How To Integrate The Different Learning Styles In A Classroom English Language Teachers: Throw Away the Course Book and Adapt Authentic Materials

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English Language Teachers: Throw Away the Course Book and Adapt Authentic Materials

Do you use authentic materials?

If asked why they rely heavily on course books for English language teaching, among many other reasons, one of the reasons is the apparent inadequacy of the authentic materials available. The main reasons cited for this “inadequacy” may include:

o Inadequate material level

o Too difficult

o Too long or short

o Use of grammar or language

o Irrelevance of the topics

o Not adapted for specific use

o Not adapted to the students’ learning styles

Although these factors are certainly present and responsible, they do not necessarily prohibit the use of authentic materials in the English language learning classroom. Let us briefly examine how authentic materials can be incorporated into an English curriculum or course of study.

Availability of authentic materials

Authentic materials, ie materials produced primarily for use by native speakers of the target language, are readily available from various sources for most of the world. Some more common sources include:

or Books

or Magazines

the Newspapers

the TV

the Radio

the Internet

or Videos

or audiocassettes

o Course books

or CDs

or libraries

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

Adaptation of authentic materials

Successfully using an ongoing series of authentic materials in your English learning classroom is simply a matter of adapting those materials to meet the needs of your students. Some keys to successful adaptation of authentic materials include:

or turning them into workshop activities

or by adjusting the length of the materials

or simplify or explain key elements of the language

or by turning authentic materials into a variety of exercise types

Students benefit from listening materials spoken at a ‘normal’ conversational speed versus listening materials directed by English language learners that have been ‘altered’ or ‘encouraged’ to allow for ‘enhanced comprehension’. All well and good, but if students need to apply that learning and listening practice to a real-life situation, they are lost. Why? Because – no – body – speaks – like this – in – real life – in – any – language. (gasp!)

Videos, CDs, newscasts and radio programs in authentic languages ​​can provide invaluable insight into current events and cultural aspects of English-speaking countries for language teachers and students in other parts of the world. One benefit of recorded material is the ability to rewind and repeat it as many times as needed to increase listening comprehension levels. The impact of the images provided in these clips is incalculable. Course books that are written and marketed for “worldwide use” simply cannot hold this level of knowledge and cultural impact.

So even if you can’t “throw the book out of your course,” realistically consider adapting more authentic materials for use in your English learning classroom. Eventually you’ll be glad you did.

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