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The selection and use of teaching aids

Module Two | Selection and use of resources

How are aids selected and used?


Read questions 1-7 and match the teaching purposes with the aids in the box listed A-H. You will find that there is an extra option which does not need to be used.


A.       Realia

B.       Computer

C.       Blackboard/whiteboard

D.       OHP

E.        Puppets

F.        Self-access centre

G.       Video

H.       Phonemic chart


Teaching purposes

  1. To ask the students to search for information for the project work and to do this on their own.
  2. To refresh the students’ memory about their pronunciation.
  3. To give the students listening practice along with a visual context.
  4. To bring things from outside into the classroom.
  5. To make a note of new vocabulary throughout the lesson.
  6. For the students to work alone and improve performance.
  7. To show the students pictures of answers to tasks that have been prepared before the start of the lesson.

The resources and equipment which are there for the teachers to use in the classroom and the resources that the teachers can bring into the classroom are what we call aids. Aids can be cassette recorders, CD players, video recorder, visual aids (these are pictures to help the students to understand better), overhead projectors (an overhead projector is something that has a light in it. It makes pictures appear larger on a screen), realia and even the teacher him/herself! To use aids, we must first think about the main aims and the subsidiary aims of our lesson. Then, we can choose the most suitable aids for us.

The purpose of teaching aids

The selection and use of teaching aids 2

Have a look at the table below. It is a list of equipment found in the classroom. Can you think of any other purposes than the main teaching purpose for each item in the table?

Classroom equipment

Main teaching purpose


Writing up planned vocabulary, grammar examples and explanations

Overhead projector (OHP)

Displaying prepared exercises on transparencies (plastic sheets)

Cassette recorder/CD player

Listening practice

Video recorder

Listening practice with added visual information


Grammar exercises

Language laboratory

(i.e. A room where learners can listen to recordings and record themselves)

Grammar drills

All the aids mentioned in the table above may be used for several purposes. Here are some examples of purposes:


  Writing words and ideas that come up during the lesson

  Drawing or displaying pictures

  Building up ideas in diagrams, word maps, etc

  For learners to write answers

  For whole-class compositions

Video recorder

  For information gap tasks (with one learner viewing and one just listening)

  Viewing without sound and guessing the language

  Pausing and predicting the language (i.e. Saying what you think is coming next)

  With a camera, filming learners’ performance

Overhead Projector

  Displaying results of group work

  Building up information by putting one transparency on top of another

  Covering up or gradually uncovering parts of the transparency

  Displaying pictures and diagrams on photocopiable transparencies


  Narrative building with a word processor

  Supplementary materials for coursebooks

  Online language tests

  Using online dictionaries

  Using CD-ROMs

  Email exchanges

  Online communication (chatting)

  Online newspapers and magazines

  Project work using the internet

Cassette recorder/CD Player

  Presenting new language in dialogues and stories

  Giving models for pronunciation practice

  Recording learners’ oral performance

  Listening for pleasure

Language laboratory

  Pronunciation practice

  Extensive listening

  Monitoring and giving feedback to individual learners

  Developing speaking skills

Other teaching aids



These are real objects that can be easily brought into the classroom and used to teach vocabulary and like prompts for practising grammatical structures for building up dialogues and narratives, as well as for games and quizzes. Realia can also be real texts, such as menus, leaflets, brochures, timetables, etc.

The selection and use of teaching aids 3


These are used for teaching individual words or as prompts for practising grammatical structures.

The selection and use of teaching aids 4


These are very good especially for younger students. The teacher can introduce new language in dialogues using puppets. The children can make own simple puppets too.

The selection and use of teaching aids 5


Posters and wallcharts can be used to exhibit bigger pictures that have more detail. They can also be used to display multiple pictures which explain a story or show objects that are related to each other in a lexical set. Wallcharts are drawings or graphs which can be displayed on the classroom wall. Phonemic charts show phonemic symbols and the positions in the mouth through which alternate sounds are made. The teacher may point at the symbols in a way so that the students will be prompted to correct their pronunciation. Charts can also be used to exhibit diagrams, drawings and tables of irregular verbs or even to build up a dictionary for the class.

The selection and use of teaching aids 6

The teacher

Through the use of hand gestures, facial expressions and miming (to mime is to make an action that conveys meaning without the use of words), the teacher can obtain vocabulary items, clarify meanings and create a context. It is possible to build up a set of signals (for example, finger correction) that the students can learn to recognise as prompts to rectify their mistakes.


Nerd baby says ...​

The black/whiteboard should be divided into different sections for various purposes. Here is an example:
Reference material (e.g. key lexis, model sentences, grammar rules, etc.)
Lesson materials (e.g. pictures, key grammatical structures, dialogues, etc.) at different stages of the lesson.
Vocabulary notepad for noting all new words.
Diagrams such as the one given above may be incorporated into a teacher’s lesson plan for different stages of the lesson.

Aids such as charts, flashcards and transparencies for the overhead projector are aids that can be prepared early, to help the teacher to ensure that the lesson procedures match the teacher’s aims. Aids like these can be saved and used again in the future.

Any equipment to be used must be checked before the start of the lesson. A note of where the recordings start should be made by using the counters on cassette and video recorders so that the place can be found easily when the teacher rewinds them.

If computers or the language laboratory is to be used, it is very important to prepare in advance. All the instructions and the sequence of activities need to be planned out with great care.

Test Your Knowledge

Read the statements below and find which aids the teachers are talking about.

  1. I don’t need to take many photocopies and I can get lots of material ready before my class.
  2. It gives me the opportunity to listen to all the students one by one.
  3. I travel abroad and when I do so, I usually collect all kinds of things that I think could be useful in my classes.
  4. I use them as prompts with the whole class for dialogues. I separate the class into pairs and give them out to each pair so that they can practise.
  5. I always write down new words in one part of it as a notebook.
  6. It gives the students listening practice which is most realistic.
  7. It helps with tests, exercises on grammar and vocabulary, research, dictionary work – almost everything.
  1. Consider the aids that you use regularly in class and decide on what characteristics of students make some aids more successful than other aids in various classes.
  2. Explain the pros and cons of using technical equipment in the classroom. For example, planning, motivation and technical problems.
  3. In your opinion, which aids are the best for motivating your students? Eg. Students of younger ages may find that they learn best through playing games whereas older students may prefer working with computers.

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