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Instructional materials

TAMANNA KALIM


The development of several types of instructional materials is one of the major steps of each curriculum planning and development procedure. Though the textbook is widely used instructional material, it is found that different types of instructional materials are now being used to achieve learning outcomes or to improve quality education and for the benefit of both the teachers and the students. Such as: text materials, teacher’s guide, student’s workbook, teacher training materials, and assessment materials, supplementary materials specially for students and resource books for the facilitators. So instructional materials contain all together and they are each for another one. One supplements another, which means, one is not sufficient without others.

As we see, a Text Material reflects some distinguished characteristics like assessing the prior learning, clarification of concepts, easy and life oriented examples, using pictures to clarify the difficult concepts in the text, exercises for specific content.

On the other hand, Teacher’s Guide also reflects some features like introduction to the curriculum of specific class, teaching methods and techniques, teaching aids for different contents, lesson plan, classroom management, assessment and evaluation. Thus, proper instruction for teaching specific  content of the textbook is the main area of a teacher’s guide.

Furthermore, Student’s Workbook includes some characteristics as materials use prior knowledge for developing concept. Exercises on those concepts are given for practice and self-evaluation in student’s workbook.

In some cases classroom materials, such as demonstration charts, slides and equipments are also included as supplementary materials.

Types of Instructional Materials
Two types of instructional materials are used in classrooms. They are: Projected display material and non projected display materials. Photographs of objects or places, leaf etc are non projected display material. Again, projected display materials can be divided into two types. They are: still picture (with audio/ without audio) and motion pictures. Motion pictures can also be two types like audio visual and only visual.

Self Learning Material
There are some instructional materials which can be easily understood by the students without the help of a teacher. It has a special pedagogical and psychological approach that a student can follow the instructions by themselves.  These are called module or self learning materials. Different types of self learning aids are used for this purpose, like: audio visual materials, computer aided learning, projector, multimedia etc.

Definition of Module: “A module is a set of learning opportunities, organized around a well- defined topic which contains the elements of instruction, specific objectives, teaching learning activities and evaluation using criterion reference measure.” – ACEID  report, 1978, p-16

Characteristics of Module:
-    It is a self sufficient and complete instructional material for a student.
-    Students can learn by themselves without the presence of their teacher.
-    Students can evaluate themselves according to the instruction of the module and they can also take remedial for that.
-    Modules are divided into small units. Thus the learners can learn easily.
-    There is both formative and summative assessment in a module. Thus a student can assess himself.

Components of Module: Any country can make module according to their needs. So the components can vary from each others. But UNESCO specified some components of a module. They are:
1.    title
2.    general introduction (including the background)
3.    overview
4.    introduction to the learners
5.    pre-test evaluation and feedback
6.    specific objective
7.    learners activities
8.    formative test, evaluation and feedback
9.    summative test, evaluation and feedback

In our country the following steps are followed to prepare a module:
1.    Guideline for use or introduction
2.    General introduction to the module
3.    General objectives
4.    Pre-test on complete module
5.    Unit or lesson:
i.    title
ii.    introduction
iii.    behavioral objectives
iv.    Pre-test
v.    Content
vi.    Self assessment/post test.
6.    Post- test or summative evaluation

In the introduction there is a general concept of the subject or topic. Here we can know that why the topic is necessary for the learners. Then the learners come to know about some specific objectives of that subject matter. Then students have to attend in a pre test. By answering the pre test the students get aware about their knowledge level concerning that topic. It also motivates and makes them interested in learning. If one can give correct answer of all the questions, he/she can go to the next lessons.

Every lesson contains title, introduction, behavioral objectives, pre-test, content and post test. Graphs, charts, activities etc can be included in the content of a lesson. Then there is a post test at the end of a lesson for the students. The questions are very closely related to the content. It can be essay type or multiple choices. Thus one can easily evaluate himself after finishing the chapter.

Advantages

1.    It is very useful in distant learning. One can learn from any place and any suitable time. She/ he need not to go in an institution for the help of a teacher.
2.    Students can learn according to their need and interest.
3.    Students can evaluate themselves. So there is no chance of embarrassment in front of other students.
4.    It can be used for many students at a time.

Teacher’s Guide
The teachers guide aims to help the teachers. Usually the guide is not alone sufficient for the teachers. The major purpose of the guide is to provide detailed instructions for teaching each particular lesson. There is a general introduction of whole subject and necessary instructions for specific sections thus teachers can select the suitable way for his class and his personality.

Advantages
1.    Teachers guide has introduction to the curriculum of that certain level and specific subject.
2.    Lesson plan, teaching methods, techniques and suitable teaching aids are included in the teachers guide according to the content.
3.    There are proper instruction for teaching specific content of the textbook as well as classroom management, assessment and evaluation.

Instructional Card
Sometimes teachers can use instructional cards instead of textbooks. Textbook and instructional card both are used in classroom. Every chapter contains different lessons in a textbook. Again there are separate instructional cards for every lesson. This is mainly used for the students. There is also a different instructional manual or guide of using instructional card for the teachers.

Advantages
1.    There are many pictures, illustrations, dimensions in instructional card related to the subject. So Instructional cards are very attractive and colourful.
2.    Instructional cards are made of better and thick papers. So it can be use several times.
3.    Instructional cards can be changed easily according to the change of the curriculum.
4.    It is costly but teachers need not to make instructional cards for every year, so it is cost bearable.

Disadvantages
1.    Teachers do not allow the students to take the instructional card with them. So the students put into trouble in the time of examination.
2.    It is possible for school based assessment. But it is very difficult for yearly assessment system.
3.    It is very costly to make new card for every year. So instructional card needs proper maintenance; otherwise it will get damage or lost.

Supplementary Reading Materials
Supplementary reading materials are used to gain more information and advance knowledge besides textbooks. It is applicable for both teachers and students.

Advantages
1.    It helps to increase knowledge of a particular subject
2.    It creates a regular reading habit and gives reinforcement.
3.    It helps in language development.

Resource Materials
Resource books, documents and data constitute resource materials. They are also as like as supplementary reading materials. But there are some differences between them. Resource books are mainly for the teachers to increase their knowledge of that particular subject and it also helps to improve their professional skill. By using resource books teachers can up to date their knowledge.

Though textbook is widely used instructional material, the above materials are also now become popular to the learners for there advantages.

Author: Material Developer, BRAC Education Programme, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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