What Teaching Materials To Bring From The USA?

My colleagues and I are scheduled to arrive in Taipei on February 13, and we are getting very excited. Since we are trying to be as prepared as possible, we have done some looking and some shopping for teaching materials. But we don’t know yet what age students we will have, nor do we know what to expect in the way of materials provided by schools.

As a general question, what types of materials are not possible to get in Taipei? Magazines, teaching manuals, videos, etc.? More specifically, are there any materials that have been familiar tools in the USA, but are not readily accessible to teachers in Taipei? Is it a good idea to have books with phonics exercises? Should we have books of templates for activities and games? Should we bring interesting books to talk about? What about childrens’ magazines like “Highlights,” or other magazines with full color articles about current events or art and culture?

Is it worthwhile to pay $80 US for an extra suitcase on the plane full of books, magazines, and manuals, or will these be easy to find once we arrive?

The thing is, we are serious about teaching English, not just coming to Taiwan to live large. We are dedicated workers, and we want to have the materials and tools needed to do the job well. Any experiences you might share will be truly appreciated. The more specific, the better.

Thank you so much,

David Goldblatt

Without knowing what age/level you’ll be teaching, it’s hard to recommend anything specific. You can get teaching materials as well as English only materials at local bookstores in Taiwan (Cranes and Caves carry lots of ESL materials).

To start, I wouldn’t bring a whole suitcase of books since you don’t really know what kind of classes you’ll be teaching and it takes time and experience to discover what kind of resources work best for you. If you already have favorite materials, go ahead and bring them, but don’t go out and buy lots of material that you may not use.

In general, a good book with activities that you can customize for different levels is always useful. Also, a grammar reference is useful even if you’re not teaching grammar specifically. While some teachers hate flashcards, they can be a convenient source of picture references (instead of having to flip through a magazine for a picture of a kitchen). I also like some of the picture dictionaries. They not only introduce vocabulary but they sometimes also show the context of the language (eg a North American shopping mall or classroom). For adults, I found shopping circulars and coupons to be interesting. They can be used for all levels, too. Copies of old magazines with a variety of pictures (people, clothes, situations, food, etc.) can be useful. Phonics as we know it in the US isn’t really taught here, so if you like that approach, you probably want to bring some reproducible materials.

So, do you have a job lined up? Maybe you can get more info about the level/ages you’ll be teaching and what methods and materials that school uses.


I don’t teach children, but many of my friends do. They have no trouble finding the resources they need in Taipei. The favored source of teaching material seems to be an excellent bookstore in Taipei called Caves Bookstore. It is located on Chung Shan b[/b] North Road, Section 2, just north of the Min Sheng East Road intersection. The entire second floor of the store is dedicated to the kinds of materials you are talking about. Though I am not sure whether they specifically Highlights, I’m sure you’ll be able to find that you need there. Phonics are widely taught here, and materials for teaching phonics are available.

If I were you, I’d bring a few of my favorite teaching aids, particularly in the activities and games arenas. Then, I’d chill out a bit and relax. You’ll be fine.

I’m sure other posters will have other ideas for you.



Just bring money. You can get what you need here.