Materials Development Task 2: Deficiency vs difference

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.


How often do you share the materials you create with other teachers?

How accessible are the materials you share with others?

  • Could another teacher just ‘pick up and go’ with the resources?
  • Do you provide any support for teachers – e.g. notes, or a quick ‘walkthrough’ chat?
  • What is your rationale behind offering such support? [note – I am asking a leading Q here so don’t look ahead AHHHH YOU DID!]

How do you feel if teachers adapt the ideas you share? Would you expect this? Does it offend you sometimes?!

Deficiency versus Difference

Here’s an extract describing two possible roles of published materials:


Analyse the guidance notes for some published ELT materials.

(Note: one spread is enough for this task. Refer to student-facing materials too for balance).

Consider the following:

  • To what extent do the materials/notes assume certain knowledge from the teacher?
  • How would you rate the depth of explanation for language/skills points in the teacher notes? What value, if any, do you feel these explanations have?
  • To what extent do the resources encourage teacher and learner agency?
  • Overall, based on content and ‘voice of the notes’, how would you say the writer of the guidance notes perceived the teachers using the resource?

Prompts: deficient, different, equal, knowledgeable, competent, receptive…


  1. Choose some student-facing materials that you have written for your learners.
  2. Imagine that the materials will appear in a global coursebook.
  3. Create some guidance notes for using the resource (or tweak your existing ones).
  4. Create a rationale outlining some choices you made in the notes. You may wish to refer to things like level, assumed teacher knowledge, task complexity, etc.


  • How easy/difficult was it to find the right voice in your teacher notes? Did you self-edit much?
  • How might the concept of deficiency and difference impact on your practice as a writer?

Categories: General, materials writing, teacher development

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: