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Using Authentic Materials To Teach Language English Language Essay

Authenticity, characterized in language teaching and learning as "the amount to which vocabulary teaching materials have the attributes of natural talk or writing" (Richard et al. , 1992, p. 27), has never been definately not the thoughts of ESL/EFL teachers. This significant pressure, thus, has compelled teachers and educators of languages to find ways to bring such authenticity to the process of words learning and teaching. And many of these find the answer in real materials which, whether spoken or written, are produced and used by natural means for just about any reasons (release, information offering, advertising, etc. ) however, not for language teaching and learning. As a result, such materials can really engage language learners in real occurrences and real situations through real vocabulary.

However, besides many benefits that authentic materials provides both terms teachers and learners, they may become a big puzzle in a few coaching situations like educating learners at elementary level. Thus, besides benefits of genuine materials, this paper aims in summary, from studies and activities of different words teachers and educators, the precise problems teachers of primary learners have to handle with as well as alternatives for such problems.


What are real materials?


The meanings of authentic materials are slightly different in books.

Nunan (1999) defines authentic materials as "spoken or written terms data that is produced in the span of genuine communication rather than designed for purposes of terminology coaching" (p. 54). Comparable to that definition of Nunan, Harmer (1991) areas that authentic texts were created from native speakers; they can be real text message, designed not for terminology learners but also for the speakers of the terms. In the meantime, Morrow (1977) characterizes an authentic content material as a stretch of real terms, produced by a real speaker or writer for a real audience and designed to convey a real message of some sort.

Though teachers and educators give varied definitions of real materials, they all agree on the same point that materials are believed authentic if they're primarily designed for information exchange in the words speaking population and not developed or designed for second terminology learners. In other words, their primary intent is to speak communications among speakers of the language, not to be used as an instrument for dialect learning and teaching.


In today's globalized world, numerous options are available for dialect teachers to exploit and choose appropriate authentic materials for their lessons.

Firstly, teachers can find authentic listening looking at materials from television's programs like TV commercials, quiz shows, cartoons, news clips, comedy shows, movies, melodies, documentaries, etc. and from the wealthy source of Video Compact Disc (VCD) and Digital Video recording (Movie).

Teachers can also find authentic printed materials from papers and magazines which can be full of news articles, astrology column, activities records, advice columns, lyrics to music, etc. Traveler information brochures, school catalogs, telephone literature, maps and even bus schedules or candy wrappers may become useful teaching materials for terminology lessons. Their positives are widespread supply and acceptable price.

Furthermore, thanks to the revolution of technology with the advancement of the internet, teachers now will get both of the above-mentioned types of materials available online. They now can access and download limitless lists of valuable materials full of informative, educational and even interesting information using their disposal in huge amounts for the terms classroom.

Because of such supply, authentic materials presently are more and more popular in the choice of language teachers for dialect coaching materials.

Disadvantages vs. benefits of real materials in dialect learning and teaching to elementary learners


It is proven by many vocabulary teachers and educators that the use of genuine materials may bring terms learners generally speaking and elementary learners specifically a whole lot of benefits.

First of all, authentic materials may actually source learners with the essential input which may be considered an excellent alternative to out-of-date textbooks (Murdoch, 1999). While such books seem not to meet learners' needs of dialect as well as knowledge, authentic materials are likely to increase learners' knowing of language used in both written and spoken mass media by exposing learners to a wide range of naturally produced texts which are seen as a various terms styles with a repertoire of genuine vocabulary and set ups.

Authentic materials are also supposed to help the improvement of understanding in real situations by revealing learners to real, though, difficult vocabulary, which are much different from that of simplified text messages from books. With such real and also modified information, authentic materials are believed to provide learners another benefit of becoming a area of the terminology learning process (Murdoch, 1999). Learners are provided opportunities to self-observe how dialect are used and designed in new circumstances, self-examine and self-discover human relationships held with lexical items and then, make generalizations about grammar and vocabulary language utilization for themselves instead of waiting for words generalizations using their teachers or grammatical demonstration.

