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Exploring authentic materials

By Tom Sarney

What exactly do we mean by authentic materials?


In EFL we mean.
Any unedited text which was originally designed for native speakers and not for use in the classroom with language learners

Types of authentic texts Reading texts Listening texts Audio visual texts

Examples of authentic texts


Newspapers Magazines Brochures/pamphlets/catalogues/menus Internet articles Literature Reference books Poetry Advertisements Movies Radio and TV programmes Songs TV/radio advertisements

Why were reluctant to use them


Too much preparation time Too difficult for students and de-motivating if the task is inappropriate Some texts are impossible to use with very low levels

Sometimes authentic material doesnt provide a good enough model for language learners
Syllabus restrictions

Teachers lack necessary skills to exploit texts


Lack of access to resources

Why we love using them


Really motivating for the learner Interesting, topical and relevant for your specific learners (excellent for EAP classes) Empowers learners. Makes them feel more autonomous Exposes learners to how language is, not how language should be Promotes a deeper cultural understanding The course book is outdated, irrelevant or very dry It is a very creative process and gives the teacher professional confidence and a new lease of life in the class room

The context of British Council New Advanced


Aims and objectives of the course ..

help bridge the gap between the class room and the real world The course is . based on real needs and interests of the students based on can do statements based on the ALTE framework

What is an advanced learner?


Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices

Topics
The media Education Varieties of English The cinema The future Politics Gender issues The UK

Feedback from students and teachers

How do we exploit texts?


Consider the following... The students The syllabus The text The task

Look at some ideas for exploiting texts using pre tasks during tasks post tasks

Main task
How could you exploit these two pieces of material considering all the factors so far.

A reading text
A listening text ( with a tape script)

Top tips for exploring authentic texts


Choose a text that the students would find interesting or one which fits in well with your syllabus Read the text and think about how you could help them comprehend the text. You need to think about how native speakers would approach the text naturally Notice language features within the text that you can focus on with your learners Design activities Do the lesson Adapt and develop it Start a bank of material that you can share with colleagues

Good sources of authentic texts bbc.co.uk youtube.com podcast.org ananova.com empireonline.com