Perform a need analysis
Become familiar with the supplementary materials that are available in your school or institute. Perform a needs analysis by using a questionnaire or interviews at the start of the course. This will help to discover what you will find useful to add to the coursebook when planning your scheme of work.
Be familiar with the coursebook/syllabus
There may be some instances when you will find supplementary language practice materials without teacher’s books. The aims of the activities may be rather unclear in some cases. Therefore, when choosing material for your class, it is crucial that you consider how the material you choose will replace or further improve what is in your coursebook.
Using authentic materials
Sometimes, using authentic material (which is not designed for any specific level), is useful as it gives students the ability to work with more challenging texts and tasks.
Type of skills they improve
The activities in the materials which are created to improve individual skills can usually include the use of other certain skills. For example, students must learn to read a piece of text before they do a listening task. Or they should do some writing after a speaking activity, just as a follow-up activity. Therefore, when choosing materials for the class, keep in mind that all skills that are required need to be catered to.
The competency and the language level
There are many materials supplied by publishers to practice separate language skills at various levels. There are usually lists of tasks and activities in teacher’s resource books as well which are arranged according to level. It is important to check whether the level is suitable for the level of your students. Take into consideration the language that your students will need to comprehend or produce.
The methodology followed in the coursebook
There is methodology in the students’ coursebook and the students normally become comfortable with it as they get used to it. If supplementary materials are being used and if they are very different from the coursebook style, it is important that you pay special attention the instructions as they may confuse your students.
Ability to adapt the material
It is possible to adapt many supplementary materials to use with classes of various levels. Sometimes, the texts may not be graded. However, you can grade them by yourself. This can be done by making the tasks more challenging or easier.
Types of games and communicative activities
It is a good idea to use games and extra communicative activities as they can vary the lesson and make it interesting to the students. However, before using them, think carefully about why you are using them. This will keep you focused on the purpose of your lesson. Older students may question why they are being given such activities to do.