The Lincom guide to materials design in ELT

The Lincom guide to materials design in ELT. Ed. by Handoyo Puji Widodo and Lila Savova. (Lincom studies in second language teaching 12.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2010. Pp. 245. ISBN 9783895862526. $189 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Middle East Technical University

For language teachers, designing and developing materials is one of the most crucial and challenging elements of language curriculum. The process involves taking into consideration students’ needs and the specific teaching context, as well as nationwide goals. With this book, including sixteen chapters and an introduction by the editors, the authors aim to provide insights into materials design and development from a variety of perspectives.

In Ch. 1, the author discusses designing language teaching materials in various stages, such as planning, implementation, and evaluation, highlighting the diverse views of the different stakeholders in various contexts. In Ch. 2, two general principles are discussed in detail, focusing on English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) content and material organization: one is the 80/20 rule, and the other is the Gestalt principle of similarity. Ch. 3 deals with the importance of the use of visual aids in English language teaching (ELT) material, providing hands-on suggestions and pedagogical considerations. Ch. 4 reports on how a corpus linguistics course can help English-major undergraduates with the use of worksheets that are created based on the corpus data.

Ch. 5 provides a discussion of materials design for teaching adults, based on principles, practices, and implications for adult learners, and presents exemplary materials. Ch. 6 introduces and justifies the use of literary texts in communicative language classes. In Ch. 7, materials design is discussed with respect to young learners, considering their cognitive development and the choice of topics and tasks. Ch. 8 sets content-based instruction at the very heart of materials design and adaptation by elaborating on its features.

Ch. 9 discusses the recent development in English use around the word, with a special focus on the relationship between its use as an international lingua franca and materials development. Ch. 10 addresses materials design from a view of English for specific purposes (ESP), discussing approaches and principles that play a role in ESP writing.   In Ch. 11, a school-based curriculum in India is discussed, highlighting the importance of the use of self-access materials to enhance learners’ autonomy in an English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. Ch. 12 deals with three vocabulary learning approaches using corpus-oriented language materials: studying with a textbook providing high- frequency words, a blended approach using word quests, and self-directed or independent learning.

In Ch. 13, materials design for adult English language learners is evaluated with respect to task-based language teaching. Ch. 14 looks at task-based materials design from a sociolinguistic perspective and highlights issues such as identity construction through well-designed tasks. In Ch. 15, how culture can impact ELT materials is discussed using exemplary tasks and materials. The final chapter examines pre-service language teachers and the role of information and communication technology in materials design, with specific reference to the use of e-portfolio.

Overall, this is an invaluable resource book for graduate students, teachers, and teacher-educators on various aspects of materials design and development. However, the inclusion of a concluding section addressing future directions in materials design and development would have been a valuable addition to the book.

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