Teach English in Zongluju Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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In my essay I would like to highlight the different approach of categorizing the classroom materials. My first – and most widely known – category is the authentic and non-authentic materials. This classical distinction is well described during this course; in the business English and young learners too. Personally I prefer non-authentic materials in general since they have been created for their specific purpose thus they make it easier for both the learner and the teacher as well. Of course it doesn’t mean that I don’t use authentic materials but only in a limited amount; it depends on the circumstances: level, age, number, interest and type of the lesson. Mostly on the level - since with a beginner or elementary student who wouldn’t enjoy something what is way too challenging for him/her but rather struggle - I prefer to start introducing authentic materials from pre-intermediate level and use more and more above that. In my opinion they are not less useful or worse just simply tougher and much more challenging for the students meanwhile requires more time from the teachers as they have to search for them and that might take really a lot of time. The second category is the course books and scraps. Here scraps means any designed material for teaching what is not long or great in amount, usually some pages. Thematically they can be any topic such as reading, grammar, games etc. but they always focus on a particular piece of the language. Let’s see the pros and cons on both sides. Course books are designed by experts for a long term use: it not just contains a well structured syllabus which is normally in a good sequence but also offer plenty alternatives for the learnt unit/subject. They always contain many additional exercises and activities, protecting the teacher from running out of ideas. In general a tutor can always rely on a course book even if he/she doesn’t like it but regardless of the content the units follow a logical order. The most common drawback is that sometimes they have bad or boring exercises therefore they have to be replaced. Unnecessary language focus can cause some embarrassment as well: sometimes minor fragments are discussed for pages. Last but not least a wrongly chosen book which is too specific or not specific enough for the learners easily can be a failure. Selecting the right book before the course starts is always needed. Scraps are usually complements: they make up what the course books lack in content. There are so many and made by different people, hence they are really various and not monotonous at all. Another reason why students don’t get bored about them is that they are different in nature: totally different themes can be used after each other or even during the same lesson. Also for a learner usually it is easier to ‘digest’ a 3 pages complex exercise than a complete book. They just simply want to get over it and in a book the progress might be slow. The greatest disadvantage of the scraps is that sometimes their content are not checked or they have been made by somebody who has broken English and commits mistakes. A resource which has spelling, grammar, logical etc. inaccuracy is not only a wrong sample but also represents the teacher in a bad way. Scraps always should be checked if they contain any mistakes or errors. On the other hand scraps require more time to prepare than course books: searching, downloading, correcting, and making them all can be a real time-consuming activity. To summarize the authentic & non-authentic materials and the course books & scraps I can highlight the same keyword: balance. Balance is essential since none of them is better than the other but it is always up to the situation which one is appropriate. Finding the right balance is not easy but it comes by experience.