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Materials mapping: a process for alignment

Angela Ffrench

Different language assessments specify clearly what topics, structures, functions of language and vocabulary are covered in the different tests, and it is essential that teachers are aware of these if they wish to prepare their students properly for the examinations. On the other hand, text and course books are varied in the way they address language learning. Some have clear specifications, others do not. Materials Mapping is a concept which provides teachers with the skills to develop materials which ensure all the content for the examination they are entering their learners for is covered. It shows teachers how they can make use of texts and visual stimulus from text and course books, not only those currently used in their school but also those they may be asked to use in the future. No additional ‘exam preparation’ classes are required: exam type tasks can be integrated into regular teaching in the classroom. A typical Materials Mapping workshop takes 2 days and equips teachers with the skills to: • review the text and course books prescribed for study and identify the relevant input • design tasks / activities, similar to the test items in the intended exam, using input identified in the texts • design tasks using grammatical structures, vocabulary and functional language not included in the prescribed texts, but required for the intended exam • develop their professional skills by understanding how materials are produced. These tasks are meant to complement those given in the prescribed course and text books and not replace them. In this workshop, I will outline what is normally covered in a Materials Mapping workshop and give participants opportunities to see how Exam preparation can be integrated into General English classes.