Authentic Material: Home-Made or Off-the-Shelf?

In Theory/In Practice

Authentic material TESOL teacherThis Authentic Material Teaching Tips article focuses on the question of how deeply “authentic” teachers need to be in order to meet students’ needs.

Most ESL/EFL classes rely on textbooks to guide the curriculum and to provide the bulk of the material used in the classroom. Good textbooks make teachers’ jobs much easier. But, even the best textbooks are unable to anticipate and address the needs of every class. So – with or without a textbook – teachers often need to provide supplementary material. The choice then becomes one of creating original material or sourcing “pre-packaged” exercises from elsewhere.

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Developing Handouts

By Margaret Hurley

handouts authentic material TESOL Authentic material is often inspiring, rich and topical. It can be a significant motivator for students and it can go a long way toward keeping teachers interested, too. So, why isn’t it used even more often? The short answer is: it’s a lot of work for the teacher.

The major disadvantage of authentic material is that it doesn’t come with ready-made tasks. Turning the material into a lesson is entirely up to the teacher. And when a busy teacher is using “fresh” material (current news, for example), the supporting tasks may be developed in a rush.

There’s nothing wrong with doing things quickly – but time pressure can tempt the best of us to get a bit sloppy. Herewith, then, is a set of tips for avoiding bad habits when developing handouts to accompany the authentic material.

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