Prof. Dragana Gak
University of Novi Sad, Serbia and University of Zagreb, Croatia
Title: Designing teaching materials-necessity or luxury?
Abstract: This paper examines designing language teaching materials as an integral segment of language courses taught at tertiary level. Firstly, it defines teaching materials and considers them both as anything that can be used to facilitate the language learning and as authentic materials specially designed for development of specific skills. Secondly, it discusses reasons for designing materials as supplement to the materials teachers are provided with. Thirdly, the authors attempt to present the advantages of the process of producing materials. Material designing enables teachers to have a control over selection of topic, situations, functions and skills to be developed. Moreover, it takes into account particular learning environment, students’ learning needs and their learning experiences, cross-cultural issues and their influence on development of students’ communication competence. This is followed by a comparison of experiences in material designing at two faculties, Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb, and Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad. The language teaching material development starts at both faculties with identification of the main requirements set by the departments and the detailed needs analysis of students’ needs which is the foundation of all language courses preparing students for using language in working environment. This initial stage helps teachers to select the textbooks and decide on additional material they need. Although material designing contributes greatly to the relevancy and productivity of language courses, it goes together with numerous obstacles ranging from technological to financial ones. To conclude the authors will elaborate on actual examples of materials produced for the courses they teach.