English Teacher: Throw away the course book and adapt authentic materials

Use authentic materials?

When asked why they rely heavily on coursebooks for teaching English, among a variety of other reasons, available authentic materials seem inadequate. The main reasons for this “unsuitability” can be mentioned:

o Improper material level

o Too difficult

o Too long or too short

o Use of grammar or language

o Irrelevance of topics

o Not suitable for a specific use

o Not adapted to students’ learning styles

While these factors are certainly present and accountable, they need not prohibit the use of authentic materials in the English language learning classroom. Let’s briefly explore how authentic materials might be incorporated into an English language curriculum or degree program.

Availability of authentic materials

Authentic materials, that is, materials created primarily for use by native speakers of the target language, are readily available from a number of sources for most countries around the world. Some more common sources are:

o books

o Magazines

oh newspapers

o TV

oh radio

oh Internet

oh videos

o Audio cassettes

o Course books

o CDs

o Libraries

Most of these sources are readily available even in remote or poor regions of the world. In more “developed” regions they can all be potential sources of materials for learning English in the classroom.

Customize authentic materials

Successfully deploying an ongoing set of authentic English language learning materials in your classroom is simply a matter of adapting those materials to the needs of your language learners. Some keys to successfully adapting authentic materials are:

o Conversion to workshop activities

o Adjusting the length of the materials

o Simplification or explanation of important language elements

o Converting authentic materials into a variety of exercise types

Learners benefit from listening materials spoken at “normal” conversational pace compared to English language listening materials that have been “slowed down” to allow for “enhanced comprehension”. All well and good, but if learners ever need to apply these learning and listening exercises in a real-world situation, they’re lost. Why? Because – no – body – speaks – like this – in – real – life – in – any – language. (gasp!)

Authentic language videos, CDs, news programs and radio programs can provide language teachers and learners in other parts of the world with valuable insight into current affairs and cultural aspects of English-speaking countries. An advantage of recorded material is the ability to rewind and repeat it as many times as needed for improved listening comprehension. The impact of the images in these clips is unpredictable. Textbooks written and marketed for “world use” simply cannot compete with this level of cultural knowledge and influence.

So, even if you can’t “throw away” your coursebook, realistically think about adapting more authentic materials for use in your English language learning classroom. You will ultimately be glad you did.

Thanks to Larry M. Lynch | #English #Teacher #Throw #book #adapt #authentic #materials

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