Authentic materials are looked at more beneficial since this self-discovery kind of learning is much more likely to arouse and harness the learner's attention when compared to a presentational methodology making learners more reliant on teachers and so is much more likely to encourage learners. It is motivated since it helps learners to avoid speaking English "like a reserve" which is modeled and at exactly the same time, provides learners more genuine reasons for wanting to talk in target dialect (McCarthy and Carter, 1995, p. 207). Thus, authentic texts may more equip learners to deal successfully in future situations and/or conversations outside the classroom.

To conclude, many teachers find authentic materials a very important source which is quite considerable and cheap for them to access as mentioned in the previous area of the paper.


Despite all advantages that traditional materials may bring to learners, both language teachers and learners, especially elementary learners, still experience problems when they use such materials.

For teachers

The troubles for teachers result from having less effective research skills as well as materials selecting and activity designing skills. It is obvious that many words teachers do not excel at how to find needed materials, which leads to the result of hesitating to find new materials because of their teaching but used provided ones in textbooks. Some are believed to be unable to select appropriate materials to the curriculum, the course and most importantly the level of the learners among a massive amount of real information in written, spoken, or multimedia system format. Some others are thought to get difficulties in planning suitable duties from such real materials. Those difficulties in combo with the lack of time bring about the reluctance of several language teachers to exploit genuine materials as you of the most important sources of terms input.

For learners

The problems that authentic materials bring to language learners, especially primary learners, are even more burdensome.

Martinez (2002) argues that learners may have to have a problem with the dialect irrelevant to their present stage of learning. You will find too much terminology including unneeded vocabulary and too many complicated, sometimes substandard structures which requires primary learners to take chances generalizing while at this stage of learning, learners expect explicit coaching with simple demonstration, explanation, visual clue or rote-learning from their educators.

Such materials are also claimed to lack "guidance" or "focus" for learners to check out (Murdoch, 1999, p. 2) because way too many language items of different, even irrelevant designs are included in one material. Subsequently, learners can simply feel puzzled when they work with this type of materials. Sometimes, learners may even be puzzled by the too culturally-biased information of reading materials or by locally-uttered accents in audio/visual materials.

Also corresponding to Murdoch (1999), another serious problem for learners may occur when learners learn terminology for the intended purpose of attaining success on an examination only. The only path for them to achieve such goal originates from getting marks as high as possible by learning the simple rules generalized by teachers or course literature; not self-generalizing complicated set ups and vocabulary of genuine ones. It is rather true for the situation of English learning in Vietnam where most learners learn English because they are forced to learn it as a compulsory for pedagogic conclusion. Last but not least, the length associated with an authentic wording sometimes cannot fit the requirement of the lessons. Sometimes, it may be too long since it cannot be cut for a few reasons. Sometimes, it might be too brief.

To summarize, elementary learners could become overwhelmed at the amount of data and dissatisfied by unorganized and complicated learning providing by traditional materials.

Suggestions to overcome disadvantages of authentic materials for teachers and learners of primary level

Because of the valuable advantages that authentic materials may bring to language learners, many professors and educators have tried their best to straighten out alternatives for above-mentioned problems. Below is a brief synopsis of such solutions to over such problems.

The first suggestion made available from Nuttall (1996) to professors of primary learners is comprehensive selections every time they use real materials. The materials that are chosen should first of all contain the feature of authenticity which is set up not only by the appearance of text messages themselves (used as original and without any changes) but also by the way those are exploited. For example, an advertisement can be used with responsibilities requiring for information that you needs to gain access to the publicized product in true to life or a teach schedule is utilized in the way thanks to which one can can get on plank in the right time. This content of such materials also needs to be carefully preferred to become appropriate and exploitable for the level of elementary learners. More specifically, this content should be relevant and comprehensible to the learners. For example, a complicated methodical article on global warming filled with terminology or a conversation on politics is not appropriate for learners who just start their words learning. The distance of texts should also be placed into considerations for materials selections. For primary learners, too long text messages can make learners feel tired and therefore, de-motivated.

