1. Utilizing the existing materials
Production of learning materials, especially for neo-literates, is a challenging job. However, in many countries there have already existed certain forms and varying levels of learning materials which could be selected and/or adapted for use. Such efforts may help to reduce expenses and save time that would be wasted if all the new learning materials were produced from scratch.
The materials are produced and utilized by many government and private agencies. The following media may be considered with the view of adaptation for the follow-up learning activities of the neo-literate programmes.
a) literacy materials including primers, post-literacy materials
ACCU has so far produced 44 kinds of literacy follow-up materials for neo-literates in rural areas under the Asian/Pacific Joint Production Programme of Materials for Neo-literates in Rural Areas (AJP). Crystalized in them are the experiences of many countries in material production and they can be adapted and utilized freely by any literacy organization or programme. There are numerous primers, and various forms of literacy follow-up materials produced in respective countries. ACCU organizes biennially a contest for fully illustrated materials to encourage the respective countries to produce good quality materials. These materials are also good examples to refer to when producing materials.
(1) Reasons for Adaptation
1. Situations in which the media are utilized vary according to particular environments, problems and needs of individuals and communities, which differ from one place to another. Those located at the seaside, for instance, would differ from those in the hills and on the plains and vice versa. The same is also true of the industrial areas in comparison with the agricultural areas. Such differences need not be confined to the area of vocation, but cover social and cultural aspects as well.
2. Even different villages of the same district, with almost the same physical features vary from one another in terms of their social settings such as historical backgrounds, adjustments, leadership, and consequently, problems and needs.
3. Language and culture are even more important factors. Media designed for people of a particular language and culture need to be adapted to make them more comprehensible and acceptable to people of a different language and culture. There have been cases in which cultural conflicts occurred because of utilizing the same design.
4. Different media designs serve different objectives. The one designed especially for an individual study may not be suitable for a group study. The one designed for a small group study may not be appropriate for a large group. Each media design is aimed at particular target clients.
5. Media adaptation may serve to increase efficiency of media utilization. The change from a more difficult narration of video recordings to a simpler one helps learners understand more clearly. Flip charts with sound recordings added would be more interesting than the mere appearance of letters and pictures.
It could be summed up that media adapted to suit particular target learning groups should yield better results. They would be more comprehensible and culturally acceptable.
(2) Criteria for Selecting Appropriate Materials
The following points need to be considered in the selection of media.
(1) Media content should agree with teaching and learning objectives.
(3) Steps for Selecting Appropriate
Materials for Neo-literate Programme
Step-1: Establish the objective for which you want to find materials
Step-2: Study the content areas for which you need materials (e.g. health, agriculture, co-operatives, income generation, etc.)
Step-3: Be specific about what type of materials you are looking for, such as:
a) printed book materials
Step-4: Decide whether you want to use the materials for:
a) motivating the learners
Step-5: Choose appropriate form of materials and conduct an assessment:
- objectives consistent with instructional objectives
size of materials
(4) Adapting Available Materials
Existing materials, after careful selection, may be unsuitable in some ways. Such media should be modified to suit the learners in terms of their learning objects. The following suggestions are made concerning the adaptation of materials.
1. Add other media to the existing materials
Reading materials may be made more interesting by adding more media to them such as pictures (presented separately), films, filmstrips, field trips, exhibitions, etc.
2. Develop extra self-instructional sheets to supplement the existing materials
Such extra sheets should help learners comprehend better. Exercises should be provided along with the instruction part.
3. Adapt the existing pictures
Pictures shown in the existing materials may contain too much detail and may be too complicated. A certain part of the picture may be cut off or copied and enlarged with added captions and simplified names to help the learner comprehend better.
4. Adapt the audio portion of the film
Some films contain foreign or too difficult narration which makes for poor comprehension. This could be improved by showing only picture while, the narration could be made by the teacher using an extra microphone. Films can be shown on and off, allowing learners to engage in discussion during the intervals.
5. Translate into the learners' native language, in case the original materials are in a foreign one.
Examples are AJP materials. These can be translated into the native language to make them comprehensible. Also materials developed in a dialect of a country can be translated into another dialect for the same reason.
6. Adapt pictures to truly reflect the learners' environment
Materials developed in one environment may not be appropriate to learners in another environment. For instance, materials produced in the environments of big cities or on the plains may not correspond to the realities in rural areas or in the hills. Adapting pictures, especially those related to costumes, houses, farms, trees and natural scenery may help learners in such an environment to grasp their relationship to themselves more clearly.
7. Adapt the language used to suit the learners' comprehension level
Materials prepared for urban or certain groups of people usually contain words, phrases and sentences beyond the comprehension level of learners, especially in the rural settings. This is due to the fact that such different groups gain different opportunities in the use of the national language. it is, therefore, needed to make an adaptation from a more difficult version to a simpler one.
8. Adapt the mode of presentation through using mixed media
Certain materials can be made more interesting by combining several media in the presentation. For example, flip charts depicting a series of events with description in letters can be made more interesting by using dialogue recordings, probably with musical background.
9. Use low-cost materials as an alternative to the more expensive ones
In many lessons, real objects cannot be brought for display because of high cost. For instance, it is impractical to bring trains, airplanes, tractors and such kind of things into the class. The substitute should be represented by materials which are cheaper and locally available.
It should be reminded that there is no single medium that can be the best aid to the teaching of any one lesson. In most instances, supplementary materials are needed to boost teaching efficiency and performance. Even the original materials may be modified to suit the learners' varying entry levels to the learning programme.
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