ELT: Authentic Learning Resources

04/02/2014

Some interesting authentic learning resources:

http://www.focalskills.info/articles/authentic.html
Article about the use of authentic materials with some useful lesson plan do’s and dont’s when using authentic materials.

http://americanenglish.state.gov
Amazing website with every kind of resource for EFL teaching overseas- these resources are applicable to ESL learners as well. Many detailed lesson plan ideas within a large range of different content areas. I found some great ideas on how to integrate environmental and health topics using authentic materials into my teaching strategies for my Bali students.

http://www.witslanguageschool.com/NewsRoom/ArticleView/tabid/180/ArticleId/77/Teaching-Tips-Using-Authentic-Materials.aspx
Nicely written, easy to read article about authentic materials and considerations to keep in mind when using them in the classroom. Contains a great resource list of websites that give further information and ideas about using AM’s in ELT.

http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Lessons.aspx?menu=003
This site is AMAZING. Gives a list of authentic materials and ideas for using them in the classroom with a large database of lesson plan examples for all level of learners. Very helpful, and I’m definitely putting this on my Symbaloo.

Authentic learning consists of:

(forgive me if I am being redundant from my other post in this unit)

-Authentic texts
-Authentic tasks
-Authentic situations

Authentic texts: Includes any material that is produced without specifically being geared towards English language learning- real world materials that native speakers of the language use in day-to-day life. For example, brochures, menus, books, magazines, newspapers, Internet sources, t.v shows, movies, comic books. These materials can be chosen for their relevancy in the topic being studied, and can be adapted to fit a wide range of learning levels. Some preparation is required from the teacher to develop these materials to effectively achieve the required goals of the lesson. A teacher cannot simply show up with a movie clip for students to watch without having clear goals about the learning objectives. Teachers need to add some value to the materials in some way that make the materials a benefit to the learning environment and not a hinderance- i.e if the authentic materials themselves are beyond the comprehension of the learner then the materials are more de-motivating than beneficial.

Authentic tasks: This is an important consideration for the teacher when using and adapting authentic materials and learning strategies in the ESL/EFL classroom. While authentic learning is a great way to introduce the native culture, the scope of the materials and the tasks associated with them cannot be out of the range of the learners’ understanding. I used this example in my prior post about trying to teach my learners a song, while culturally relevant to me as an American, had no significance in my learners lives. The task then associated with this authentic material (the English song lyrics) did nothing but bore and frustrate my learners, and ultimately was completely ineffective. A more effective task that I had my students complete was to talk about being a visitor in a foreign city. I had brought some of the colorful tourist maps from Seattle that showed our city streets and significant landmarks and sites to see while visiting. We did dialogues using the maps in how to give directions in English (using prepositions of place). I gave free reign to the students to develop their characters and have a background story about where they were from etc. These maps actually were very useful in doing many different learning activities, such as games, dialogues and ultimately a “Where is Waldo” exercise where the students had to follow the directions to find Waldo at the very end.

Authentic situations: The use of authentic materials and tasks ultimately have little meaning if the situation in which they are used doesn’t provide pertinent and useful information for the students. The map tasks where very relevant to my Balinese learners as they encounter many tourists that come to Bali and may someday find themselves working in the tourist industry where they will often need to give directions in English. While the fairy tale activities don’t initially come across as an authentic situation, I was able to adapt the materials by having the students contrast fairy tales with real life which brought up topics such as gender roles and stereotyping. All real world situations that these students will face in their own lives.
Kym

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ELT: Making Learning Matter

04/02/2014

Edutopia

Ever had a student ask this question? Check out these 3 strategies that can make learning relevant: http://bit.ly/1bqVAZF.
why


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