Where to Get Good Authentic Teaching Materials
From APEC HRDWG Wiki
Finding proper materials to inspire English language learners can be a daunting task. Research has shown that authentic materials are more motivating and practical. “By utilizing real-world marketing materials from a local company, students typically are more engaged because they already know the company or at minimum, have heard of it through local media” (Hoffland & Jochum, 2009). If there is a way to include materials from APEC economies, all the better.
Below are several suggestions for sources of free materials for both business lessons and regular English lessons.
- To introduce students to authentic English materials used in business and everyday life
- To facilitate understanding of current trends in the business world, based on which authentic materials are selected
- To use all four language skills while interacting with authentic English materials
- To search for ways to use English in current resources
- Annual Reports: Most transnational corporations post their annual reports online (see, e.g., Coca-Cola’s reports). Coca-Cola offers its 2008 and 2007 reports as audio files, as well.
- Line Graphs: Y-Charts watching stock prices, including Coca-cola’s, are also available online.
- Pie Charts: Google Images is a great place to find pie charts from one's favorite business(es) . Suggested activity: Ask students in groups of two to find a pie chart at Google Images and explain it to the class.
- Go to product websites and evaluate them on presentation, information, ease of use, and timeliness.
- Contact the company directly and ask for marketing materials.
Materials for Everyday Life
- Use “how to” manuals and charts: For example: How to tie a tie; How to make a paper airplane
- Use bus schedules, flight plans, grocery flyers, movie listings. All are free and most are available online.
- Send emails back and forth to your students or, better yet, develop wikis, google docs, and/or blogs. Maybe even try sending text messages.
- Listen to English radio stations; read English newspapers; watch a film short.
- Use household items for teaching realia.
- Have a day of show-and-tell: Ask students to bring in an item from home that is very important to them. Then ask them to stand in front of the class and explain the importance of the item. There can also be a time for Question & Answer section.
- Sometimes it is best to create the activity around the materials, not the other way around. Teachers can spend too much time searching for the perfect piece of authentic material while overlooking other quality resources.
- Keep authentic materials short and to the point. No need to give the entire annual report, just pick a paragraph or two. No need to watch the whole movie, pick a point where the narrative peaks, but is all inclusive.
Remember, “learners often find teacher-prepared authentic materials more motivating, and the richer input they provide allows a focus on a greater variety of discourse features” (Gilmore, 2009). You know your students better than any textbook.
Will vary based on the "tips" chosen
Multilingualism and Language Skills: authenticity in the language classroom, using authentic materials
Learning to do; problem solving
Hoffland, M. D., & Jochum, O. (2009). Inexpensive, effective ESP material development for the EFL classroom. In S. Rilling & M. Dantas-Whitney (Eds.), Authenticity in the Language Classroom and Beyond: Adult Learners (pp. 99-106). Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL).
Gilmore, A. (2009). The times they are a-changin’: Strategies for exploiting authentic materials in the language classroom. In S. Rilling & M. Dantas-Whitney (Eds.), Authenticity in the Language Classroom and Beyond: Adult Learners (pp. 155-168). Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL).
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