I can't think of "authentic" material without thinking of Jean de Florette who had after inheriting his uncle house moved in to grow "de l'authentique". As a teacher who often disregard the textbook, authentic material is a means of allowing my student to grow more confident in developing their language.
I have always used "authentic" material in my lessons. I have often travelled from France with a car full of empty packages, newspapers and magazines. I have raided Tourist offices, supermarket and my parents'mail for texts that I wanted to use in class. Really nothing has changes except that all these documents are now available more readily and widely. On a daily basis, more and more material is available on the Internet. Things haven't changed, the material is still written by native speakers for communication but the range available would certainly filled more than a car!!!! I am no longer restricted to my little area of France but the world is opened to the language teacher at their virtual fingertips.
You can get overwhelmed by all the resources available and I try to focus on what are the goals of my lessons and what I want my students to achieve. Also you can spend hours looking for material so you need to concentrate on the best way to locate your resource and when located, look at suitability and target audience. Once you have found your material and know that it is suitable for your students, you need to think on how you are going to use it in your lesson.
- Go through your text and recognise grammatical structures(highlighting verbs, adjectives etc)- cognates, known vocabulary etc.
- Identify the key words in the text- look for synonyms, homonyms, what do certain numbers refer to?
- Find words with the sound .......
- I am reading from a certain point in the text, finish the sentence before me
- Give students some words from the text / song and they have to stand up when they hear it.
- Give some students some sentences from the text (they stand at the font of the class) and they have to put themselves in the right order with help from the class.
- Find the words in the class
- Put the sentences in the right order
- Gap fill
For these exercises, I use Teachers pet which creates the exercises for you.
- Use Talk to discuss the text- Je pense que le texte est facile, difficile, intéressant etc...
- Follow up from the text- do a role-play by putting
- Imagine the end
- Re-write the text in a different style
For me using Authentic material in the classroom, allow my students to tackle texts which open their eyes to other cultures, keep them informed on world events, show them how language works and is used by millions of people everyday.
So like Jean de Florette, look after your "Authentique" and make sure it produces productive material for our students to progress and for them to grow into confident learners!
Today, I was fortunate to attend a Modern Language Teachmeet in Manchester and did the following presentation on my use of authentic material in lessons.