By now every teacher, whether a newbie or a seasoned educator, probably has known the importance of effective instructional materials in the delivery of quality instruction.
As I always aim for impactful student learning experiences, I can’t deny the importance of instructional materials to facilitate learning. Just as well, creating engaging learning materials has been one of my top priorities as a teacher.
Although producing effective instructional materials is quite overwhelming, I equip myself with the best strategies and principles in the selection and utilization of teaching aids. How do I make effective instructional materials?
Instructional materials are an important part of teaching and learning. Henceforth, I always prepare my lesson plans. Lesson plans are a Bible for teachers. In fact, teachers are most required to prepare lesson plans before they teach content.
Lesson plans are among the essential instructional materials for teachers to deliver content with appropriate strategies within the desired timeframe.
To exemplify, instructional materials are the support to instructional delivery such as books, worksheets, educational toys, manipulatives, and other materials that are used by teachers to engage students and increase their academic performance.
Preparing teaching aids requires hard work, time, and dedication. If you are a teacher like me, let’s share best practices for making effective instructional materials.
To get started, please go ahead and read my piece below.
Do you aim for effective teaching and learning? Check out 17 of the best educational toys for the classroom this 2021 and enrich your instructional materials to increase student learning.
How Do I Make Effective Instructional Materials? 5 Awesome Ways
Among the best qualities of a great teacher are being resourceful and creative. This is needed in creating learning materials that promote better engagement.
“The craft in teaching is not about creating the material but about delivering the material at the right time and in the right way to open a pathway of knowledge for a student,” shared Robyn Howton, an English teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in Wilmington, Delaware, who was a great trainee for personalized education.
Instructional materials are used to support student learning and to motivate students to appreciate the curriculum. Accordingly, teachers produce appropriate instructional materials such as graphic organizers, PowerPoint presentations, slides, manipulatives, books, digital learning tools, and many others to support their instructional delivery.
Now, how do I make effective instructional materials?
1. Promote innovation
Among the best avenues in education is the integration of technology to enhance how we teach. Integrating technology in the classroom is an incredible innovation in education. The use of smart electronic devices to facilitate learning is highly encouraged in every school.
More and more each day, teachers and students find it beneficial to incorporate digital learning in instructional delivery. Innovations in teaching made teachers redefine their teaching pedagogies to promote interaction and collaborative strategies in the classroom.
Hence, most teachers are developing materials or are using digital learning tools as effective instructional materials.
Whether it’s about the adoption of online resources or the creation of original teaching aids, it’s equally important to speak the students’ language of technology.
All the while, our students are more inclined to technology, so we should highlight that claim and use innovation in our instruction. In other words, it’s a matter of capitalizing on students’ instinctive use of technology advances.
2. Stimulate creativity
Creating effective materials requires our expressiveness and artistry as teachers so as to amplify elements of surprise and excitement among students. Our creative pursuits in the classroom do create magic!
As we tailor to fit the whole concept of our instructional materials we should also consider the design of our learning tools.
Designing our learning tools is as important as giving our students equal access to the different instructional materials we produce.
If, for example, you are to use worksheets, make sure that the font styles, headers, and content are logically presented.
You have to assume that not everyone in the classroom has good eyesight or has perfect perceptions of colors.
These are just some of the things that you should consider in planning out the design of your effective instructional materials.
3. Enrich lesson structure
We can’t just play down the importance of effective instructional materials to improve student learning. They are our helpers to give our students meaningful learning experiences.
Therefore, they should be crafted, produced, and utilized accordingly. We can’t just create teaching tools all we want. As we make plans, we should think of the immense relevance of content and perfect timing.
Simply put, instructional materials to be effective should be created depending on the lesson structure and not just on students’ current levels.
Otherwise stated, effective instructional materials should amplify content in an interesting manner. Considering the lesson structure, it is crucial to provide a strong foundation of meaningful student learning.
For example, if you aim for your students to have a science experiment, then having them answer worksheets won’t be fitting. Put another way, to facilitate the process of learning for this matter should require students to have hands-on experiences and to engage in learning discovery. This should give them the opportunity to think outside the box!
4. Tailor support to fit the student’s level of understanding
In 2009, a particular study with Kenyan students revealed that “the quality of textbooks in terms of linguistic content must be suited to the student’s current learning levels for if not, these materials become immaterial and unintelligible.”
