How well do learning materials travel? One of the reasons I love using Australian materials is their relevance to learners’ lives. At beginner levels especially, it’s much easier to show where Melbourne is on a map than to have to explain references to London landmarks, or British history.

Is that a problem in reverse, though? I write with adult and young adult migrants in mind. How suitable are those materials for a New Zealand audience? How suitable are they for younger learners? How suitable are they for international students in language colleges, rather than longer-term migrant students?

The Upper Primary experience

I’ve had feedback that the books work well at language colleges, and in Intensive English Centres, but hadn’t had any primary feedback, so I was pleased to hear that the reviewer for TESOLANZ (that’s TESOL Aotearoa New Zealand) had trialled several of the books with NZ upper primary students … and that they worked!

“My students with lower reading ability particularly enjoyed being able to listen to the stories and found them interesting and funny. They also enjoyed the activities they were given. ….”

Admittedly, she found that “[Can You Keep a Secret] contained more subtle humour that my students missed but adults would relate to.” However, overall, “My students and I enjoyed looking through the resources and we will be using them in the future.” (There’s more from her review on the Reviews page.)

That’s so encouraging, because I’m hoping that the new book, Extra Easy Puzzles, will appeal to students from adults down to upper primary.

The technology issue

However there’s one thing that I realise does not travel well: use in contexts with more up-to-date technology. Whereas I work in a situation with CD drives and CD players in every classroom, her experience was that, “it is getting harder to find computers with disk drives to play and make copies of the CDs.”

Until now, I’ve assumed that institutions in particular like to have a hands-on copy of anything – but I’ll need to work out how to provide a digital copy, perhaps as an ‘add on’, so that there’s a choice. That’s going to be the next step. Any feedback or suggestions will be most welcome…