designing and evaluating ESP material

a. Authentic Material
When considering the use of authentic materials, Widdowson wrote:
“It has been traditionally supposed that the language presented to learners should be simplified in some way for easy access and acquisition. Nowadays there are recommendations that the language presented should be authentic” (Widdowson 1990:67). asking whether their use is “inconsistent” with the principles of Communicative Language. Teaching (CLT). The aim of this paper will be to discuss the use of authentic materials in the teaching of reading. Authentic texts have been defined as “…real-life texts, not written for pedagogic purposes” (Wallace 1992:145) They are therefore written for native speakers and contain “real” language. They are “…materials that have been produced to fulfill some social purpose in the language community.” (Peacock (1997), in contrast to non-authentic texts that are especially designed for language learning purposes. The language in non-authentic texts is artificial and unvaried, concentrating on something that has to be taught and often containing a series of “false-text indicators” that include:
- perfectly formed sentences (all the time);
- a question using a grammatical structure, gets a full answer;
- repetition of structures;
- very often does not “read” well.

Authentic materials enable learners to interact with the real language and content rather than the form. Learners feel that they are learning a target language as it is used outside the classroom. When choosing materials from the various sources, it is therefore worth taking into consideration that the aim should be to understand meaning and not form, especially when using literary texts with the emphasis being on what is being said and not necessarily on the literary form or stylistics. Nuttall gives three main criteria when choosing texts as follows :
Suitability of content can be considered to be the most important of the three, in that the reading material should interest the students as well as be relevant to their needs. The texts should motivate as well as.
refers to how the text can be used to develop the students’ competence as readers. A text that can not be exploited for teaching purposes has no use in the classroom. Just because it is in English does not mean that it can be useful.
is used to describe the combination of structural and lexical difficulty of a text, as well as referring to the amount of new vocabulary and any new grammatical forms present. It is important to assess the right level for the right students.

Important Factors in Choosing Authentic Reading Materials

The concept of authenticity is central to CLT, with the learner being exposed to the same
language as a native speaker. Four types of authenticity within the classroom have been
identified and in particular to the use of authentic texts:
1. Authenticity of the texts which we may use as input data for our students;
2. Authenticity of the learners’ own interpretations of such texts;
3. Authenticity of tasks conducive to language learning;
Authenticity of the actual social situation of the classroom language. (Breen 1985:61)

b. Defining objectives
Some principle which will guide us in the actual writing of the materials
a) Materials provide stimulus to learning
Good material contain:
• Interesting texts
• Enjoyable activities which engage the learner’ thinking capacities.
• Opportunities for learners to use their existing knowledge and skills
• Content which both learner and teacher can cope with
b) Materials help to organize the teaching-learning process, by providing a path though the complex mass of the language to be learnt.
Good materials should, therefore, provide a clear and coherence until structure will guide the teacher and learner though various activities in such a way as to maximize the chances of learning.
c) Materials embody a few of the nature of language and learning.
d) Materials reflect the nature of the learning task.
e) Materials can have a very useful function in broadening the basis of teaching training by introducing teachers to a new techniques.
f) Materials provide models of correct and appropriate language use.

c. materials design model
Taking into account the principles we have outlined, we can now present a model which we have used for writing our own materials. The aim of this particular model is to provide a coherent framework for the integration of the various aspects of learning, while at the same time allowing enough room for creativity and variety to flourish. The model consists of four elements: input, content focus, language focus, task.
a). Input: This may be a text, dialogue, video-recording, diagram or any defined in your analysis. The input provides a number of things:
- Stimulus material for activities;
- New language item;
- Correct models of language use;
- A topic for communication;
- Opportunities for learners to use their information

d. refining model
a number possible refinements to the model can be seen in the unit above. We can relate these points to the nucleus of the model to provide an extended model like this :

e. materials and the Syllabus
a cautionary distinction between two types of model, since both are used in the material design process :
a) predictive.
This kind of model provides the generative framework within which creativity can operate. The unit model is of this kind. It is a model that enables the operators to select, organize and present data.
b) Evaluative
This kind of model acts as a feedback device to tell you whether you have done what you intended. The syllabus interface model is of this kind. Typically it is used as a checklist. Material are written with only outline reference to the S/UI can be used to check covera and appropiacy.
Having complete your needs analysis and course design, you must know decide what you are going to do with it. One option is to decide that the whole thing is completely impossible and throw the result in the wastepaper bin. Possible ways of turning your course design into actual teaching materials:
a). select from existing materials : material evaluation
b). write your own material : material development
c). modify existing material : material adaptation
we shall look at the first two option: material evaluation and material writing. The third point
1. Why evaluate material?
2. How do you evaluate material?
We can divide evaluation process into four major steps:
1. Defining criteria
On what bases will you judge materials?
2. Subjective analysis
What realization of the criteria do you want in your course?
3. Objective analysis
How does material being evaluated realize the criteria?
4. Matching
How far does the materials match your needs?

The process of evaluation
We may identify three basic kinds of ELT materials evaluation; an intuitive,
impressionistic approach, a formal prior-to-use evaluation, and a 'process' approach.
The informal, impressionistic approach may be based on 'first impressions', perhaps
gathered simply by flicking through materials or by reading publicity blurb. Even if a
more thorough examination is carried out, it will not be comprehensive or in any way
systematic. The limitations of this approach will be clear to anyone who has carried
out such an evaluation only to be disappointed by later discoveries or results. These
limitations are more fully discussed by Ellis (1997:37) and Low (1987:19).
The second approach is widely advocated, for example by Chambers (1997:29, 31). It
is considered systematic, detailed, principled and comprehensive, involving, as it
does, the use of carefully developed procedures and checklists of criteria which are
used to perform a step-by-step examination of the materials. A system whereby points
or marks are awarded may be utilised, which has the advantage of ensuring a degree
of objectivity.
For the third approach, Ellis (1997:36) outlines a procedure involving predictive
evaluation, choice of materials, followed by a post-use retrospective evaluation which
may lead to further predictive evaluations. These stages equate with the 'input' and
'throughput" stages of Sheldon's (1987:5) tripartite schema, the third stage of which,
'output', refers to evaluation according to eventual learning outcomes. This procedure
is supported by the general thrust of the argument in Rea-Dickins and Germaine
(1993:145-152). This approach would seem more principled than the prior-to-use
evaluation alone and as such has several advantages. Firstly, the implicit stress on
needs analysis tends to ensure validity (Pilbeam, 1987:120). Secondly, a larger
number of concerned individuals are likely to involved in the evaluation. Finally, inVol.
3 Issue 1 Autumn1997
class retrospective evaluation, which could involve empirical data, will tend to
confirm or refute the validity of the initial stages of evaluation.

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