What does it tell us?
Rather, the creation of instructional materials for it to be most useful and comprehensible should serve students’ individual learning needs. The emphasis on personalized learning supports the use of appropriate instructional materials to meet student’s unique preferences.
Hence, differentiation strategies should come into view.
With student diversity, teaching and learning materials should support the unique capabilities of learners to facilitate learning in a productive way.
Otherwise stated, the ability of the students is an important factor in the creation or selection of instructional materials whether printed, teacher-crafted, or digital.
Moreover, its application should help students with learning difficulties to catch up while supporting more advanced learners as well.
5. Promote higher-order thinking skills of students
Unlocking students’ potential remarkably requires the support of valuable instructional materials that promote higher-order thinking skills.
As students discover learning opportunities, they should be able to enhance their decisiveness to become independent consumers of multimedia resources and other aids of learning.
The utilization of instructional materials should promote the implementation of clear and high expectations. In a way, teaching aids should allow students to design and show ownership of their own learning experiences out of the material presented.
In essence, teaching support shouldn’t be about memorizing details as it should be about making students think, synthesize, design, and evaluate their own learning.
This means that students should discover the ‘how and the why’ of a phenomenon rather than embracing only the superficial aspects of the material. For in-depth mastery of skills, instructional materials should encourage students to create concepts.
Thus, for instructional materials to be effective, they should be designed or selected in a way that students go beyond memorizing facts and retelling concepts. Meaning, students are to design and create something out of the information presented.
6. Foster student engagement
To create meaningful learning experiences, students should be, first of all, motivated to learn. There should be something in the teaching and learning process that encourages them to participate and to perform better.
The use of multimedia resources and other instructional materials supports this end. It means making or designing instructional support that encourages students to be at their best.
To do it, all teachers should know how to select what’s best for the students and not just for the sake of required utilization of teaching aids.
7. Establish collaboration
The thoughtful creation and selection of instructional materials are most needed in fostering interactive discussions and collaborative learning.
When students work together they will not only foster good relationships but also enhance collaboration in accomplishing tasks.
Hence, as teachers, we should consider collaboration in making our plans for teaching and learning.
Collaborative learning requires us to adopt varied teaching materials that provide students enriching learning opportunities by working together.
In other words, teaching aids shouldn’t only be aligned to the curriculum and the set learning standards as they should also be about empowering students for collaboration to build community.
Hence, as we explore content, we should consider options for teamwork and joint efforts among our students.
8. Cultivate high-quality instruction
Adapting instructional materials to students’ learning needs should also cultivate high-quality instruction. In proportion, the use of high-quality instructional materials is to high-quality student learning.
Our sustained focus on enhancing student learning should be supported with high-quality instructional materials whether teacher-made or ready-made. More so, our effectiveness as teachers can be figured out by the enhanced learning options our students have.
As we capture innovative strategies for teaching and learning, the utilization of effective instructional materials cultivates high-quality interactions to meet students’ individual needs.
The sound application of high-quality instructional materials yields high-quality instruction that can result in optimal student learning. In sum, the creation and selection of rigorous instructional materials can equip us, teachers, with reliable support to our teaching pedagogies to help our students learn effectively.
For additional inputs on making and utilization of effective instructional materials, watch this video and learn the use of principles in the use of instructional materials.
In a nutshell
Instructional materials are our ultimate teaching support in bringing up quality learning in the classroom and in inspiring students to learn at their best. Hence, these teaching materials should be carefully crafted or selected to serve their best purpose of facilitating instruction.
Developing interactive and engaging instructional materials is of prime importance in education. Moreover, as mentioned earlier in this post, we should adeptly use the instructional materials and tools to project learning goals successfully and enhance student learning.
And using a variety of teaching and learning tools really matters.
Each of our students deserves equitable access to curricular materials so they can make the most of their learning experiences. Definitely, making effective instructional materials is in our hands.
The quality time we spend scouring quality instructional materials is really worth it. Because of our significant efforts for the creation of or the research of reliable and appropriate instructional materials, rest assured that our students served well and are helped to increase their academic performance.
Hopefully, the things mentioned above will help you in your creation, selection, and utilization of effective instructional materials. Have we missed some incredible options regarding this matter, feel free to share your valuable inputs below.