I had my first class of the current semester yesterday. Though 18 postgraduate students interested in learning the theory and practice of curricular material development in languages had enrolled for the elective course called CMD(L), 14 students reported for the first class. A good beginning, I assured myself. On seeing the bright, inquisitive eyes of the boys and girls coming from as many as 12 States of India, I felt the same kind of thrill that I felt in my first class a few decades back.
As soon as the class started, I was glad to note that the students had gone through the course website and had studied the first chapter of the book ‘Developing Materials for Language Teaching’ by Brian Tomlinson. This augured well for a lively discussion on the issues confronting material development for language teaching and the relevance of the theory of language learning in the field of material production in language.
What’s so great about this CMD(L) course? Well, this course on Curricular Material Development in Language primarily focuses on the actual development of curricular materials and an understanding of the concept that is to be taught through that material. The development of curricular material in Language is not be an end in itself, rather it leads to a sharpening of the students’ ability to convert their disciplinary knowledge to pedagogical content knowledge. The two pronged strategy of the CMD(L) course helps the students to evaluate available textbook and to design a textbook as per their theoretical orientation and pedagogical inclination and conviction.
Curricular material development in Language is a technical skill. Material developers in language should try to achieve an articulation of their theories of language learning keeping in view the pedagogical implication of that articulation. Therefore, during this course, I intend to reinforce the students’ understanding of the nature and processes of languages and to show them how this ought to influence the making of curricular resources in languages. Other objectives of my course is to
• To familiarize and critically engage the students with a range of resources across different stages of the school curriculum and to differentiate school textbooks from textbooks and other survey materials used in colleges and universities
• To grasp the factors that condition the development of curricular materials in English or any other Indian language
• To understand the process of resource creation across different stages of education.
• To develop resources keeping in mind certain learning objectives and the vision for the teaching English in India
• To explore the possibility of creating resources for autonomous learning in the Indian context.
If you are to prepare curricular materials in a language, you should be familiar with the structural, functional and communicative functions of curricular materials, the scope and the comprehensiveness of the materials and the authenticity of the materials for pedagogical purposes. It’s a challenging task, no doubt, but it’s a rewarding experience too. Some useful books for anyone interested in exploring the theory and practice of Curricular Material Development in Languages:
Byrd, P. (ed). (1995). Material Writer’s Guide, New York, Heinle and Heinle.
Dewey, J, The Child and the Curriculum, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1902)
Diana, Hacker. (2009). The Bedford Handbook, Boston, Bedford/ St. Martins.
Freire, P., Pedagogy of the Oppressed, (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1972)
Grundy, S. (1987). Curriculum: product or praxis? Lewes, Falmer Press.
Hall, Kathy, Patricia Murphy and JanetSoler. (2008). Pedagogy and Practice: Culture and Identities, London,Sage Publications.
Harwood, Nigel (2010). English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice,New York, Cambridge University Press.
Kennedy, Mary Lynch, and Hadley M. Smith.(2010). Reading and Writing in the Academic Community, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall-Pearson. 6
Rafik-Galea, Shameem.(2004) ELT Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice, Petaling Jaya, Sasbadi Sdn.BHD
Tomlinson, Brian. (2003). Developing Materials for