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Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


REALize it. Use Authentic Materials!


This past week, I had a guest lecturer visit my student teachers. He lectured on lesson planning but the last half, he spent outlining some of his great lesson ideas (including the Subservient Chicken!) . As he went through them, I realized a strand that ran through them all - using "real" materials or what we call, "authentic materials". That was his passion, bringing reality into the artificiality of the classroom.

Authentic materials are great and teachers should always filter their lesson plans with the question, "What "real" item could I bring to class to contextualize the lesson topic/theme and bring it to life?"

The things you can use can range from real postcards, catalog, shopping flyers, menus, subway newspapers (free), maps, items from your own household - to online audio/video. In fact, the internet has been a boon to the teacher - allowing them to bring "real" (not made for teaching) materials into their classroom, easily and conveniently.

Please check my presentation for some thoughts and a good overview of the topic.

Here though, I'd like to offer what I wrote on the back of an envelope while listening to the lecture. A handy list linking functions to authentic materials. I hope you will find the list handy and stimulating for your own lesson planning!

Function / Organizing Principle and the Authentic Materials that might be used

Plan it! Find it! -- use a map and plan a journey. Give students a budget. What will they spend. Watch "Where the hell is Matt" and get them to plot his journey. Use real maps of the city to give directions to important landmarks! Use Google Earth/Maps!
Read it! Steal free copies of tourist magazines from hotels / restaurants and prepare scanning activities for
students. Subway newspapers are wonderful too!
Make it! Bring in real ingredients and get the students making drinks and sandwiches. Even carve a pumpkin maybe? Watch "How to" videos on eHow and get real directions/steps! Try the ones on magic. How about origami or a science project? Bring in a recipe book!
Give it! Bring in a catalog and have student find gifts for each classmate. They cut them out and then walk around giving them and saying thank you.
Teach it! So powerful! Students teach each other how to do something they are skilled at. Songs, games, computer games too. There are all kinds of possibilities. Brochures and manuals work well.
Do it! Get outside! Play soccer, garden, take a field trip, all in English. The classroom needn't have 4 walls! Put on a real dance video and do it!
Order it! Bring in real menus. Give students a budget and they decide what they will order/have. Then,
roleplay. Use real money if possible!
Sell it! Swap it! Students bring in stuff they don't need. Have a swap or give a set amount of money and have them sell it. Raise money for charity and sell things!
Show and Tell it! Students bring in favorite things and share them!
Retell it! Listen to some real stories or interviews and get students to retell them. Even use the news. Smories is a wonderful authentic source or NFB.
Communicate it! Bring guests into your class with Skype! This teacher did. Get some air and reality in your class.
Search for it! Webquests are wonderful and real! Get students searching the web and discovering through connective learning. Demonstrate it! Make posters and get out there and protest. There are lots of causes and events!
Speak it! Debate real issues in class, things that are important to the students. Call real people on the phone. Get students to call you for homework! Get them to interview REAL people for homework.

Write it! Get some real postcards and send them to epals! Write real letters to the editor or write to retirees in old age homes. Fill in real application forms, bank and credit card applications.
Fill in applications to university and for scholarships.

What ideas do you have for using Authentic Materials in the language classroom?

Downloads: 769

Comment by Ellen Pham on June 2, 2010 at 8:32pm
Two great daily things that the internet has brought into my life (and if I had one at the moment, would be bringing into my physical classroom) are real-life events in real time that I wouldn't be able to watch otherwise (all those animal cams, and right now, the oil spill in real-time and even watching the robotic arms work a mile under water), and of course, the other is being able to look up anything at anytime. So handy during family conversations! :D No, I don't think so... let's look it up...

There are other joys- being able to talk/relate to people from other countries, stumbling across gorgeous pools of information I wouldn't even have known to look up. My point is, look at how much of this has to do with bringing more reality into my home/classroom/life.

I can't agree more with this post. It's things like this that make me wish this could be Elementary Classroom 2.0 - how fun that would be for me!!!!

Comment by ddeubel on June 2, 2010 at 10:03pm

You are so right about live cams! I have to put that in there - these are so valuable and amazing for prompting "real" language. I've always found this cam amazing for content!
Comment by Ellen Pham on June 3, 2010 at 12:45am
That's a great cam, David- it never runs out!!

Comment by Oksana Demchenko on October 17, 2011 at 1:00pm
Great ideas! Thank you!

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