The Module and Beyond
At the beginning of this semester, I identified two primary reasons for taking the materials module:
Have I achieved these things?
To know how to make better selection and use of existing materials based on more than just instinct.
Yes, I feel my studies and development of materials evaluation frameworks and a taxonomy of task types has certainly helped me to develop in this area. I also understand more clearly what constitutes instinct, and thus its value.
To explore and discover ways in which to create and develop materials that I believe in, that I find exciting, engaging, inspiring and effective.
Yes, I’m pleased with the worksheets I’ve created while on the module, and feel particularly privileged to be able to share an ongoing exploratory dialogue with my colleagues about the effectiveness of the materials I create. I feel I have tuned my skills in worksheet development and the thought now of creating something feels a far less daunting and time consuming prospect.
There are several areas I would stil like to investigate and develop further:
- Materials experiments (as in my first post)
- Learner created Grammar maps
- Whiteboard writeable cuisenaire rods
- Learner created coursebooks
- Materials free teaching
While the practicalities of studying and working doesn’t allow time for as much exploration as we might like of particular areas of interest, I feel fortunate to have the confidence to now take these things further and investigate them beyond the diploma course, with fewer time limitations.
Perhaps the most exciting concept I take away from the module is that of learner generated visuals, although this is also informed by my thought processes during other modules of the diploma course. What I’ve brought to the module and what I take away are intrinsically linked. I don’t believe that learning is modular, and if I had to show an illustration of what learning looks like, my materials map might best represent it:
Or seen from the outside, learning might look more like this:
I see my experience of the module as having been a focused period of study – focused and yet broad: covering a wide range of areas, yet only beginning to scratch the surface. Reaching the end of the module feels more like a beginning: the beginning of another phase in my development, one which affords me more time and freedom to explore more deeply my areas of interest. An integral part of this new phase for me involves developing and formulating my thoughts and ideas so as to make them more accessible for a wider audience, and planning a workshop and writing a journal article provides me with the catalyst to embark on this next phase of exploration.
Both the input on the module and the opportunities for reflection have been enormously stimulating and thought provoking. What happens next, beyond the module, is I get to really delve into my special interests. I have the feeling it’s going to get really interesting.