementary?
    • Is the teacher’s book in print locally available?
    • Is a vocabulary list included?
    • What visual materials does the book contain?
    • Layout
    • Too culturally biased or specific?
    • Do the materials represent minority groups and/ or women in a negative way?
    • The inclusion or audio/ video material
    • The inclusion of tests in the teaching material

b. Internal Evaluation

*** 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.

    • The presentation of skills
    • The grading and sequencing of the materials
    • Authentic or artificial?
    • Suitable for different learning styles
    • Sufficiently transparent to motivate both students and teachers

c. Overall evaluation

    • The usability factor (integration of the material into a particular syllabus)
    • The generalizability factor (useful for a group or not in general)
    • The adaptability factor (feasibility of adaptation)
    • The flexibility factor (How the materials can be used in different ways)

Adapting Materials

Adoption: is an initial step and is unlikely to mean that no further action needs to be taken beyond that of presenting the material directly to the learners.


Adaptation: However careful the design of the materials and the evaluation process, some changes will have to be made at some level in most teaching contexts.


*** Whereas adoption is concerned with whole coursebook, adaptation concerns the parts that make up that whole.


Teachers do not always have direct involvement: they may well influence decisions about whole textbooks only if they are part of a ministry of education team concerned with trailing or writing materials.

A far more widespread and necessary activity among teachers is therefore that of adaptation, because the smaller-scale process of changing or adjusting the various parts of a course book is more closely related to the reality of dealing with learners in the dynamic environment of the classroom.

Evaluation as an exercise can help us develop insights into different views of language and learning and into the principles of materials design and is something we do against the background of a knowledge of our learners and of the demands and potential of our teaching situation.

To adapt materials is to try to bring together these individual elements under each heading or combinations of them so that they match each other as closely as possible.

Teaching materials may be internally coherent but not totally applicable in context; alternatively they may be largely appropriate at the same time as they show signs of an inconsistent organization.


The good teacher is constantly adapting. While authors try to anticipate questions that may be raised by his readers, the teacher can respond not merely to verbal questions but even to raised eyebrows of his students.

The task of adapting is not an entirely new skill that teachers must learn.


Reasons for Adaptation p. 86


Adapting Materials

I. Adding: putting more into them

a.       Extending: quantitative way; to supply more of the same thing

b.      Expanding: both qualitative and quantitative; to add to the methodology by moving outside it and developing it in new directions by putting a new language skill or new component. 


II. Deleting or Omitting: opposite of adding

  1. Subtracting: Reducing the length of material. It does not have a significant impact on the overall methodology.
  2. Abridged: Omitting some part of the material and changing the overall methodology.
  3. Substituted: Materials may be taken out and substituted with something else. 

III. Modifying: Internal change in the approach or the focus of an exercise.

  1. Re-writing: when some of the linguistic content needs modification; activities more closely to learners’ own backgrounds and interests, introduce models of authentic language, or set more purposeful, problem-solving tasks where the answers are not always known before the teacher asks questions.
  2. Re-structuring: applies to classroom management; changes in the structuring of the class.

IV. Simplifying: a type of modification; many elements of a language course can be simplified; including the instructions and explanations that accompany exercises and activities; and even the visual layout of materials so that it becomes easier to see how different parts fit together. Over-simplification may be misleading.

a.       Sentence structure (Shortening length and re-writing complex sentences)

b.      Lexical content (number of vocabulary items can be controlled)

c.       Grammatical structure (passive into active)

d.      Subject Content (simplification can refer not merely to content but even to the way the content is presented.)


V. Re-ordering: Putting the parts of a course book in a different order.

a.       Adjusting the sequence of presentation within a unit

b.      Taking units in a different sequence from that originally intended.


Adaptation is a very practical activity carried out mainly by teachers in order to make their work more relevant to the learners. Adaptation can only be carried out effectively if it develops from an understanding of the possible design features of syllabuses and materials.



Content is the use of subject matter for language teaching purposes. Subject matter may consist of topics or themes based on student interest or need in an adult EFL setting, or it may be very specific, such as the subjects that students are currently studying in their elementary school classes.

Content- based second language instruction (CBI) generally has a strong EAP orientation, in which the main instructional goal is to prepare second language students for the types of academic tasks they will encounter in school, college or university and ESP tradition where the vocational or occupational needs of the learner are identified and used as the basis for curriculum and materials development.

Models of CBI differ in implementation due to such factors as educational setting, program objectives and target population. However, they share a common point of departure the integration of language teaching aims with subject matter instruction.

In CBI, the focus is on subject matter not on the form, and the students learn to produce language which is appropriate in terms of both content and language. 

Content-based approaches promote extended practice with coherent content coupled with relevant language learning activities such as teaching how knowledge structures can be realized through language and content. CBI approaches combine coherent interesting informational resources to create increasing but manageable task complexity.


Models of CBI

Models of CBI can be distinguished from each other in terms of (1) setting, (2) instructional level and (3) degree on language (language driven) and content (content- driven).

First two are well developed examples designed to teach foreign languages to English speaking children at the elementary school level. The last three models have been implemented in secondary or post secondary second language setting.


1.      Immersion Education (1965- Canada)

Immersion education provides education in such foreign languages as French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese. In the total immersion model, English speaking elementary school students receive the majority of their school through the medium of the second language. Most immersion programs share the following four objectives: (1) Grade-appropriate levels of L1 development; (2) Grade-appropriate levels of academic achievement; (3) functional proficiency in L2; and (4) an understanding of and appreciation for the culture of the TL group.

