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British Council Access English
Materials Development & Assessment: Enhancing Skills for Writer Kuala Lumpur, December 9-16 2008

As most countries in the region produce textbooks and supplementary materials written by local authors designed to meet the demands of a local curriculum, the long term outcome of the Hornby School is to stimulate changes in teaching methods through materials production. Textbooks and supplementary materials are essential tools for teachers and as Hutchinson and Hutchinson (1996) point out, can be used as “agents of change” in that they can alter the ways teachers teach in the classroom.

In the East Asia region, where resources are often limited, state-authored textbooks become important support tools and need to be appropriate to the curriculum as well as the students. Textbooks also need to have built in assessment tasks so that teachers can judge whether learners have achieved the aims of the learning unit.

Participating countries: Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Philippines: Up to three people per country. Total of 16 participants with three British Council observers

Trainers: Adrian Tennant & Alan S. Mackenzie

The main aim of the School was to produce a cadre of competent and confident materials writers that can lead a development team in-country to produce higher quality textbooks, assessments and supplementary materials.

To this end, the immediate school objectives were that the materials writers:

  • have a better understanding of the overall purpose of a primary English language course and textbook and how it fits the broader education goals set by Ministries of Education for English language learning.
  • have a better understanding of issues of quality and content.
  • have a clearer concept of the process of writing and the stakeholders involved.
  • have new awareness and insights into course and textbook development through sharing ideas and experiences with colleagues in the region.
  • are able to construct assessments that assess curricular learning outcomes
  • are able to construct a scheme of work including lesson plans and learning activities that leads directly to achieve learning outcomes and enables learners to fulfil assessment criteria.

Post-Hornby links with other areas of Access English
After the School, participants, depending on country needs, lead on the formation of a local network of supplementary materials writers and editors who were able to:

  • Conduct analyses and research into materials development needs in each country
  • Run local workshops on materials development appropriate to the local curriculum
  • Implement and monitor with the ministry, quality control systems for materials production
  • Produce and facilitate the adaptation of existing British Council resources and the production of quality original materials to be housed on local and regional VTSNs
  • Contribute to the production of a regional Primary Curriculum Supplementary Resource Pack

Candidates for the school were aware of the long-term aims of the project in advance and be available and prepared to take on the roles envisioned by the larger project. Ideally, they were:

  • experienced in materials production
  • extensively knowledgeable of the national curriculum
  • creative and flexible in their approach
  • able to explain the rationale behind their materials design
  • directly responsible for ministry recognised materials creation in their countries

TeachingEnglish hosts two learning communities that are specifically for teachers and trainers in East Asia. They are both moderated, but anyone can join.

A Learning Community is an online group of people who help each other to develop. With the many commonalities across East Asia, we have a lot to learn from each other and also a lot to teach!

East Asia Trainers
Trainers and Master Trainers discuss training issues and share training resources. Here you can:

  • Get feedback from peers on a training course you have designed
  • Share ideas for training activities
  • Share problems with people who understand your issues
  • Ask for advice from friendly voices

East Asia Teachers
English teachers from both primary and secondary share their experience here. This community enables you to:

  • Share lesson ideas
  • Find information about useful approaches to English language teaching being used in other countries
  • Collaborate with teachers in other countries to create innovative learning tasks for your learners
  • Resolve problems you are having in class through discussion
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