ELT Ideas

ELT Materials Writing at Tertiary Level: Should it be a dilemma?


It is customary for many teachers who teach English at tertiary level across the globe to start a new academic year by administering re-sit exams for their students and preparing teaching materials. The issue here is not preparing a reading list of books and posting it on the course webpage. What I am talking about is writing/preparing ELT materials for tertiary classes of English.

I teach English at an engineering school where the students need to learn English for a variety of purposes and finding the right teaching materials is almost impossible. Our students need to improve their level of English in a context where chances of practicing English outside the classroom are very scarce, if not inexistent. They also need to prepare for the TOEIC test, which they have to achieve with a respectable score. Moreover, there should be enough room for courses of ESP, EAP, and BE. This sounds like the ideal course, as long as all the course objectives are attained; however, there are two problems. First, my colleagues and I have to achieve this in just five semesters. Second, where can we find the materials to meet all our needs as teachers?

Without getting into the challenges facing us in meeting course objectives, let us consider the second point of finding the suitable materials. I have been searching for teaching materials and resources that would help me in my courses but I have not been able to find any. One of the objectives of teaching English at our school is to give our student a course they can learn. Contrary to the common belief, our students are not very fond of the way the available ESL and EFL books introduce lessons. After a series of discussions and course evaluation with them, we have concluded that our students who are young adults to adults find ESL books too childish and give them the impression they are still treated as adolescents.

Another reason why the materials available on the market are not the right materials for our students is the contents of these materials. As mentioned above, teaching BE, ESP, and EAP as well as preparing for the TOEIC test in just five semesters is no walk in the park. This panoply of courses calls for tailored materials that require a lot of cutting and patching. The question now is how much work is required of us teachers to do this? What do other teachers deal with a similar situation? Please leave your comments.