Language should be seen as an accomplishment to the activity carried on around us. People use language in content and not out of content. We do not talk just because we want to talk, but we talk of or about something.
The words we use thus add meaning to the activities we engage in. Therefore, there is the need for attention to meaning and because of this, we need aids or materials to add meaning to what we teach in language studies.
Language studies feature in all other studies. It features in science, social science, art/humanities Technology Education, just all disciplines. Since Language is thus significant, teaching should involve the use of teaching materials or aids.
The significance of the English Language in education and academic pursuit in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. To teach the language well in schools, teachers of the language should make use of appropriate teaching materials.
Teachers in getting suitable teaching materials or aids should be resourceful, think deeply, and be able to improvise.
The following guiding principles should be used by teachers of the English Language in choosing their teaching materials or aids.
1. Consider the situation.
An English Language teacher should be an alert teacher. He will always capitalize on the situations. This has to do with vigilance and ceasing the situation or what is happening and using it as teaching material.
For example, a teacher has planned to teach the meaning of ‘to fly with the picture of a bird flying or the idea of a bird, but suddenly a helicopter comes hovering over the school compound.
A good teacher would capitalize on the helicopter situation to teach the phrase ‘to fly’ such a situation help to give meaning to the word or phrase taught.
Another kind of situation is where a teacher makes use of objects and other prepared materials. There could be materials that are suitable to teach meaning that the teacher suddenly sees and he makes use of it.
2. Consider resourcefulness.
An English teacher should be resourceful in selecting suitable teaching materials. When planning his or her lesson, he or she should be settled, think, and dig out appropriate materials to help his or her teaching.
There is no lesson in English Language studies that do demand some teaching materials. A teacher of the language should carefully choose his or her teaching materials.
3. Consider simplicity.
For any material to have a positive effect on the learners, it must be simple. The chosen teaching materials should be simply neat, attractive, and communicating in themselves.
It must be portable enough to that extent that it will be easy to carry and understand. Hence, when a pictorial material is made, it must be interesting, fascinating, appropriate, and effective.
4. Consider culture.
English Language like other languages cannot be taught or learned out of culture. As much as possible the teacher of English should take cognizance of the orthodox culture of the English language.
One major cause of Nigerian English is the effect of culture. Nigeria is a multi-cultural nation. The substitution or appropriating meaning of English words has affected the acquisition, learning, and teaching of the English Language in Nigeria.
A teacher of English should deepen his knowledge of the orthodox English culture to be able to select suitable teaching materials.
5. Consider suitability.
Any material used as teaching material must be suitable for the matter of the lesson. The visual material must be suitable for adaptation to suit the capability, educational, geographical, social, and cultural background of the learners.
The material should have clear relevance to the matter of the lesson. The materials must be reliable.
6. Consider clarity.
Any material used for teaching should be visible to every pupil in the classroom. The teacher must be sure that the relevant features of the material should be large enough, and clarity has to do with pupils’ cultural background, for example, a British/English dog is different from the traditional Nigerian dog.
If a picture of English that is not drawn is used as teaching material, the image may not be understood by the learner. The learner on seeing any teaching material should be able to draw a simple conclusion about what the material is.
7. Consider maturity or age.
The maturity or age of the learner should be considered when selecting teaching materials. We must not take for granted what the pupils already know and we just mention the material without displaying either the picture or model or the material.
8. Consider natural materials.
These are materials that are not made, invented, created, or improvised. They are things such as trees, flowers, water, blood, animal, and even man.
The natural phenomena when used in a lesson could make the pupils understand well than when we use improvised materials. The parts of the body are best taught concerning the parts of the body of the learner.
9. Consider Groups of teaching materials.
Most teaching materials are substances that we can use as tools or point to. English language teaching materials are numerous. The lesson and the aspect that we teach would demand the use of the teaching materials. The materials for each lesson may fall into any of these groups.
- Prepared material group: This group has to do with the principle of situational teaching where the teacher makes use of objects, pictures, and other prepared materials. They are those materials that are contained in the lesson and aspect we teach. These are pictures, objects, word cards, charts, and numerous substances that we can use as teaching material.
- Permanent fittings: In the classroom, the teacher has permanent fittings-wall, doors, windows, louvers, etc. the usual furniture-desks, tables, cupboards, etc., and other equipment like books-just anything that can be brought into the classroom. These are vital materials that the teacher uses to aid his teaching and the learning of the pupils.
- Audio materials: The teacher makes use f materials such as radio cassettes, records, and record players. The teaching and learning of the sounds in English or oral English, in general, are aided by the use of audio materials.
- Visual materials: These are materials that we view. They include films, slides, and mirrors used by the teacher to aid the teaching and learning of oral English.
- Audio-visual materials: These came into being as a result of the modern invention of materials used for sound transmission. They are television, video recorder and player and cinema. There is much aid that these materials can contribute to the learning and teaching of the English Language. They include electronic gadgets such as slide projectors, film projectors, and cameras. The use of audio-visual material could arouse the interest of the pupils deeper than other materials. They are stimulated or pictorially represented in the realm of electronic gadgets, pictures, and dramatization.