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ALBA MORALES LPEZ

RESEARCH PROJECT: AUTHENTIC MATERIALS

Introduction
Dealing with materials and specifically with authentic materials, is not an easy task since
the first step is selecting which information is the most suitable.

Methodology
The selection of information was based on the most professional websites I found and it
was completed with my comprehension and interpretation of its consequences.
I collected the data from newspapers articles, the official website of the BBC, the
Cambridge official website and also another articles detailed in the bibliography section.

ELT field: Authentic Materials


Firstly, our staring point should be describing what authentic materials are.
From my point of view authentic materials are texts written by native speakers and
published in contexts designed specifically for real native speakers, even if they were not
thought to be accessible for second language learners.
A very good example for this would be using a new material coursebook based on
interviews. In this case, if these interviews had been authentic they would not have
been understandable. The reason is because in real interviews everybody makes mistakes,
thus without a clear message we can not appropriately understand the meaning conveyed.
Indeed, these new books based on real interviews had been re-recorded by actors.

ALBA MORALES LPEZ

On the other hand, if we consider the definition from a quite objective point of view then,
an authentic material would be any material which has not been adapted in any way. If
they remain the same but some words have been shortened or changed, then we could say
that those materials were semi-authentic.

Another authentic materials examples are: poems, songs, television listings, short articles,
an advice column from a local English-language newspaper and some English magazine
advertisements.

Quoting Matthew Peacocks The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL
learners: Results from two observation sheets and a self-report questionnaire indicate
that while on-task behaviour and observed motivation increased significantly when
authentic materials were used, self-reported motivation only increased over the last 12 of
the 20 days of the study. However, learners also reported authentic materials to be
significantly less interesting than artificial materials.
We can analyse the expectations of the results as a failure if we compare the report given
by the learners to the artificial materials they are used to deal with. However, we do not
really know how were composed those authentic materials. Maybe the biggest mistake is
the fact of using only one type of authentic material and relying on the artificial materials
they are used to work with. There should be several authentic materials to be tested. Thus,
we can consider different texts and evaluate them in order to find which is the most useful
one by checking the marks obtained after using them or simply by a questionnaire.

ALBA MORALES LPEZ

To sum up the advantages for learning through authentic materials:

Help prepare learners for the real world of communication;


Guide learners toward the language they need for their particular context;
Motivate learners to communicate, because they help make communication real.
The following question is suggested to understand the aim of this project:
Are not authentic materials too difficult?
The answer would be: Positive.
The text, written or recorded, is likely to be too hard. The point is to grade the task
according to your students' abilities, from the lower levels, passing through an
intermediate level to reach a higher level.

At lower levels some possibilities include leaflets, timetables, menus, short headline type
reports, audio and video advertising, or short news broadcasts. The task should be simple
and relatively undemanding, and it is important to pre-teach key vocabulary to prevent
panic.
At more intermediate levels this list could be expanded to include longer articles, four or
five minute TV or radio news reports or even whole TV programmes. Again pre-teaching
is important, although your students should be able to deal with unknown vocabulary to
some extent.
At an advanced level students should have some tactics for dealing with new vocabulary
without panicking, but it's still useful to have a few quick definitions beforehand.

Conclusions

ALBA MORALES LPEZ

When people first think of authentic materials they usually assume that we are talking
about newspaper and magazine articles. However, the term can also encompass such
things as songs, web pages, radio & TV broadcasts, films, leaflets, flyers, posters, etc.
Indeed anything written in the target language and used unedited in the classroom are
considered authentic materials.
Advantages and disadvantages are to be distinguished depending on the teachers
pre-selection of materials and the disposition of the learners.
Bibliography
- Cambridge English: Conversations, interviews, and ideas from the world of English
Language Teaching.
http://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2014/05/authentic-materials-classroom-advantages/
-Teaching English from the BBC
https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/using-authentic-materials
-The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners
http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/51/2/144.abstract
- Matthew Peacocks The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners
https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/simonec/public/Motivation%20retention%20articles/Articles/
Peacock_AuthenticMaterialsAndMotivation.pdf