Coursebooks and Materials - Authentic and Created Materials
Two classifications of ESL materials are Authentic and Non-Authentic (or created). What is the difference between what are called authentic and created materials?
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Authentic materials as the name implies are actual materials that are created for any reason outside of the classroom. Examples of authentic materials would be things like, newspapers; those are generated for the general public and they're certainly not generated for the use in the classroom. However they can be used within the classroom.
Other examples would be things like songs and poems and even things such as brochures and magazines and indeed menus from restaurants. So these are materials that can be used within the classroom, but they have not been created for that purpose.
Created materials as the name implies have been produced purely and simply to be used in the classroom. Examples of these would be flashcards, crosswords that have been created within the teaching material that we've got and at a lower level than crosswords, we have things like word searches. We could also include things such as picture stories, role play cards and games in terms of the materials that you use in the classroom.
What we should try to do is to create a good balance of authentic versus creative materials.
Authentic materials are often seen as more valuable because they are real and the students tend to give them a little bit more value than those that have been created.
So try to have a balance of authentic and creative materials within your activities.
Selection of authentic materials
Here you need to be careful, as authentic materials have not been designed for English Language Learners (ELL’s). This means that no account has been taken in writing the materials of vocabulary or grammar knowledge, or the level of your students.
We say that the materials have not “been graded for level” this means that authentic materials in the original form may be above your learners heads. In this case you would need to adapt the materials in some way to meet the requirements of your particular learners.
Having said this, the more authentic you can leave the materials the better. It can be difficult to work out exactly what level an authentic text is at.
To help with this there are many useful online tools, an example of which is here; https://textinspector.com/workflow
Try this resource out for yourself and see how well it matches texts to the needs of your classroom.
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