What is the role of materials in language teaching?
One of the main ways in which the learners can attain the ability to speak effectively is the use of materials.
Materials include textbooks, pictures, video and audio tapes, computer software, television programs, and visual aids. They influence play a great role in understanding the content and applying the procedures of teaching and learning.
This should provide learners with a degree of communicative capacity so that they have something interesting to say and an opinion to share with the partner.
Materials make part to five important components of language instruction.
According to Allwright (1990), materials should teach students to learn, they should be resource books for ideas and activities for instruction/learning, and they should give teachers rationales for what they do. From Allwright's point of view, textbooks are too inflexible to be used directly as instructional material.[i]
We can profit from Allwrigth idea that, textbooks constitute resources for developing the language teaching and learning process.
When he says that they are inflexible to be used directly as instructional material, I think he means that teachers are obliged to follow the commodity of books they are using. That is, Students learn what is presented in the textbook, and the way the textbook present’s material is the way students learn it.
However, in CLT, the most important is to profit the content the book gives as to be adapted in real language communication.
Let’s take as example the content we find in the ‘Student’s book’ New Headway- English Course, John and Liz Soares. On the unit 2- The way we live, You can find pictures with very different information, depending on the real students context.
The application of the content found in the text should be adaptable in order for the students be able to speak or communicate in the real situation.
So, textbooks can be inflexible, but usable if we want to apply them in communicative approach as to attain the purpose.
It is the teacher's responsibility to check whether the materials to be used in the learning process are working well for learners and to adapt them if they are not.
I think that, materials provide an opportunity for learners to reflect on topics of interest to them, to express opinions and listen to the views of others.
[i] . Allwright, R. L. (1990). What do we want teaching materials for? In R. Rossner and R. Bolitho, (Eds.), Currents in language teaching. Oxford University Press.