Two-way/ bilingual or dual immersion programs began to appear. Language minority and language majority students are grouped in the same classroom with the goal of academic excellence and bilingual proficiency for both student groups.


2.      Content-Enriched Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES)(1950-USA)

Traveling language teachers met with elementary school children for approximately 20-30 minutes several times per week for instruction in the foreign language. FLES used the foreign language to talk about the content of the unit instead of completing grammar exercises. There is a richer context for use of the foreign language for meaningful communication which is especially important considering the learners’ limited exposure to the foreign language. The foreign language class thus takes on the new role of providing reinforcement of content.


3.      Theme- Based Model (U. S elementary schools)

The theme-based model is a type of CBI in which selected topics or themes provide the content from which teachers extract language learning activities. The model is also widely implemented in language institutes at the college or university level, where classes are often composed of students of diverse language backgrounds or interests whose common goal is to attend college or university in an English speaking country.

Content was incorporated through a variety of means: (1) through the adaptation of content-based commercial ESL textbooks; (2) through instructor designed thematic materials and (3) through the development of thematic courses such as Computer English or Business English. 

First systematic framework of Theme-based instruction: Six T’s approach (Stoller and Grabe)

i.                     Themes: central ideas that organize major curricular units selected for their appropriateness to student needs and interests, institutional expectations, program resources and teacher abilities and interests.

ii.                   Topics: subunits of content which explore more specific aspects of the theme.

iii.                  Texts: The content resources which drive the basic planning of theme units. Texts may include readings from various genres, videos, audiotapes, maps, software, lectures, graphic representations, guest speakers or field trips. 

iv.                 Threads: Abstract concepts that provide a natural means of linking themes.

v.                   Tasks: Day-to-day instructional activities utilized to teach content, language and strategy instruction.

vi.                 Transitions: Explicitly planned actions which provide coherence across the topics in thematic unit and across tasks and topics.


4.      Sheltered Model (1982, Canada; Secondary and post secondary settings)

The model deliberately separates second language students from native speakers of TL for the purpose of content instruction. All instruction in the sheltered class was given in the second language by content faculty members who gauged their instruction to an audience made up of second language students.

These courses are frequently an alternative to content courses taught in the students’ native languages in settings where trained bilingual teachers are not available or the student population is so heterogeneous as to preclude primary language instruction. Sheltered courses can offer an effective approach to integrating language and content instruction for intermediate ESL students whose language skills may not yet be developed enough for them to be mainstreamed with native English speakers in demanding content courses.


5.      Adjunct Model (California; Post secondary setting)

Students are concurrently enrolled in a language class and content course. Linking or adjuncting between language and content departments is feasible. The coordination of objectives and assignments between language and content instructors is the key feature. The language class becomes content based in the sense that the students’ needs in the content class dictate the activities of the language class.


Suggestions for Language and Content Instructors 

Since the content dictates the selection and sequence of teaching points, the language teacher must learn to exploit the content material for its language teaching potential. The content teacher in CBI needs to become sensitive to the language needs of the language students. CBI instructors must also develop appropriate curricula and materials which reflect the assumptions of the approach. While commercial language texts may be appropriate for some activities and are certainly useful references, CBI necessarily requires materials which integrate the teaching of language skills with content and hence may be very labor intensive.

CBI is a student-centered approach. Choice of content should revolve around considerations of students’ current proficiency levels, academic or vocational objectives, interests and needs. CBI crosses over age groups and settings and is very much in keeping with the communicative approach to second language teaching.



Stages of structuring Media Lessons

1.      The information and motivation stage: presenting the topic and background info

2.      The input stage: items are presented or comprehension is ensured

3.      The focus stage: practicing the task with guided opportunities

4.      The transfer stage: students share personal ideas or experiences related to the given context.

5.      The optional feedback stage: Assessment of students’ performance


To M.M.

The first time
we met as strangers
We parted as friends.


The second time
we met as friends
We parted as lovers.


The last time
we met as lovers
We parted as friends.


We did not meet
We are now
not even friends.


Gerald England




middle                   aged

couple                   playing

ten-                        nis

when                     the

game                     ends

         and                        they            

go                         home

the                         net

will                        still    

be                          bet    

ween                      them.

 Roger McGough


This is just to say!

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.


Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.




t        a            d
e                       o
a         r             w
r               i           n
s                v      
                     e            a
  s               r         
t                              s
r            o             a
e            f                d
m            s                 f
i                 o                a 
n                  r            c  
g                r                e




*on my hand*
*reflecting love*
*stars , dance*
*an endless*



In the house

of Mr. and Mrs. Spouse

he and she

would watch teevee

and never a word

between them spoken

until the day

the set was broken.


Then “How do you do?”

Said he to she,

“I don’ believe we’ve met yet.

Spouse is my name.

What’s yours?” he asked.

“Why, mine’s the same!”

said she to he.

“Do you suppose that we could be ___?”


But then the set came suddenly right about

And so they never did find out.


Eve Merriam


 He treats them to Ice-cream

Every Sunday they went for a walk together

He, she

And the three children.


One night

When she tried to stop him going

To his other woman,

He pulled out a flick-knife

From under the mattress.


They still go for a walk

Every Sunday,

He, she and the three children

He treats them to ice-cream and they all laugh.

She too.

Anna Swirsczynskia