Published 24th October 2016

Now that you’re in the classroom, you’ll find yourself spending your time preparing for your lessons and trying to find appropriate materials or come up with fun games and activities. Your school should have bookshelves full of coursebooks, resource books and photocopiable materials for you to use, but sometimes you may not have the time to flip through all these books, or maybe you can’t find anything that is exactly what you want.

So, what can you do?

Well, you should consider writing your own materials. While this might sound a little daunting, it’s very do-able. If you are clear about what you want from the worksheet, you should find that it doesn’t take long to come up with your own amazing material. What’s more, once you’ve created a worksheet, you can keep it and use it when you are teaching that language structure or topic again.

Here are a few ideas of how to create your own materials for different lessons:

1. Grammar exercises

Are you covering a language structure which is not in the coursebook? Instead of trying to find the perfect grammar activity, write it yourself. Think logically about how you would usually use the structure, write 10 sentences and then delete the structure to create a gap-fill. Give a choice of options if you need to add scaffolding – you can make it as easy or as difficult as you like. If you can’t think of sentence examples yourself, look on the British National Corpus for ideas.


2. Reading texts

Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you write an entire reading text for your lesson! If you find a newspaper story, magazine article or blog post that you find interesting and want to bring into class, there is no reason you shouldn’t. However, you will probably find – especially if you have a lower level class – that you will need to adapt it to your needs.

Shortening a text immediately makes it more accessible, so read through and delete a few unnecessary paragraphs. Instead of replacing difficult words in the text, provide a glossary of really difficult words. Finally, devise a few comprehension or discussion questions to supplement the reading.


3. Vocabulary activities

There are many different websites that you can utilise to make your own wordsearches, crosswords or flashcards. Rather than searching the internet for ages, it sometimes make sense to find a good website and make your own so you can tailor it to exactly the vocabulary you need to revise.

Creating your own teaching English materials for your TEFL classroom is a way to ensure your materials are perfectly suited to your EFL lesson. It’s not as difficult as you think and it will save you time in the long run.