Meeting Local Needs in Materials Writing

Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, Saleh Al-Busaidi


Textbooks are viewed as an essential tool in ELT. Despite the abundance of commercial textbooks, very few of them seem to meet the local needs of students and teachers in a certain context, owing to certain pitfalls in the materials. When a program adopts a certain commercial textbook the teachers soon realize that they have to supplement the materials to bridge the gap between what these materials offer and the local needs. Sometimes the supplementation yields greater volumes of materials than the book itself, causing teachers and learners to lose focus. An added complexity is the fact that there are always new, more attractive titles in the market, leaving the program in a dilemma of whether to keep their old, well supplemented textbooks or to replace them with new ones and start another cycle of supplementation. The ideal solution is for a program to produce its own teaching materials. However, writing quality local materials that can compete with commercial ones can be a real challenge. It requires clear vision, creativity, commitment and team work.

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