For general discussion between ESL teachers.
Im wondering what materials should private english teachers use? Lets assume there's a client who is interested in the brand "cambridge", with the goal to pass some of their exams. He would be interested in assessment against cambridge scale and would want to progress in that system. Cambridge offers a range of courses, but the cost of a book be that 20 or 60 pounds renders the whole idea useless - in a developing country its a huge amount which no one can pay (and that would leave nothing for teacher's work remuneration), so buying materials is not an option. I know teachers who offer students to download these books from torrents. Isnt that a nonsense to steal materials from a reputable source and then using them commercially? In addition only a small portion can be downloaded illegally. Others use the full range of junk available all over the internet; compared to the first approach its very doubtful whether the teacher may have any system; in addition its impossible to create a descent one because for that you would need many professionals working on one book (the same way cambridge does it). Without a system this approach can be compared to learning the language using advertisement leaflets and texts on food packaging from a garbage dump. A third approach which in my view is the most sensible is when the teacher creates his own system of some kind but in a simplified way; he chooses free materials from news, etc, organizes them into levels, underlines words, phrases, creates exercises. But he must have a general framework, a strategy, understanding of how to build them into it. This is the most hard and time consuming, and as far as I know most teachers dont do that, preferring to work with ready solutions, so its option number 2. Are there any free ready to work with materials similar to the official ones that are categorized into levels, have strategy, methodology, lesson plans and all other things in them?
These materials are a random excerpt of something that can be of use, but only if you build it into your own system. In commercial teaching time management and organization are of crucial importance, information should be pre selected, processed, and organized in a wise and convenient way ready for a person to consume. Otherwise why would someone want a teacher if they can go to that site and read and practice themselves? In addition a person would like to know where he stands on the way to his goal, how his progress relates to an established, recognized reference standard; using standard materials its easy to answer: you have done levels such and such and you are this many hours, modules to complete. Today people would not pay for something general. You can have a very good level of the language but at the same unable to pass professional assessment; the same way someone at the bottom of the society may have great aptitudes and abilities, but they dont comply with any standards, are unrecognized, so a person remains where he is. Some teachers rip off a book from an official source and supplement it by free materials from the internet; as a student I wouldnt feel comfortable paying for such an ugly educational service. The question is still there: where can a teacher get that system without purchasing textbooks and make sure that the service he offers is actually of value and comparable with recognized standards, not just a radio with a cocktail of free materials?