Materials Development Task 7: Tomlinson’s principles

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.


Rank these features of materials development in order of importance. There is no correct answer, it’s just your opinion!

  • challenge
  • personalization
  • affective engagement
  • raising learners’ confidence
  • enjoyment

Do you feel that published material should address all these features as standard? Why/Why not?

Do feel that each stage of a lesson should address some if not all these features? Why/Why not?


Some of Brian Tomlinson’s key principles of materials writing (2011).


Here is a stage from a recently published resource. It is a notetaking task based on a video – see here for the full resource and video content.

  • Which of Tomlinson’s key principles, if any, do you feel are addressed through this activity?
  • To what extent to you feel they are addressed, and would you make any improvements to enhance the stage?   
  • Do you notice any other features of the resource which might be considered good or bad practice in relation to materials design?

If you prefer, you can analyse the resource as a whole (see previous link) rather than this specific stage.


Create a resource, or adapt one of your existing resources, to address some/all of the key principles outlined by Tomlinson. Annotate the resource or write a brief rationale justifying your design and development choices.

Categories: General, materials writing, teacher development

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