While having a clear out or sorting through old boxes at home, have you ever come across a really embarrassing photo of yourself? You know the one I mean -a younger version of you with a particularly bad haircut (possibly a frizzy perm or a centre-parting), glasses so large they might have come from a fancy dress shop and a sweater with at least 8 different colours on it arranged in some hideous ‘pattern’… Well, I think I just had the teaching equivalent!
Today, while trying to clear some space in my study room, I came across a box full of old hand-outs buried at the back of a cupboard. These were all lovingly hand-crafted during my first teaching job here in Turkey at a dershane (language school for adults) - yes that’s right: hand-crafted as in written out by hand. Not a word processor in sight!
The first few I looked at were nothing special (just cuttings from various textbooks rearranged onto one photocopy page) but then I found some of my own creations - cringe worthy to say the least! Pages and pages of gap-fills, grammar questions of dubious accuracy and crappy illustrations!
I can only assume that I kept them thinking that my new job with young learners may only prove temporary and I may be back teaching adults before long. Or perhaps I thought they might be handy for one-to-one tuition… Who knows? Anyway, with on-demand computer access and a whole decade of teaching knowledge and experience to inform my efforts now, the only place they belong is in the recycling bin.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided to let a few live on through the pages of this blog. ‘Why?’ do I hear you ask? Three reasons really:
- In light of Jason Renshaw’s recent excellent tutorials on how to make good quality materials, may these serve as an example of how NOT to make materials!
- To show how far I’ve come since those novice days.
- To demonstrate to all those Stage 2 dogme thinkers, that just because you used to teach in a school with no proper coursebooks and had to create your own teaching materials, it does NOT mean that you were ‘teaching dogme all along’.
- OK, so make that 4 reasons - I thought it would be good for a laugh.
Here goes! (You may need to click on the images to see them clearly… then again, you may not want to!)
Introducing Your New Teacher
Me! With hair!
Funny that I should find this one after my recent ‘Truth or Lie?’ blog challenge. The premise was simple - the students ask me questions to fill the gaps before deciding what information is true and what was not. The truth is, I didn’t really need a hand-out for this!
What’s Going to Happen?
What’s going to happen? Your students are going to be very bored, that’s what’s going to happen! They are also going to finish this hand-out you wasted 20 pieces of paper on in about 2 minutes when you could have easily displayed the same ‘art’ skills on the board in a similar amount of time.
Multiple Meanings of Modals
This worksheet takes a tricky area for learners… and makes it harder! I seem to remember a couple of advanced classes really getting into the finer details on this one though (despite the stick figure illustrations!)
More Relative Clauses
‘Course 13’ at my old school was notorious for it’s heavy grammar content. I believe this hand-out was intended to alleviate the burden! Note my ‘made by Dave’ copyright claim in the top right-hand corner. ;)
A great worksheet to show how obsessed teachers and students alike were with grammar at my old school. Believe it or not, this was well-received in class!
“The Good Old Days”
Saving the best till last, I challenge anyone, native speaker or not to complete this one without one or two serious ‘wtf?’ pauses. This was designed for an advanced class but, unsurprisingly, even pushed them too far. These days, I might do something similar but most likely I would just tell the story, invite comments on it and then have the try to reconstruct the gapped text. Still (at the risk of giving the answers away), I like the sentiment that “they were told/taught to teach with ‘just/only a pen’, as they used to do.”
So, what is the secret to making great materials? Answer:
“You must find a way that works for you.”
Do you have any cringe-inducing materials lying around? Please do share!