Berardo suggests various other important factors that instructors should take into considerations when they choose genuine materials for his or her lessons, especially reading ones, by requesting some following specific questions:

Suitability of Content Does indeed the written text interest the learners?

Is it highly relevant to the learners' need?

Does it represent the sort of materials that the scholar will use beyond the classroom?

Exploitability Can the text be exploited for coaching purposes?

For what purpose should the wording be exploited?

What skills/strategies can be developed by exploiting the written text?

Readability May be the text too easy/ difficult for the learners?

Is it structurally too requiring/ organic?

How much new vocabulary would it contain? Is it relevant?

Presentation Will it really "look" authentic?

Is it "attractive"?

Does it grab the learners' attention?

Does it make him want to learn more?

( 2006, p. 63)

To satisfy all those above requirements of options, another advice is submit on the selectors of materials. It is presumed that, besides instructors who are considered well alert to that ought to be decided on for the lessons based on their sound understanding of learners, issues, etc. , learners themselves can also be the best selectors of materials as no one can understand the learners better than the learners themselves. By using the teachers (subject matter provisions, materials rescanning, activity building, etc. ), learners are supposed to be able to access easily all above-mentioned resources of genuine materials and choose the best option to their capability. Furthermore, choosing the materials themselves can also totally engage learners in the process of learning, which subsequently motivate learners much more than the traditional way of learning.

The previous but also the most crucial suggestion for professors using genuine materials to teach their elementary learners is on the way authentic materials are exploited for the lesson. As afore-mentioned, the success that words teachers can reap the benefits of authentic materials may be accomplished mainly through assigning learners traditional tasks based on such materials. Instructors should think about how exactly local speakers would approach the text effortlessly and then, make an effort to design responsibilities in such approach. Here are some suggested jobs which are said to be traditional by Hartel, 2007 for primary learners in a lesson using product labels of some products:

recognize common products and brands to manage searching for example

recognize the name of something appearing clearly in an image with the custom logo prominent

control the string of characters the word represents (e. g. if for some reason, some letters are missing, so let's guess what phrase is this?)

decode simple words (Cola and Lola; Mac and pack)

For primary learners, Shepherd, a educator of English Council recommends that genuine materials should be used in combination with other varieties of materials such as realia or even books which can provide and accomplish learners' learning with simple justification, familiar aesthetic articles, or simplified generalization of vocabulary items (2004). He also emphasizes that the responsibilities designed from real materials for elementary learners should be simple, relatively undemanding & most importantly they have to give attention to key vocabulary. By doing this, educators can prevent their learners from being stress, and thus, not hesitated to work with traditional materials.


To conclude, it is quite essential to use genuine materials in language learning and coaching on the profile of their usefulness, lifelikeness as well as the eye and motivations they create for learners. By contextualizing words coaching, they not only build-up learners' communicative competence in the mark language, corresponding to their needs, anticipations and pursuits, but also help develop their capacity to provide an authentic respond to authentic text messages and communicative incidents, not just types of languages.

Besides, teachers should be careful and flexible when teaching learners at primary level by using authentic materials because such materials can cause troublesome problems for those learners: unneeded vocabulary items, complicated language buildings, culturally-biased information, etc. In such cases, what educators are suggested to act as a filtration system which thoroughly selects genuine materials ensures their comprehensibility and then can determine their applicability and adaptability by completely designing authentic responsibilities from such materials. Learners are also suggested to try the procedure of selecting materials for the desire of suitability and exploitability.

Since this is merely a secondary academics writing, the info is known as bookish. It is hoped that in forseeable future, the author will have opportunities to do further practical research upon this issue.

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