Principled Materials Development for Under-Resourced Learners

by Brian Tomlinson

Speaker 1


In my presentation I will be discussing and demonstrating ways of developing and of adapting language learning materials to maximise their value for under-resourced learners.

By material I mean anything which is being used to help learners to acquire a language. This could be a coursebook, a video, a game, a film, a poem, a newspaper or even an advert. Developing it involves preparing it ready for learner use and adapting it involves making changes to the original preparation so as to make it more effective for particular target groups of learners. My argument is that both materials development and materials adaptation should be principled in the sense that they are driven by research-informed criteria relating to what we know is most likely to facilitate language acquisition. They should also connect to what we know about the previous experience of the learners, the resources available to them and their needs and wants.

In this session my focus will be on applying five main principles of language acquisition to the development and adaptation of materials for learners whose experience of their target language has been impoverished because of a lack of access to the language in use and a lack of opportunities to use it for communication.

About the author

Brian Tomlinson

Brian Tomlinson has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer, curriculum developer, film extra, football coach and university academic in Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, UK, Vanuatu and Zambia, as well as giving invited presentations in over seventy countries. He is Founder and President of MATSDA (the international Materials Development Association), a Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool and a TESOL Professor at Anaheim University. He has over one hundred publications on materials development, language awareness and teacher development and has recently co-authored with Hitomi Masuhara The Complete Guide to the Theory and Practice of Materials Development for Language Learning (Wiley, 2018) and SLA Applied: Connecting Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2021).