Didactics, as an integral part of Applied Pedagogy (Mallart (n.d)), takes care of the teaching-learning processes. Thus, it studies the type of didactic materials that should be used for the teaching-learning process to be present in the classroom. Due to the growing importance of materials development (MD, hereafter) as a research line, language teachers should look into the development of materials as both a field of study (a science), and a creative activity that has been growing for decades (Tomlinson, 2010). On the other hand, Applied Linguistics has recently identified within its domains, the development of materials as a broad open path to the study of how these socio-cultural artefacts contribute to the process of learning and teaching languages. Currently, researchers such as Neville (1991), Timmis (2002), Bolitho (2003), McDonough (2003), Maley (2003), Pulverness (2003), Sercu and Bandura (2005), Hurst (2006), Tomlinson (2008) and Núñez, Téllez, Castellanos and Ramos (2009), to cite some, have seen in MD, a field of study that goes beyond authors’ creativity and motivation to develop didactic materials at an instructional level. MD, as a field of study, demands a scientific methodology that allows validating the efficiency, appropriateness and relevance of materials within the context of learning a language.
Based on the aforementioned insights, this course presents the development of teaching and learning materials as a scientific activity that allows language teachers to assume a critical stance to approach the phenomenon of materials development from a more social and political viewpoints; to innovate through the development of contextualized or customized materials that complement textbooks or make up for the lack of them; and to enrich their teaching practice as well as to foster the creation of better teaching and learning settings. The course will be structured into four main components:(a) Theoretical foundations and practical insights for MD; Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Principles relevant to MD and principles for MD; authentic versus inauthentic materials in the teaching of English as a foreign language (EFL, henceforth); the systematic evaluation for the selection of materials to teach English; and current trends in syllabus design and MD. (b) Approaches to develop materials; addressing students' needs; the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL); approaches to the application of language learning strategies; the role of MD both in professional and personal development and in the instructional components of research projects; (c) The use of songs, laughter and riddles in the EFL classroom and In-house EGP and ESP materials for the teaching of English in the dual model. (d) The creation and adaptation of materials and course books for EFL and guidelines for the development of the pedagogical intervention of research projects.
Upon successful completion of this course, students are expected to:
- Become aware of the issues entailed in scientific activity of developing or adapting contextualised or customised materials to give them confidence in the process of decision making.
- Sharpen their insights regarding the theoretical foundations and the practical issues on what it takes to develop and evaluate language and teaching materials.
- Reflect upon their educational sceneries and their students’ needs as the onset for the creation of materials and transformation of the curriculum.
- Get acquainted with a rationale for the design
- Explore the use of a wide variety of tools and resources as a means to innovate in language teaching context.